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Lowes Foods Redesign

At the risk of sounding hypocritical I’d like to discuss a logo redesign that was just unveiled. The redesign I’ll be digging into is for one of our local hometown grocery stores: Lowes Foods.

Growing up about 30 minutes west of where Lowes Foods started I was familiar with this brand early on, but I was always confused about the name. Are they connected to Lowes Hardware? Owned by the same people? After all Lowes the hardware store is also headquartered in NC but down in Charlotte. We never really shopped at Lowes Foods though when I was little so it wasn’t until I moved back to the area after being away that I really checked out the grocery store.

My first impression of Lowes was low end, basic grocery store. I had just left Florida, land of Publix, where I fell head over heals in love with that wonderful store “where shopping is a pleasure.” So my grocery store bar was set very high and Lowes just didn’t do it for me. At that time I felt like they did not have a solid and clear statement to the shopper about who they are and what they stood for. They were, you know… just a regular grocery store.

Over the years I’ve only dabbled with shopping at Lowes. Part because its not convenient for me personally, part because I just don’t like the place. I can count the number of times I’ve shopped at Lowes over the last 7 years on my two hands.

So you can imagine my absolute shock when I noticed earlier this past week that they had redesigned their logo- and it was pretty amazing. Retro inspired cool, the new script logo looks great. Feels historic but fresh at the same time. Has a great energy and is light years ahead of the old mark. 

Following the logo redesign I went over to their website and, to my delight, saw they had redesigned that as well. The visual language they’ve set up is consistent, interesting, and with enough variety to keep things engaging. 

My favorite parts of the whole redesign is what Lowes calls their “Originals.” These are basically “stores-within-the-store”. Whole Foods is famous for these — the beer bar that will fill your growler up while you sip on a pint, the BBQ shack right down the aisle from canned goods. But this concept at Lowes Foods? Who’d a thunk? The design of each “Original” is unique but consistent and contributes to the overall feeling of what Lowes is putting forth. The concepts are very cool- a craft beer bar, a sausage makery, a fried chicken joint, and a couple other community focused ones that holistically make Lowes feel like more than “just” a grocery store.

Images via Lowesfoods.com

Images via Lowesfoods.com

For me, “The Beer Den” tops my list. I’m digging the overall rustic, modern, hand crafted feel of the space as well as the bold type and illustrations used. The printed growlers add a nice touch of specialty and reinforce Lowes’ new position as craft beer experts. Just look at that bear art — bad ass!

Image via Lowesfoods.com

Image via Lowesfoods.com

Image via Lowesfoods.com

Image via Lowesfoods.com

Image via Lowesfoods.com

Image via Lowesfoods.com

Image via Lowesfoods.com

Image via Lowesfoods.com

I’ve yet to step foot in a newly redesigned Lowes. All of my conclusions have been drawn purely based on the digital work put out there by Lowes and their agency of record, The Variable. So will it all fall apart in the store? I’ll be very interested to see when I plan my next visit. What I’m even more curious about is what will these bold statements do for Lowes’ business? My hope is it works out for them. They’ve embraced design as an important factor to move the needle and as a designer I want badly for that to work out for them — if it does, other companies will take notice and the success story will raise our industry. Fingers crossed.

Kudos to the in-house team at Lowes Foods and the team at The Variable for doing such an amazing job on the redesign and on all the other work needed to make it sing.

Post Revisit: A Snapshot of Specialty Coffee Packaging

Its always good practice (and fun!) to take a look back and reread what we’ve written about during the life of our little blog. We recently revisited a post from August 2013 titled “A Snapshot of Specialty Coffee Packaging” (click here to read.)

The post focused on coffee packaging — where we’ve been, where we are presently, and where we predicted we were going. While it was good to revisit the whole post, we’d like to focus on that last bit — the part where we predicted where we felt the specialty coffee packaging was moving towards. Below is the actual snippet from our post:

“We believe the future of specialty coffee packaging will move away from the simple, clean, industrial look for a more expressive style that really shows the personality of the brand. We think customers don’t need to see another kraft bag to denote quality and an expressive bag will also do a better job telling the story, something that is resonating more and more with shoppers nowadays .”

