“Comprised of a constantly shifting set of elements, the visual language was born from free-form image-making and experimentation. Incorporating graphic and hand-drawn illustrated elements, as well as video and portrait photography, the brand presents a subtle yet crafted visual landscape that celebrates intimacy, texture, and feel.”
For me what works so well about the branding is how authentic everything feels. There’s so many small details, like hand-drawn elements, tooth and texture on the typography, paper and print elements that give a sense of tactility. It’s all very quirky and charming with a bit of refinement, and that duality definitely works to catch my eye.
Rainer Schneider, a contemporary restaurant reinventing German cuisine, recently received a fresh looking brand identity from the folks at Hyperfocus. They decided on an analogue aesthetic for the photos, sprinkled in some fun copywriting, and embraced a lo-fi design approach, emphasizing the values of sharing and new culinary adventures. The visual identity they created is raw, sincere, and straightforward, evoking a sense of familiarity and timelessness. I’m such a fan of type-driven branding and this hits the mark for me. A bold type pairing, pared back color palette, it never goes wrong.
The thing about Barcelona is there’s always something new popping up. It’s that energy that makes it feel like Los Angeles to me, only on a smaller scale that’s much easier to explore. Take for example this new visual identity from Hey Studio (probably the best design studio in the city) for Casa Montjüic, a multi-hyphenate space for creatives containing three different areas: a multi-purpose theater capable of hosting cinema screenings, plays, and intimate concerts; a music venue; and a restaurant featuring a seasonal menu and exquisite wines.
Hey Studio took inspiration from the ever-changing billboards of 19th century cinemas and music venues to match the energy of the unconventional culture. The result is a branding experience that’s bursting with life, both in the physical and digital worlds, with a vibrant color palette which brings the visual language into the 21st century.
Love a flexible identity system that can do a lot of things with ease. And this color palette is super fun, making the space feel so contemporary. Huerco S. is playing a set on Sunday and Kyle and I just bought tickets, stoked to check out the space and go drink some natty wine 🥂
It’s almost comical how mainstream brand redesigns are at this point. Being in any creative field, you’ve experienced random folks having an opinion on your work. The nosy executive, the random PA, or in this case, the amateur home chef. The New York Times, or more specifically, journalist and cookbook author Marnie Hanel, has decided to wade into the murky waters of branding, asking, What Happened to Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt?
To summarize the piece, Diamond Crystal hired Enlisted Design to work on a fresh look for the brand, as well as create smaller boxes for home chefs (it was previously only sold in very large, 3 lb. boxes). And ultimately, the piece tries to say that things shouldn’t change. That because Diamond Crystal is in some TV shows like The Bear, Ina Garten swears by it, and that it was used in the (toxic and abusive) Bon Appétit test kitchen years ago, it is somehow sacrilegious for the outdate design of the box to change.
Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one. Over the years, I’ve learned that everyone is entitled to their opinions, they don’t affect me or hurt my feelings. It does bother me though when there’s a lack of understanding on how branding, marketing, and capitalism connect in our modern world. It clearly states that Diamond Crystal “aims to increase the annual revenue … from $3 million to $50 million.” It cannot grow 16x with that ugly, old, 3 lb. box that was hard to find in most grocery stores. This is primarily, a business decision, a growth strategy, that happens to include a redesign.
Speaking to the design itself, it’s nice! In the article’s byline, it’s described as “minimalist branding.” Sure, it’s simple, but minimal it is not, with bold, typography that bring an interesting bit of personality. The color palette is almost a direct opposite of Morton Iodized Salt, probably the best known brand of salt in the U.S., and distinctly different from the green and white color palette of the other major flakey salt brand, Maldon. Is the design following some rather well-worn trends? Sure, though I’ll assume that most consumers of salt wouldn’t be aware of that, only us design nerds. Some of the comments in the article stated, essentially, that the new design will “blend in with all the other salts on the shelf.” From my point of view, that is not the case here.
I give props to Enlisted Design for their great work, andI totally feel for them right now. The amount of weird spam they’re going to get from this clickbait-ridden article is going to suck. Context and insight is important.
Bruch created custom-made lettering and type design that aims to combine contrasting elements such as angled and round, hard and soft, to showcase the creative possibilities of working with wood. The typefaces are based on the simplified form of a wooden board, creating a cohesive and intelligent approach to the brand. This design also aligns with the company’s claim that “Everything is built on wood.” Further, the brand is enhanced by warm and atmospheric imagery that really gives it a modern and timeless feeling.
