Established in 1927, the Beer Store is a chain of retail outlets in Ontario, Canada that sells over 350 different kinds of beers across more than 430 stores. This year, four of those locations are in a pilot program to test a new concept store that includes a revised logo, identity, and interior and exterior redesigns, that have all been designed by Toronto-based Jackman.
A few more interior details from the Beer Store on Danforth Ave., Toronto. Source: Canada.com.
Well, this is fun, isn’t it? I mean: Beer! The old logo, despite the unimaginative serif, was fairly decent with the “B” showing a beer through it and tipped at an angle ready to drink. The new logo takes a more interpretative approach with an abstract representation of beer by putting a white dab of foam atop the mug-shaped “B” set in an industrialized sans serif that makes the whole brand feel like the Victoria’s Secret store that men don’t have. Men will rise from their man caves to go to this store. The same bold approach has carried into the stores with a lot of slab serifs and hard-edged, condensed sans reproduced big in manly finishes. It would take years to rollout the look across all locations but I would say this pilot test is ready for a flight. (See what I did there? Pilot store? Pilots fly? Beer flight? Yeah, that’s why I get paid the big bucks).
Today I am dedicating Friday Likes to a single project.
Google Visual Assets Guidelines
For such a long time Google had ignored its aesthetics in favor of its algorithms, functionality, and ad-selling superpowers that we just took it for granted that any Google product would look like shit, starting with its barebones home page and unadorned search results. There is nothing wrong with simplicity and straightforwardness but that didn’t mean stuff had to look like just one step above Netscape circa 1999. For a company infamous for battling (and testing) over 41 shades of blue their visual design was always disappointing. But things have been changing dramatically over the last couple of years with every product getting handsome and beneficial aesthetic improvements that enhance the experience making information easier and more pleasant to access. Logos are flatter, icons are clearer, typography is better typeset, and colors are more consistent. And when you look at this two-part project posted on Behance you will see where it’s all coming from — if not the exact ingredients that you might encounter on a day-to-day basis at least the principles and driving decisions that inform the way Google looks-and-feels today. The guidelines themselves are also excellent: clear, well written, entertaining, and simply pretty to look at. Who would have thought? [Part 1 / Part 2].
Established in 1866 as Herberts, then purchased by DuPont in the 1990s when it was renamed as DuPont Performance Coatings, and most recently purchased by asset manager, The Carlyle Group, the newly renamed and more independent Axalta Coating Systems is a global provider of liquid and powder coatings to automotive, transportation, general industrial, and selected architectural and decorative customers. Axalta employs 12,000 people across 35 manufacturing plants and seven R&D centers around the world, it has over 1,800 patents held or pending, and revenues of more than $ 4 billion in 2012. The new name and identity, both realized by Futurebrand, were announced last week.
An essential first step in building a fullscale brand program was creating a name that connotes front-runner status. Firm yet memorable, Axalta celebrates the company’s unparalleled focus and drive to win. It cues upward motion and underscores the ambition and status that set the company apart. Paired with Coating Systems, the name speaks to the global, integrated suite of solutions the company offers. — Futurebrand case study (PDF)
Next to the new name, a new identity was easily the most marked symbol of change. Inspired by the idea that a company built for performance must be simply brilliant in all aspects — its products, people and attitude — we developed a bold, reflective “A” to serve as the company’s logo mark. Embedded with a forward-looking road, the logo symbolizes Axalta’s performance and category leadership, with a brilliant finish that cues a passion for coatings. — Futurebrand case study (PDF)
I’m conflicted. There are moments when I hate this logo and moments where I love it. Or, at least, there are moments that show very interesting potential. It’s a shiny “A”, for Axalta obviously and for the lustrous coatings they produce, and the glossy effect is both cheesy and effective. It’s smartly done in that it clearly communicates a glossy finnish and is not just an arbitrary gradient; it looks best when the logo is small, but up close it screams Adobe Illustrator tutorial. The “A” also represents the white, dashed lines on a street which Futurebrand touts as a “forward-looking road”; it’s an interesting concept but it drives the identity into looking like a car insurance company or road service assistance. The wordmark is a nearly impossible combination of characters to kern properly and I have to say this was done as best as possible — seriously, you give it a try. There is a slight disconnect between the rounded, glossy “A” icon and the stiff wordmark. I’m not a big fan of the logo, but then you see an application like the signage below and it really makes you reconsider. That is one “A” I would like to lick.