The reason we revisited this post is because we’re seeing a lot of examples of the very thing we were predicting (which is very exciting) which means we might know a little bit about what we do!

Two great examples of what we predicted coming to life are Starbucks special Tribute Blend packaging and Brewklyn Grind Coffee Roasters rebrand and packaging. Both hit home the thought we put forth about “moving away from clean, simple industrial look” and move towards “a more expressive style.” We even had conversations about how cool coffee packaging would be with fine art prints on the label- something Brewklyn pulled of nicely. 

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Starbucks Tribute Blend

As you can see in the Starbucks packaging they are getting really conceptual with this design. Take a look at that bag. It’s just designs and elements with this beautiful painterly circle as the focal point. The asymmetrical design is very eye catching and grabs your attention on shelf. There’s no denying the contents are something special and unique. 

Starbucks is no stranger to expressive packaging and is one of the few specialty coffee companies whose packaging moved away from the kraft coffee bag look long ago — but the Tribute Blend feels new and fresh. We feel like it really embodies the vision we laid out back in August.

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Brewklyn Grind Coffee Roasters

Brewklyn Grind has really embraced expressive fine art for their new packaging and redesign. What’s really neat about Brewklyn Grind is they are collaborating with local Brooklyn artists to help create the art for their packaging. It’s not just some random digital design they’re using. We find this to truly embody “artisan” and take it to a whole new level. Why not make each bag a little work of art? Those who appreciate fine coffee are usually the same people who appreciate fine art. 


So there you have it. We’re very interested to see how this trend will play out in the coffee packaging landscape over the next year or so. Who knows- we might have to revisit this post!

#buttermilkinboston – Day 2

#buttermilkinboston is a daily recap of our experiences at the HOW Live Design Conference in Boston. Follow the hashtag on our Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up with all the excitement. Click here to read our Day 1 Recap.

We’re putting day 2 behind us and it was a blast and a blur! What an amazing day. We presented our session at The Dieline Conference, got interviewed by Package Design Magazine, and attended some great sessions at HOW Design Live.

We started the day off at an amazing little coffee shop called The Thinking Cup. We just found it wandering down Newbury St. on the way to the Hynes. We were able to grab a great breakfast that filled us up and sustained us for our presentation at 10:15. Highly recommended if you find yourself needing a good cup of coffee and a tasty breakfast pastry while in Boston. 

Our breakfast from The Thinking Cup

Our breakfast from The Thinking Cup

Then it was off to present our session “Oops I became a Package Designer” at The Dieline Conference. We were the opening session so our stomachs were in knots until we took the stage. Based on the packed house til the end of our talk and the lively Q and A we really felt like we resonated with the audience. It was great to hear from everyone and check out the lively discussion afterwards on Twitter and Instagram. But we sure are glad we’ve got that behind us so we can focus on the rest of the conference.

The crowd! Such a great group of folks!

The crowd! Such a great group of folks!

One of the most well received slides we presented was our “Discovery Brief”. Basically this is a form we created to use at the beginning of a project. We customized it for our projects to help keep us on track with asking the right questions and to really experience the product before we start designing (we insist on tasting everything before we design for it). We shared the file with The Dieline, so feel free to download a copy of it here and customize it for your own use!

Our Discovery Brief

Our Discovery Brief

After our interview with Package Design Magazine we headed back to the conference to attend Peleg Top‘s session about Marketing Strategies for Attracting Your Ideal Clients. This great session got us thinking about how best to market ourselves to the right audience. Peleg Top shared his calendar which his firm sent out every month for 14 years as a promo piece as an example of creating something that keeps you in the forefront of your current and potential clients minds. Definitely got us thinking about our upcoming promo piece and how to make it into a series we send out every couple months instead of a one off piece. 

The next and last session of the day we attended was from John Nunziato of Little Big Brands about 35 points to think about when starting a design firm. Some points resonated with us more than others but it was still neat to get some insight into the history of LBB and know that he was at one point working out of a tiny room in his house- something we know all about! Some of the other standouts from his presentation were:

  • Institute a “No Asshole” rule. There’s too many beautiful people and things in the world to worry about these types of people.
  • Respect yourself! Don’t do spec work!
  • If its not a show, its not a go! 

Listening to John’s talk got us daydreaming about what and where Buttermilk will go in the near future. Very exciting stuff.

