I’m ending week three of a seven-week logo design challenge. I challenged myself to create three logos and brand packages for three fictitious companies: a neighborhood florist, a boutique brewery, and a high-end men’s fashion label/store. Last week, I outlined my plan this week I commenced the research.
Since this a quick exercise to illustrate each step of the logo development process, my research was a survey. The research phase of an actual identity development project could easily take longer than a week. My goal was to find the current trends in the individual industries.
It didn’t require an exhaustive search to find trends. After a couple of hours looking into each industry, one thing about each industry stuck out.
- Brewery—most boutique breweries have an emblem logo and multiple wordmarks. This makes sense from a product packaging sense. Emblems work well on bottles, cans and tee shirts.
- Florist – many local florists don’t have any branding, maybe a nondescript wordmark. They also are part of industry-specific national flora listing services (e.g., Teleflora)
- Men’s fashion –most men’s fashion labels have gotten rid of pictorial marks and abstract marks in favor of wordmarks. I assume the thinking is that they only need their names to establish their brand propositions and quality. There’s a certain elegance to simplicity.
In brand identity development, designers need first to understand their clients: who they are, what they want from the identity, and what are their unique selling points.
Tricorn Brewing Co.
Tricorn Brewing Co is a New England based brewery that specializes in Ales and Ciders made with a traditional 18th-century recipe. Tricorn wants to target connoisseurs and those who enjoy attending tastings. Its target audience is between 25 and 45 years old. Tricorn wants its brand to represent its colonial tradition, fun and being a little rebellious. The company wants to use a tricorn or a pewter flagon as a design element. Tricorn wants a logo and a standalone wordmark.
Brand words: tricorn, colonial, fun.
Kathy’s Flowers is a neighborhood florist looking to separate itself from its competitors. The company wants to look professional, neighborly, and artistic. The family-own business specializes in custom arrangements for all life’s occasions. Kathy’s wants a logo to place on its website, packaging, and cards.
Brand message: For all life’s events, trust your neighborhood florist to provide your family with the perfect custom arrangement.
Brand words: neighbor, artistic, flowers.
Natty Man is a luxury men’s fashion label/store. The label wants to promote a lifestyle – men who need to be stylish at all times regardless of the occasion. The Natty Man is a stylish man with a wry sense of humor. The label wants its brand to say style with a hint of attitude, self-awareness and confidence. Natty Man focuses on a timeless style. Its target audience is affluent men 35 to 55 years old who are professionals or are in management or executive positions.
Brand words: stylish, affluent, timeless.
As part of my research, I found three competitors for each of my fictional companies and looked at their branding. For independent breweries, I looked at Maui Brewing Co., Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., and Shipyard Brewing Co. I noticed that most boutiques breweries are theme-driven.
- Maui Brewing Co. has a strong Hawaiian heritage theme, and it made its impressive style guide public.
- Lewis & Clark Brewing Co. has a Montana and exploration theme.
- Shipyard Brewing Co. has a nautical theme.
Breweries also tended to have emblem logos and use multiple versions of wordmarks for their products. The Maui Brewery style guide is a good example of the number of wordmark and logo combinations used by breweries.
When researching local florists, I was struck by how little attention was paid to branding. It was surprising given the artistry required for a professional to craft a floral arrangement. I selected three companies that did have a semblance of brand identity for my competition analysis. I chose Ode à la ROSE, Devars-Phillips Florist & Antiques, and Danker Florist.
Ode à la ROSE is much larger than our regional florist, but I included it because it has a well-defined brand story. Two French guys couldn’t find nice flowers in New York, so they built a business to fill the void and share part of their culture with an American audience. Having a story or a theme (like the breweries) will make a brand stronger. Devars-Phillips and Danker Florist are community florists that belong to national industry listing services, which is common amongst smaller florists.
Men’s fashion labels were difficult to find much to go on. I noticed a trend of elegance and simplicity. The fashion labels I looked at all use wordmarks as their primary branding. For my analysis, I looked at Burberry, MR PORTER (a retailer), and Ermenegildo Zegna. Only Burberry includes more than a wordmark. It also uses a monogram with interlocking Ts and Bs.
The research this week was trickier than I anticipated, most companies don’t publish their style guides. My process included going to the company websites, web searching and visiting social media sites. I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned and sketch the ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of weeks. Check back soon to see my preliminary sketches.
Airey, D. (2015). Logo design love: A guide to creating iconic brand identites (2nd ed.) New Riders.
Wheeler, A. (2009). Designing brand identity (3rd ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.