In application, the “A” can take on different textures and colors, which is both expected and pretty. There is also a secondary swath of coating that can be used across brochure covers and web backgrounds. The typography works better with the icon than the wordmark does with the icon and it does help communicate that future-y feeling necessary to give “coating” a bit of an edge. One of the more interesting applications is directly above, with the icon as a transparent version, it starts to go beyond the expected. Overall, as I said, there are good things and bad things about it, but definitely an improvement over being a DuPont sub-brand.
Scheduled to open in 2014, The Battle of Bannockburn project is a partnership between the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and Historic Scotland to create a new visitor centre and landscaping at the site of the original battle of 1314 that, as described by NTS, is “one of the defining moments in Scottish history, [where] King Robert the Bruce routed the English forces of King Edward II to win a much-longed-for freedom for the Scots.” The identity for the project was designed by The Beautiful Meme with consultation from Bruno Maag of Dalton Maag; the logo was first released in July of 2012 and it just caught a second wind after winning the Best Identity of the Year at the UK’s Design Week Awards.
Like The Battle of Bannockburn experience itself, our identity demands engagement. The unusual approach of each character representing an aspect of the battle or its historical impact results in a logo that asks our audience to make an investment, to spend time and thought in revealing what the identity is saying. Such an immersion is rewarded with depictions of weapons, strategy, terrain, pride and nationhood. The aesthetic of the logo is dark, brutal and spiky, reflecting the realities of battle. Stylistically, the characters reflect contemporary app icons and game graphics, as well as more traditional heritage illustrated visuals. — Brand Book (not available online)
Like individual units in an army, each character can be dispatched separately to do battle for the brand through marketing, merchandising and fundraising. The ability to break apart the logo also allows for an identity that can be hacked. We anticipate some sectors of our target audience (particularly students) creating new versions and letters, using images within the letterforms, employing single letters to begin sentences similar to illuminated manuscripts, or even making 3D or animated versions. — Brand Book (not available online)
All captions below are from the brand book.
The B illustrates the tight packs in which the Scots would group together, known as Schiltrons. The men would brandish pikes ready to spear oncoming troops.
The A shows the tip of a regular infantry arrow that could be fired by archers to pierce flesh up to 100 yards away.
This N represents a cavalry horse in its charging position. In total 2700 battle hardened horses were used at Bannockburn.
This N represents a common medieval chainmail pattern. The chainmail worn could weigh up to three stone.
The O represents the head of a morning star or mace. This brutal weapon was often used by soldiers on horse back.
The C represents the sabaton armour that was generally worn by higher ranking infantry. It would protect feet, shoulders and arms from hacking blows.
The K represents the head of an axe or turn-pike. Robert the Bruce used a battle axe to attack and kill Sir Henry de Bohun – the axe sliced through his helmet and split his skull in two.
This B represents the rampant lion that was emblazend on English and Scottish shields and flags. Only after the battle did the lion become associated with the Scottish.
The U represents the style of helmet used in the battle. Although they limited vision they would protect from stray arrows and light weaponary strikes.
The R represents a plan of war. The ingenious tactics used by the Scots to defeat the English were crucial to the battle’s outcome. What was lacked in numbers was made up for in strategic positioning on higher ground.
The N represents the Declaration of Abroath. As a result of the battle, this important document was created on 6th April 1320 and declares Scotland an independent country.
How to say this in a professional, critical, constructive manner? This logo is fucking awesome. To elaborate, I guess, this is a concept that could have been executed so horribly and so wrong that it would make a Game of Thrones betrayal scene look like Nashville. The weight and balance of each character and the details within it are all perfectly in tune and there is enough detail to understand the different things each letter is trying to communicate even without the explanations above. Except the first “N” — the horse — which I had not picked up on and then just blew my mind. The logo is spiky and dangerous and it immediately communicates medieval warfare in a way that is contemporary and exciting. So, yeah, I stand by my initial assessment: fucking awesome.
Late last month, Major League Soccer announced that a new expansion team will join the league in 2015: New York City Football Club (NYC FC). This will bring soccer to the New York metropolitan area and perhaps also ignite yet another “crosstown” rivalry — a la Yankees vs. Mets, Knicks vs. Nets — with the other MLS team, New York Red Bulls that play in the less glamorous suburb of Harrison, New Jersey. Less than a month after the announcement, two soccer and design aficionados have taken it upon themselves to design a proper identity for the new team.