John Nunziato presenting.

John Nunziato presenting.

We wrapped up day 2 with an AMAZING meal at Island Creek Oyster Bar (first destination we can check off from this wish list) We had the pleasure of dining with our friends from Theory House and My Private Brand — it’s always such a great time geeking out with other fellow creatives!

Insane raw platter from Island Creek Oyster Bar!

Insane raw platter from Island Creek Oyster Bar!

So that closes our Day 2 recap. We’ve got a couple more days of insight and inspiration and can’t wait to see what else we learn.

Keep an eye out for our Day 3 recap tomorrow!

#buttermilkinboston – Day 1

#buttermilkinboston is a daily recap of our experiences at the HOW Live Design Conference in Boston. Follow the hashtag on our Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up with all the excitement.

Well we made it! We’re here in the fine city of Boston to present at the Dieline Conference and get inspired with all that HOW Live has to offer. We couldn’t be more excited.

Even though our trip up was a little rocky (we had to go through security twice in LaGuardia!) we still made it here safe and sound and on time! We made it just in time to check into our hotel and grab a quick bit to eat before we attended the first session – a conversation between Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell.

Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell on stage.

Dee Dee Gordon and Malcolm Gladwell on stage.

We were pretty giddy about the opportunity to be a fly on the wall while both of these highly influential people chatted. And the session did not disappoint. Topics discussed included:

  • we designers introduce balance into what people think and see
  • the concept of “Desirable Difficulties”- making something better by making it more difficult
  • how one can apply “desirable difficulties” to their own work?
  • the importance of being disagreeable
  • innovators are usually disagreeable
  • theres more to gain by being scrappy

These bullets represent only a few of the topics discussed. Dee Dee Gordon gave Gladwell a wide birth to speak on length about a number of interesting topics. This was a great session to kick off the HOW conference for us- the right amount of theories and inspiration to get those creative juices flowing.

That was the only session we were able to make it to. We’ve got quite a long hike from the hotel to the Hynes Convention Center so we are making it a point to take in all the architecture along the way. Boston has such beautiful buildings – its hard to see where you are going because it feels like you have to keep locking up or you’re going to miss something.

Beautiful architecture in Boston

Beautiful architecture in Boston

One day is down and we already feel very inspired. Once we present our session we’ll really get to let our hair down and take in all that HOW Live has to offer.

Stay tuned for our recap of Day 2 tomorrow!

Buttermilk Goes to Boston: Part 4

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 3, Part 2 and Part 1

Well May is practically here and we are thoroughly freaking out prepping for our presentation. So in-between feverishly finishing our slides and rehearsing we spent a little time virtually exploring Boston and picking out all the fun stuff we’d like to do after we *hopefully* knock our presentation out of the ballpark (Fenway maybe?). Follow along below and if you’d like a handy guide you can visit and download our Jauntful map.

Alex’s Picks

Where I want to eat:

Island Creek Oyster Bar | islandcreekoysterbar.com

Even though I know Andy doesn’t necessarily “fancy” oysters the way I do. I know he will be down for going here with me anyway based solely on the fact that the brand identity and website design are freaking amazing. And, there’s buttermilk biscuits on the menu. Done.

The Beehive | www.beehiveboston.com

Another great design. What can I say? I’m aesthetically driven. This place is known for great live music and even better grub. There’s a reggae/jazz/soul band playing there our first night in the city. So, if our presentation is all zipped up and ready to go, we might reward ourselves with some live music and cocktails! 

B & G Oyster Bar | bandgoysters.com

Yeah, I know this one isn’t going to happen. I’d be pushing my luck to get Andy to agree to another oyster bar. But this one looks really nice too and I love the food photography on their website. Who knows, maybe he will fall in love with oysters?!

Hei La Moon

This restaurant is on the outskirts of Chinatown and I keep reading reviews of this place having great dim sum. Not sure if we will make it over to that area, but I’d love to try it.

Lollicup Coffee and Tea

Everywhere I go, I look for bubble tea. 

Where I want to shop:

Camper | www.camper.com

I’m always on the lookout for cool shoes. Not just for myself but for my husband and toddler as well. This place might be a great spot to pick up a couple of “travel gifts” for the family.

