Branding

Grommet Doesn’t Sell Boring

Grommet is a company I’ve never heard of, but after watching their brand launch video I definitely intend to check them out. Why? Because according to the video below they don’t sell boring stuff.

The in-house creative team at Grommet approached Tom Allen, co-founder, and CD at design and animation studio Buff Motion in Brighton, England to produce an animated promotional video to launch their new brand. The result is a fun little short that highlights some of the products they sell.

The goal was to develop a piece of content that would promote the platform, widen Grommet’s audience and introduce their current followers to a fresh new look. I think they nailed it. There is a nice use of color, typography, simple animations, and a solid voice-over that brings the entire package together while highlighting some of the product lines. And the shapes used seem to play off of the new Grommet logo. I say “new” because I’m not sure what the old logo looked like. This is a really nice promo that gets the message across without beating you over the head with what they are advertising. OK, time to check out the Grommet online store.

Nipponpaint Automotive “LOOP”

Director/animator Kakeru Mizui has created an animated short for the Nippon Paint Automotive Coatings division that develops new paint colors for the company. I’m not going to claim to understand the logic behind this. It’s titled “Loop” and is being presented as a “brand film”. I don’t get the brand part of it, and that’s OK. Maybe it’s something that is getting lost in cultural translation between my American Brain, and his Japanese creativity. None the less it is a wonderful animated short that feels heavily influenced by the late illustrator Charlie Harper. It also has some 1980s color pallets and gradients going on which pair nicely with the illustrative style of the animals and other nature elements. Does it make me want to buy paint from Nippon Paint Automotive Coatings? No. It does however have me watching this for the third time now.

Jones Knowles Ritchie Burger King Rebrand

When you are asked to rebrand any company or organization it is not something that can be executed quickly. There is quite a bit of strategy that goes into the process, especially when you are rebranding a higher profile, internationally known company. Jones Knowles Ritchie was charged with rebranding Burger King and I have to say the results are fantastic. Everything from billboards to employee uniforms has a distinct and cohesive flair that, in my opinion, gives a nod to the design styling of the late 1970s.

From a strategic point, JKR in collaboration with Burger King set out together to bring to life what Burger King’s commitment is to the food, free from colors, preservatives, and flavors from artificial sources. They wanted to use design to help close the gap between the negative perceptions a lot of people have of fast food, and the positive reality of Burger King’s food story by making the brand feel less synthetic, artificial, cheap, and more real. To put it simply, JKR makes the Burger King Brand and the food even more crave-able.

The typography, illustrations, color pallet, copy-writing, all of it has a strong cohesive voice that differentiates itself from the competition. What will be interesting to see is if Burger King continues to use any of their past advertising that focused on the King and had at times an almost surreal approach in terms of content. In the past, Burger King has been known for off-the-wall campaigns like Subservient Chicken. This is light-years away from that approach.

For Burger King’s first global rebrand in more than two decades, we set out to make the brand feel less synthetic and artificial, and more real, crave-able, and tasty. We were inspired by the brand’s original logo and how it has grown to have an iconic place in culture. The new logo pays homage to the brand’s heritage with a refined design that’s confident, simple, and fun.

JKR Global

Braun Audio Returns with the LE1 Reimagined by Precipice Design

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a huge fan of the industrial design work that Deiter rams did for Braun. His influence and the work he did for Braun can still be felt today on so many product lines by other companies like Apple. 

Braun has been absent from the audio world for more than two decades, but original stereo systems from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are still in demand. Not because they offer a superior audio experience, but because of the design and visual aesthetic they present.

The hottest Braun stereo collectible is probably the SK5 “Snow White’s Coffin” record player and radio. It is sublimely minimal in its execution with white powder-coated steel sandwiched between wooden side panels under a plexiglass case. The design was a radical departure for stereo gear when this was introduced in the 1950s. 

Snow White’s Coffin

One of my personal favorites from the Braun stereo family has always been the Braun Audio 1 from 1962. To me, it feels timeless. You can feel where it came from (the SK5) and understand the visual direction Rams was taking Braun over the next decade. 

1965 Braun Audio 1

In addition to the Audio 1, Braun introduced a set of minimalist speakers in 1959, the LE1. The LE1 is so simple in its design form. White rectangular slabs suspended on chrome tubular legs with a perforated black metal grill. The form is almost sculptural in quality and an even more radical departure from stereo systems of the day. You have to remember, in 1959 most stereo systems looked like a large wooden piece of furniture that would blend in with what was in your living room. The LE1 stands out. It’s meant to be seen as well as heard. 

The LE1 from 1959

The LE1 was the first electrostatic speaker available on the German market, the LE 1 provided a new housing for internal electronics produced by English engineering company Quad, then trading as Acoustical Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The LE 1’s electronics were based on the Quad ESL-57, producing a distinctively detailed sound that still stands up well against the standards of contemporary hi-fi systems today. At the time of its introduction, the speaker was technically and aesthetically ground-breaking. Within the Braun audio program of the late ‘50s, the LE 1 was intended to accompany the first Braun component Hi-Fi system, the Braun Studio 2. 

The 2019 LE01 Series

For the first time in 28 years, Braun is back in the audio business. Well sort of. Braun Audio is returning with a reinvention of the aforementioned LE speakers from 1959. A perfect reintroduction to the heritage of Braun Audio, the new LE Series focuses on the purity of design, purity of performance and the purity of sound Braun was known for in the past.

These beautifully minimalist speakers have been re-imagined by Precipice Design. The London-based design company developed all consumer and trade touchpoints including brand and product narratives, packaging, photography, iconography, digital assets (website, and mobile app), video content, and point of sale concepts, print catalogs, and advertising, helping to re-establish Braun in the premium audio sector.

When you look at the complete set of design materials that Precipice created for Braun you are immediately aware of the heritage of vintage Braun while positioning them squarely in the modern market place. The imagery that is used across all touchpoints echoes the minimalist aesthetic that Braun became known for, not simply in the products they produced but in the owner’s manuals, advertising, and packaging that was produced during their heyday.

As I looked at the new website that Precipice produced I was struck by how it so closely mirrored many of the Braun printed items I’ve seen from the 1960s an70s. The minimal color pallet, sparse layout, concise messaging. The same look and feel are carried over to the mobile app, and on to the packaging. With the packaging focusing on the purity of sound while focusing on the brand’s heritage. Only key information about the product shown on the packaging. The uncomplicated packaging is typical of Braun and reflects the aesthetics of the classic speaker through dark tones and a graphic of the speaker itself.

The speakers themselves are an homage to the original LE1 updated to reflect today’s taste and improved technologies. Where the original 1959 speaker would probably prove to be too large in today’s home environment, Precipice’s vision shows how the LE1 can be reimagined to fit more discreetly into one’s home.

The new speaker brings the same vision Ram’s had in 1959. A minimalist slab in white with a black grill floating above a chrome stand. The speaker is angled slightly backward, and the controls are almost invisible. Precipice also introduces a solid black version of the speaker and two additional sizes, all of which use the same visual language. 

Floor stands have been designed as well, but I have to say I don’t think they work as well. They seem rather chunky except where they have been extended and used with the smallest of the speakers.

There is no word on availability yet. I’m betting these will be available this fall for the Christmas shopping season. The product was introduced around the first of September this year so you would think they would be ready for sale by mid-November at the latest. Pricing will range from $1200.00 for the largest of the 3 down to $380.00 for the smallest.

I don’t need these, but I wouldn’t mind having them. Full information and specs are available on the Braun Audio website.