I really like the subway token feel of the primary mark, it’s the first use of the multi-stroke trend that makes sense and actually adds meaning to the logo. The secondary mark feels a little flimsy by comparison and hard to read at smaller sizes. Typography is edgy and contemporary. Cap looks almost like it belongs on a cop or firefighter, hence: win.
I love the old-school feel of the FC monogram and the ambition that you wouldn’t even need to say “NYC”. I bet legal would have a difference of opinion. The flared approach to the pentagon is a nice contrast to the more basic shape of Hyperakt’s proposal and adds to the vintage feel. Unis are sexy. The hoodie is something I need, hence: win.
Burgers that go boom, logos that turn corners, and hearts to melt your eyes are all part of this week’s Likes.
For Boom Burger, a Jamaican-infused burger joint in London, local firm Yawn Creative spared no subtlety when it came to making the identity feel explosive or Jamaican. The color palette screams reggae and the main logo and secondary icons are all about to literally go boom. And… plantain fries? Need. [More].
Public Art Fund
A non-profit in New York, Public Art Fund helps fundraise, organize, and mount contemporary art exhibits in public spaces around every corner of the city — which is what the logo, in the shape of an arrow, represents. Designed by Tender Creative (now part of VSA Partners) the wordmark is a deceivingly simple execution that in the wrong hands (and with the wrong kerning) would have been a disastrous result. The identity uses bright magenta (obviously not shown above) for added impact and the arrow can also be adapted to the different exhibits (as shown above). [More]
What would Friday Likes be without Mexican firm Anagrama? Their latest is for Cocolobo, a Mexico City boutique for high-end women’s clothing. A stark color palette and unassuming Didone provide the luxury aesthetic while the red heart provides a restrained burst of edge. The heart patterns, which could be cloying as hell in another project, look downright sexy. [More]
Originally established as the Minnesota North Stars in 1967, the Dallas Stars have been playing in the “Big D” since 1993 and are the only professional ice hockey team in Texas. They have won one Stanley Cup (in the 1998-99 season) but have missed the playoffs for the past five seasons. Looking to spice things up, the Stars unveiled its new uniforms and logo yesterday — although the logo leaked through the team’s mobile app at the end of May — designed by Reebok.
“We looked at every team in Dallas, in Texas, anything that surrounded us, bordered us or felt that was relevant to us,” said Walsh. “We looked at the different logos around the league and decided what we liked and didn’t like about all of them. Then we created this 36-page brief to the NHL and they were floored by how detailed it was, and we kind of laid out a direct path to Reebok of where we wanted to go.”
Reebok responded with four designs, which the Stars didn’t like. But they liked elements from one of them.
“This is where the process started to turn,” said Walsh. “Once we got the initial stuff from Reebok, we started really internally becoming creatively involved. This is where all the different variations of the jerseys started to come together because we were able to do it faster than they were. We were able to do it in the same day in most cases.”
Main logo, detail. “‘I’m excited. My hope is the logo is one that they’ll love,’ Gaglardi said. ‘It’s one that is void of any word mark, but I think any fan will look at it and see a D and a Star. There’s only one Big D, so I feel the logo will be pretty easily recognizable. I love its simplicity.’”
Alternate logo (used on shoulder patch). “When we went to the new D and Star, we lost any kind of word mark within the primary logo itself. That’s why we felt it was important to have the words ‘Dallas’ and ‘Stars’ on the shoulder patch.”
Alternate logo (used on pant shell). “‘One of the big discussions in our group was continuing the tie to the state of Texas because we are the only NHL team in this massive state,’ said Walsh. ‘We wanted the state of Texas represented somewhere, so we have a logo that does appear on the pant shell and it’s the D-Star and the state of Texas. We were always partial to our old shoulder crest.’”
