Creating a Curated Gourmet Food Store Brand
In the Fall of 2018 I was asked to help design a brand concept and packaging approach for a new curated gourmet dry-goods store called “When We Eat”. The client asked that the brand communicate warm, familiar, approachable, affordable and gourmet. My challenge was to marry these seemingly contradictory concepts under a cohesive approach for both the store and product line. I knew the products would each be of very high quality, there would be dry-goods and bakery items but otherwise, the product mix was yet to be determined.
My Initial Thoughts
I began by discussing the Brand Values with the client and together we settled on the words trust, quality, value, purity, simplicity, honesty, sophisticated, craftsmanship and curated.
Next, I created a mood board to try to convey “Trust” and “Quality” through the familiar visual cues of farm markets and warehouse shopping experiences. I suggested that their ideal store experience should feature natural surfaces like brick, wood, galvanized metals, spot lighting, chalkboards, retro typefaces and treatments, industrial fixtures, up-cycled materials, and a subdued colour pallet.
(Note these are not my images but rather indications of a possible interior design direction)
The Idea Amplified
“When We Eat” stores need to strike a balance between approachable and gourmet.
“Gourmet” is typically premium priced and not neither approachable nor affordable. One way to communicate this though, would be to create a brand that felt simple, pared-back and familiar. Not generic per se, but rather something no-nonsense, solid and proven. A brand with an “implied heritage”. And since the products would only appear in their own dedicated store, like products in Ikea for example, they would not need to compete for attention. As part of a total shopping experience, the “When We Eat” packaging could be restrained and simple.
The packaging could have a cohesive design aesthetic and focus on product more than brand. An “un-branded” brand of sorts.
I proposed a restrained pallet of heritage colours and patterns then applied the design packaging across a wide variety of packaging mockups. Each featured a bold product name with smaller descriptive and varietal supporting text on kraft backgrounds. Wherever possible, I proposed unique packaging options to further support their premium brand.
Since the name implies “time”, I initially explored logo ideas built around clocks and cutlery. However, since typical items they offered weren’t “knife and fork meals”, and since the cutlery emphasis said “restaurant”, I abandoned the clock and cutlery in favour of a concept built around a banner which I felt communicated a feeling of “celebration”. I further added the phrase “Curated Culinary Collections” as a way to support a higher quality perception.
The client was very excited to see a comprehensive vision for his store concept and is currently in planning stages with stores set to launch soon in Greater Vancouver.