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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.

Thoughts on logo redesigns

The recent redesign of the Olive Garden logo and subsequent deluge of comments got me thinking about the current environment we designers live in and how we’re our own worst enemies. It’s a scary proposition if you are that designer or studio tasked with redesigning a logo, especially one that has a long history.

It’s shocking how fast this type of news gets out. It’s also shocking how immediate the snarky comments come out as well. And there is no shortage of those. From light hearted jostling to down right hateful meanness, these comments really show how shallow our industry is. And how we’ll turn on each other in a heartbeat. Scary. Especially when most of us try on a daily basis to have our profession taken more seriously. After a research paper goes out are scientists heading to Twitter and snarkily denouncing the results?

What is it about a redesign that makes us revert to being 5 years old on the playground picking on whoever is new and different? Who knows? Are we angry because we didn’t get chosen for the job? Maybe. Are we jealous because the solution is actually quite nice and we didn’t come up with it first? Possibly. Whatever the reason is we need to figure it out and try really hard not to succumb to the snarky urge.

The first step is recognition.

We’ve got to be more patient with these redesigns. Let them live in the world for a little while. Lets let them find their footing and then if we feel the need, because we’ve critically thought about it, critique them in the appropriate forum (and no that is not on Twitter.) If you don’t just impulsively tweet your initial feelings about the redesigns I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised- heck you might even *gasp* appreciate the work done for the redesign!

In this world of faster and faster instant gratification lets give our industry a little trust and respect and give these redesigns (and the designers behind them!) the time and thought they deserve. Try and put yourself in the shoes of the designer or team of designers tasked with the redesign. I bet they didn’t sit in their initial brainstorm meeting and try to come up with the idea that would be made fun of the most. No, they were tasked with executing an idea brought to them by their client, documented as best as it could be on a brief, and had a schedule assigned to it. Honestly they probably were too busy to think about what was going to be said after the redesign happens.

So here it is- my plea to my fellow creatves:

Stop Snarking, Start Thinking, Stay Designing!

#buttermilkinboston – Day 4

Thursday was our final day at HOW Live. We headed out to the airport later in the day so we  were able to catch a few good sessions as well as visit some neat stores.

Dana Tanamachi-Williams' beautifully designed packaging for Wiliams Sonoma

Dana Tanamachi-Williams’ beautifully designed packaging for Wiliams Sonoma

The first session of the day was by Dana Tanamachi-Williams, the famed chalkboard lettering artist. We were really looking forward to her session- we just knew it’d be amazing. She basically ran down her whole career from the early days of lettering her friends parties in their apartments to working with Oprah on her magazine and events. Dana is beyond inspiring and her story of where she’s been was so interesting. Her biggest takeaway for me was her question: “Who’s flourishing because you’re successful” Which we think is a great thing to keep in mind in a partnership business. We hope to both succeed and flourish and pass that back and forth, and then extend that out to our clients. Dana was beyond humble during her talk, making us fall in love with her all over again.

After Dana’s session we headed to the Dieline Conference to see Christopher Durham’s talk on innovative private brands. He poses interesting points that make us question our perception of what a private brand is. He pulled some of the highlight brands from his book and talked about what made them unique. We were proud that he even singled out a couple of our projects to discuss.

We left the the conference to seek out some lunch and brainstorm some things. We landed at Trident Booksellers & Cafe. We had already been there twice! We really loved the place, and their food was super tasty! After a couple of bubble teas we headed back out on the street to take in a few shops. We visited Zara and got our kiddos a couple of things, their baby clothes are beyond adorable. 

We did end up making it to Camper, one of the places on our list of things to do. Camper has an interesting retail environment. Theres one large long table right in the middle of a fairly small and narrow store. All their shoes are on display, men on one side, women on the other. You tell the employee your size and they scurry to the back to retrieve it. It was a great set up to pick up and hold and compare a bunch of different shoes.

The other store we made it to was Madewell. We had been there before, but we had to head back. They have really neat style and products, like a quirky J. Crew. But what we really like is their store. They have great POP displays, sale signs on clip boards, and interesting fixtures. We left inspired and ready to head back to the conference just in time to attend a session by riCardo Crespo.

This was the last session of our conference, so we sat back and listened to what riCardo had to say. riCardo is a veteran of the creative industry, and spent most of his time in-house so he’s got a unique perspective to share. We loved his energy and found a few takeaways to bring back.

We headed to the airport to catch our flight back to Greensboro, which ended up being quite an ordeal, but it gave us a little time to reflect on our week in Boston. Time flies when your having fun, but we’d also say it flies when you are inspired! We found so much inspiration over the past week- from Make & Matter to Dana Tanamachi-Williams. We are so proud to have presented at The Dieline Conference and really enjoyed sharing our story. And we loved talking with everyone throughout the week who enjoyed our session, very humbling. And of course we had a great time catching up with old friends and new friends as well. 

Buttermilk is back from Boston and ready to hit the ground running! 

#buttermilkinboston – Day 3

#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 and here for Day 2.

The conference is flying by. We are a little sad as we come to realize we will only be here for one more day. Today was another great day full of inspiration, meeting awesome new people and seeing a few of our trusty favorites. We started the morning off with an absolutely incredible session by Trina Bentley from Make and Matter. We’ve been adoring fans of Trina’s work for the past year or so when we first discovered her blog. This session was at the top of our “not to miss” list! We were front row as she shared her experiences in designing her own personal design aesthetic. She walked us through her processes and showed us some techniques. I can probably speak for the whole audience when I say that her candidness and willingness to share was appreciated and helpful.  Her talent is such an inspiration, it’s hard to believe she’s a one-woman operation.

Trina had some great quotes she shared but our favorite was:

“Dreams don’t work unless you do”

package design by Trina Bentley

package design by Trina Bentley

Right after Trina’s session was Dan Pink’s general session. This was another major heavy hitter that we were really looking forward to. Pink discussed the fact that, whether we like it or not, we are all in “sales.” Just accept that. And he discussed ways to navigate this new found role we’re in. He redefined the age old adage “A = Always, B = Be, C = Closing” to “A = Attunement, B = Buoyancy, C = Clarity.” We learned that “ambiverts” are the best sellers out there and the good news is most of us are exactly that. He also brought up a very interesting study that said to add a tiny, insignificant negative with all the positives and folks gravitate to that more than just a list of positives, Very interesting stuff. Oh and Alex won Dan Pinks book so when we get back in town its going straight onto the bookshelf.

Our dinner spot tonight was a cozy little bohemian jazz club called The Beehive. It was perfect. Our drinks were well crafted, the food was phenomenal and the atmosphere was lively. There was a live jazz band playing on a stage in the midst of dining tables, eclectic chandeliers and rustic tapestries. Everywhere you turned, there was art to be enjoyed. Our dining companion tonight was Tim Cox, Director of Creative Strategy at Publix. It’s become an annual tradition of ours to catch up with him during the HOW conference and the conversation was a pleasure as always!

The check holder at The Beehive. Amazing!

The check holder at The Beehive. Amazing!

We have one more day at the conference and it looks to be another packed day of great sessions. 

We’ll be posting one more day of recaps- keep an eye out for our Day 4 post tomorrow.

#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!