The previous logo was pretty terrible: ugly typography, ugly color combination, and, well, just ugly and rusty. The new logo, by contrast and in the relative context of sports branding, is super pretty and shiny. That don’t mean I like it — I do, relatively speaking, but I don’t, in the larger context of logo design. It’s a vast improvement that maintains the structure and equity of the old one through the italicized star but brings in all the clichés of modern sports identity: more italic, more strokes, more bevels, more chiseling. At least the star-pointed “D” that they have come up with is an interesting monogram to begin with and then adding all the accoutrements. The alternate logos are fine and will probably help move merchandise for many years to come. The wordmark on its own is ridiculously italicized and every character and bevel looks distorted. Replacing the hard-to-reproduce and unappealing gold for silver/gray was probably the best move in this whole exercise. The uniforms (below) are just about fine, I don’t really have any strong opinions. Overall, the identity is a major improvement based on what they had previously but there is absolutely nothing new here that we haven’t seen in the last five years. (More stuff to see below).
“If you are going to go green, you want it to pop on TV,” said Walsh. “If you go too dark with green or a color like blue, it looks black on TV, even on high definition. We wanted our green to pop, so we went back and forth with Reebok several times. We brought in jerseys from different teams, different sports teams.
“We went back to Reebok and they found Victory Green. It was a mix between Kelly Green and Forest Green. Instead of Kelly Green having that one shade yellow too much, we needed one more shade of blue in there to bring it back. And when we did a television test, it looked unbelievable on TV. It really popped. We’ve been so dark and drab for so many years, we want this to pop. And it does.”
New uniform. Sexy shot. “‘There was not a single stone left unturned from what we did,’ said Walsh. ‘We have 236 variations of the uniform that we looked at. I had to go back and add them all up.’”
Logo and uniform unveiling event. Brief video introduction of the new logo at the beginning.
This morning I wasn’t very inspired or motivated by any of the tips sitting in my inbox — nothing against our wonderful tip-submitters! It’s not your fault there isn’t much interesting work and stories out there — so I thought I would showcase a preview of my favorite project from the winners of the 2012 Brand New Awards designed by Landor‘s San Francisco office: Nine Suns is a new luxury winery in Napa Valley with three-digit dollar bottles available only to registered members. In introducing the wines, the product of a Chinese family, Landor created a name and identity that references and honors their Chinese heritage in a subtle and unexpected manner.
Nine Suns references an ancient Chinese legend where ten suns took turns rising in the sky. When they grew tired of the routine and decided to raise all at once, lakes dried and crops perished. The God of Archery was summoned to save the land. He aimed. Nine suns fell, leaving the one needed to keep heaven and earth in perfect balance. The story and archery references the art and science of wine making. The calligraphy, God of Archery and the three legged sunbirds dress the brand in mythical flair. — Provided text
This image has been edited to remove the contact information that was shown on the back of the business card.
At first glance, the project is already stunning, with a simple and sophisticated look that fits the high-end wine category but also stands out for its unexpected graphics. However, it’s the details that deserve the attention. Like the fact that there are nine circles (for the nine suns) in the otherwise abstract wordmark. Or the tiny archer on the business cards taking down the suns. Or the orange top on the cork. And there is a few more details I’m holding back to show on the BNA book and website. But even from this preview you can see the nice tension of bold colors, thin lines, and full circles at play.
From Germany to Hungary to Singapore, a lot of good thinking in this edition of Friday Likes.
Haus der Kunst
Relative to how recent I like to keep the projects shown on Brand New, this one is from like the Jurassic era. 2011. Not sure how I missed it at the time. Interestingly it sort of precedes the 2012/13 trend of minimalist black-and-white museum identities. For Haus der Kunst, a non-collecting public museum in Munich, Base Design created an “elastic” logo with fixed letters at the start and end of the name with wacko kerning inside it, alluding to the “flexibility, resilience, and adaptability” of the museum. I could look at the above GIF all day. And, obviously, major bonus points for not using Helvetica. [More].
For Csaba Mózes, a professional masseur who has been blind since birth, Budapest-based Zwoelf created an identity with a pattern based on pressure points and the movements he uses during a massage. The resulting identity feels a little too trendy and techie for a masseur but the concept and idea is as strong as a knot on your neck right before a client presentation. To help Csaba appreciate the design, Zwoelf tricked out some of the materials with colorless relief paint gel so that he could feel the pattern. [More]
Located in Singapore’s financial district, Foodology is a food emporium that doubles as a restaurant and marketplace and covers every gastronomic taste. For their identity, local firm Somewhere Else created an academic-like seal to represent the ology-ness of the name and then went all flexible with the five different “o”s using abstract representations. The seal and the wordmark could use a little more unity but both are fetching and the whole project is a very comprehensive effort. [More]