more brand thinking...outloud, that is.

Rooster, Q. Cassetti, 2010, Adobe Illustrator, digital.So, The happiness parade continues on my desktop. I am backing into a new mark for the bakery and am making lots of pictures that may or may not work as a mark. But, we have moved off the corporate and staid, and more into tangible and fun. The more I think about it, the more I need to find models that are more reflective of the spirit of the work/ the brand that needs to be conveyed.

As much as I do not love this brand as it does not speak directly to me, the“Life is Good” folks manage to do a nice job of presenting a kind of hippie message in a very friendly, non-threatening way. I mean, what is not to agree with “Life is Good” when you are powering around in your minivan going to the soccer game? Life may not be so good for those inner city moms climbing out of the subway trying to find peace in their lives. But “Life is Good ” is not their brand. Its for those minivan moms…. not the medicated freaks like me— or the hard-working single moms that don’t have the time to reflect on whether life is good or not. But what is not to fight with the look and feel and what it means to those who sport this gear. I mean, they call their damned baseball caps “chill caps”. Where is the vomitorium? However, the spirit of friendly and nonthreatening, I can handle. Its taking it to the enth degree with the “chill caps” and the feel good tote bags. Even your dog can feel good (let it be a golden retriever, please dear god>)Puhlease. But lesson received re the feel good.

On the other hand, you have Stonewall Kitchen. They have a very buttoned up identity that has a nice script handwriting/font that compliments the logotype in simple, shadowed Copperplate Gothic/ all caps. They have a very simple color scheme (a bit dated, but still fresh and recognized). They represent excellent, a bit pricey, but good goods in prepackaged sauces, mixes, jams/jellies etc. They also are from New England (as is “Life is Good”) but they lean on that a bit more. Stonewall tells you it was established in 1991 but feels much the way many of the foods we bought with my grandmother (Crosse and Blackwell being the one that comes to mind)—that they have been around since the mid 1800s like Heinz. Stonewall has established an established look that rests on trust and quality without much fun, though their offerings are imaginative and smart. They rely on whitespace and on hand lettering to “friendly” up the image that could go stuffy if they let it.

Dean & DeLuca and Stonewall have similar design programs though D&D have opted to be more urbane and pulled in as their line expands whereas Stonewall softens their approach. I love D&D’s alternative and smart packaging. They are far more giftable (particularly as a corporate gift)…where the Stonewall products feel more hostess gifty. Stonewall you will find at TJMaxx. D&D does not go outside their network.

There is Le Pain Quotidien, a wonderful bread franchise we have seen/eaten at in NYC. Their hook is fresh bread served in a very honest way with butter/cheese/jam/ soft boiled eggs, as sandwiches etc. in a very fresh, open manner with big tables that you may be seated with other folks you may not know. There is a country honesty in their food, their presentation and the shops. Their mark (which they downplay on their site) is at left with a focus on baguettes with a flash presentation on the top of it for the site.  Nice and discreet use of social networking symbols on their site…but not much of a definitive brand. They let the locations (and the bread) do the talking and making memorable. As an aside, if you have a chance to have breakfast at one, I highly recommend the experience. And, the bread is wonderful.

MOre later. The phone just rang and I need to pick up the little chicks at the park.