Olives & Grace | www.olivesandgrace.com/

A seemingly adorable gift shop which features small producers, artisan makers and emerging artists locally and from across the country. I love these types of shops!

Marimekko | us.marimekko.com

I’m a total sucker for the Marimekko style. So, needless to say, since I’ll be in Boston, I’m definitely going to try to pop into the Marimekko store. If for nothing else, at least a coffee mug or this oven mitt.

Other areas of interest:

Beacon Hill, Acorn Street

The cool thing about attending the HOW conference with Andy, is I never know where our travels may take us. We both always seem up for anything and open minded. If we have the time and the gusto, I’d like to check out Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, which is a historic neighborhood with picturesque architecture and cobblestone streets. Sounds like a lovely area to stroll and decompress.


Andy’s Picks

Where I want to eat (let me just say Alex picked out some amazing picks above, so i’m merely adding a little bit to her extensive list):

Falafel King

Alex and I have a pretty good track record of finding some great falafel shops in the cities we visit so Boston should be no different! While we take our stroll through Beacon Hill we’ll have to make our way to Falafel King. From the looks on Yelp its the perfect mix of no fuss eatery and some tasty falafel platters. Plus one reviewer said they are in fact the “king of all Middle Eastern foods in the City of Boston.” How can you go wrong with that?

Samuel Adams Brewery | www.samueladams.com

So it’s not exactly a restaurant but I would love to make our way over to tour the Sam Adams brewery. Say what you will about Sam Adams I think its pretty good stuff and while there are tons of other smaller craft brewers i support there’s just something about taking a tour and then tasting a beer so closely associated with the City of Boston. 

Where I want to shop/visit:

Black Ink Boston | blackinkboston.squarespace.com

I’m a sucker for great art supply stores, which Black Ink is, but they also have so much more. I’m not really in the market for anything, but thats the great thing about this store- it has just about every quirky thing you’ll ever need. I’m thinking we can just head over there and I’ll see what speaks to me.

Oat Creative | www.oatcreative.com

So you know that amazing Island Creek Oyster Bar Alex mentioned above. Well this is the studio behind the design. And ICOB isn’t the only piece in their portfolio- these folks ooze amazing talent. It’d be great to check out their studio and chat with Jen and Rory about their work and their journey. 

Harvard Square

So Alex and I are avid Car Talk listeners so if we have a little bit of time I’d love to head over and see the characters in Harvard Square Tom & Ray are always talking about on the show. Plus who knows- we might even catch a glimpse of those guys!

 

Trend Spotting: Black and White with a Pop of Color

This is design direction that we get a lot…. “Black and white with a pop of color”. It usually means simple and modern-ish. A clean and straight forward design.  So, even though this isn’t really a ground breaking trend per se, it is a commonly seen design style that we find very visually appealing.

Below are a few great interpretations of this style. 

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

BUTTERMILK GOES TO BOSTON – PART 2

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 1

If any of you have ever been in situations which involve public speaking on a large scale (even on a small scale), then you may understand the wave of terror and excitement that washes over you and submerges you leading up to the event. We started riding that wave as soon as we got the phone call and the nod from Andrew and Ivan (of the Dieline).

Are Andy and I excited? Oh yeah, for sure! Are we also terrified and nervous? You bet. And even though we had a defined topic and a description of what we want to address in our presentation, we still need to come up with the details and organize our thoughts and create a presentation around it all. Not to mention the task of figuring out how to make all of that information interesting and most importantly helpful to the hundreds, if not thousands(maybe? who knows?) of faces that will be glaring back at us. *gulp*

So, we shut ourselves away in a room for a couple of hours and began to really look at our design process. How we interact with packaging design. Where we get hung up, where we thrive and how we can ultimately be better. We emerged with some solid direction, an outline and a really great idea… it involves Bruce Springsteen. And, that’s all we can share at this point.

But, do you remember that wave we talked about a few minutes ago? The wave of emotion that takes you from terrified to excited, from paralyzed to heart-racing? We are experiencing the whole gamut as we prepare for this conference. Coming up with the major outline for our presentation gave us a giddy high. We let out a big sigh of relief. Even though we are not even half way done with the work we need to do, we are feeling more and more prepared every day.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 3