For me, I’m so impressed with how effective the type is with such a simple concept. The way the joints of the letters connect really gives that feeling of wooden boards coming together, and they even remind me of the curves of the iconic Thonet 214 chair. The color palette is also really doing it for me, love the muted greens and golden amber tones paired together. One of my favorite branding projects of the year, for sure.
Solen, which is the Swedish word for “sun”, is also recently opened restaurant in Stockholm from chefs Adam Dahlberg and Albin Wessman. Inspired by sun drenched locales like Tel Aviv, Naples, and Oaxaca, with a menu that features a delicious looking mix of dishes from those cities.
To help bring the space to life, Solen tapped designer Daniel Carlsten to create a visual identity. Leaning into bold, sun-inspired colors and a mid-century minimalism, it all feels timeless, like the restaurant has been around for decades, a touchstone of the neighborhood. I especially love the custom mobile, which was crafted by Ray Atelier. If you’re in Stockholm, stop by for a visit and let me know how it is.
I think it’s so special when someone is able to develop a brand identity that looks how something would feel. Case in point, this season’s look and feel for the Théâtre des Salins developed by Image Format. Now, these days, gradients are everywhere, it’s literally impossible to avoid them at this point. Though in this case I love what Image Format has done, giving the impression of time and seasons shifting, or that’s how it reads to me personally. And the typeface they’re using, Baste, has such an eclectic look, like a silly, rounded monospace, which feels retro and quite contemporary.
Anton Repponen is a Brooklyn-based designer who’s new concept project Street Signs of New York intrigued me. In place of the familiar symbols and words we might see on the signs around New York, he’s replaced them with these abstract symbols and bright colors that recontextualizes what these signs mean in their respective spaces. And honestly, it’s just kind of nice to see something so visually appealing in public like this, almost like little bursts of public art for our day-to-day lives.
My love for food-related branding is unending, and when I spotted this work from Humid Daze, I was immediately a fan. Humid Daze is a one-man design studio helmed by Sean Jones, a designer and illustrator based in Atlanta. The work he did for Deeply, a cafe and bottle shop in Florida, is clean and timeless, using elements of sans serif type paired with hand drawn elements. It’s all so crisp and clean that you can’t go wrong, and in the end, it allows the coffee to shine through clearest. I feel like everyone could use a little spot like this in their neighborhood.
The folks at Studio MPLS are always up to something cool, creating some of the most striking branding and packaging designs out there. For example, their work for River St. Joe is one of my favorite projects, ever. Most recently, they released new work for Sola Coffee Co, a coffee shop opening soon in the northern part of Minnesota.
The system they built for the brand seems pretty flexible, utilizing either three or four typefaces (and some varying weights) and a seven color palette, which they’re able to bend in a number of directions. I’m such a fan of a type-based design systems, and I think they’ve made a lot of smart choices with the contrast between each. Just enough personality and quirk to be ownable without feeling whacky (in a bad way, whacky can be great). Most importantly, in my opinion, is it’s sense of timelessness. I write about this a lot and I do think it’s a good marker of strong design, especially in regards to product packaging and identity.
Barcelona creative agency Ingrid Picanyol Studio has brought to life a new look and feel for Dalston Coffee, a small roaster located in the El Raval area of Barcelona. Borja Roselló began roasting coffee there back in 2015, was inspired by the area of Dalston in London, and in particular, the charming red brick buildings.
That’s where Picanyol and her studio come in, translating the packaging into a small buildings with different colored awnings for each style of bean, creating a small neighborhood of sorts. The result is so charming and inviting, and they look so cute sitting on the shelves together. I’m going to visit this week to pick up a building for myself.
I started following Midnight Marauder on Twitter years ago after seeing his work randomly pop up on the timeline. He’s quite enigmatic, no idea his name or what he looks like, only that he lives in Los Angeles, and that he’s a prolific designer. You would probably know him from the poster for The Worst Person in the World, or perhaps the creative he’s done for Netflix and Amazon and dozens of indie films. Other highlights include this stunning poster for Midsommar and the record for The VVitch (A24 does it right).
Recently, he created the poster for the new Rachel Lambert film, which stars Daisy Ridley, Sometimes I Think About Dying. I love how all the elements of this came together, the romantic script lettering playing in contrast to the title of the film, and the on point choice of colors for the credits at bottom. It’s a perfect balance of objects.