A Family Affair

My family from my mother’s side has acquired farmland by way of cattle trading, an activity my great-grandfather pursued over a century ago with a good degree of success. Fast-forward to today my mother’s farm “Canestrello” is celebrating its 100 years anniversary, which is a milestone we wanted to celebrate with something special considering the fact no one of us will be present the next time the century turns over.

Canestrello and its surrounding areas have been known for their durum wheat (the bread and pasta making cereal to be clear) for centuries, this tradition has been maintained through our family’s history and is a source of pride to the present day.

The idea was simple and ambitious at the same time, turning a portion of our durum wheat into pasta to celebrate this beautiful crop which has defined or family and Italy too as pasta and pizza conquered the world. At face value this proposition seemed quite reasonable, that is if you don’t consider that given the type of product a “limited” production would require four metric tons of raw material to be transformed into roughly two metric tons of high-quality “artisanal” pasta. Some kind of family project, definitely up there with a kitchen remodel.

On my end I would contribute marketing, branding, and communications, which are my areas of competence, by building the brand from the ground up starting only with a name and a geographic location.

The project began with a qualitative and quantitative market survey that I developed with Survey Monkey. The objective was to investigate attitudes towards “artisanal” pasta—a small batch gourmet version of the product we are used to consume in its industrial form via commercial brands such as Barilla, De Cecco, or whatever your supermarket caries—as well as the types of shapes people favored in what I referred to as the Hit Parade of pasta. A mailing list was generated via Mail Chimp within our family and friends to create a pool of prospective customers, contact was made, the questionnaires disseminated, and soon enough we had a snapshot of what roughly 250 people thought about our idea. Not only the survey gave us an understanding of the attitudes regarding “artisanal” pasta, but it also informed our decision of what types of pasta (remember we are producing two tons of the stuff) and in which quantities we were going to produce it.

My sisters tackled all productions aspects, stuff like moving truckloads of wheat, finding the mill, and ultimately finding the pasta maker that would accept such a small order, since two tons in the pasta business is considered somewhat of a test production.

On my end I had to design the logo, develop a brand identity, including a package that had to be produced into two separate sizes, one for long and one for short pasta. As expected a Website to present the initiative had to be created together with some labels and a few other corporate identity materials

Project images

Moving forward we will simplify the packaging to control cost, likely we will move to a labeling system to go over the cellophane bag, eliminating the cardboard box altogether. Hopefully this solution is not only cost-effective but also more eco-friendly as well.

Packaging label only solution

The Canvas story

This project is the typical startup story, an idea around which a whole brand needed to be invented. The idea was looking to improve on the successful coffee retail chains, not just a lounge with free WiFi, but by adding an art gallery and performance space to turn the space in a multi-discipline gathering place that could feed all the senses.

The first item of the list was naming, a simple catchy name that would immediately create a link between coffee and art, quite a challenge given the complexity of the concept and the fact that gourmet coffee was already a congested segment. The first name we proposed was “SMART – Art so fresh it’s never seen a museum”. Like SWATCH but with the added value that SMART also made the conceptual tie with art from young (inexpensive) artist. Art that is freshly made, like a good coffee, not something you’d see hanging in a museum. This meant art accessible to everyone, not just to the affluent collectors, what a perfect name! SMART.

To our bewilderment the client didn’t feel the name captured the essence of their concept, so back to the drawing board, feeling your best idea had just succumbed.

After a taking a break and resetting our creative clock we developed CANVAS Café and Gallery, to identify the space as place were interests, passions, lives combined to create. The space were all of this was to happen had to be aptly called THE CANVAS, and it stuck. The name was chosen.

Being a “concept” much of the brand identity was developed fairly quickly and without the opportunity of further refinements, also everything was on a shoestring budget, which never helps.

The client tried to develop the concept into a franchise and sadly after several years of operations the project was wound down.

Through the years The Canvas became an anchor for neighborhood activities in the University district of San Francisco, with many loyal customers and hosting well attended art openings, music concerts, and poetry readings. I remember reading many posts from longtime clients that were bemoaning the loss of one of their favorite hangouts.

PROJECT GALLERY

Urband Eyewear – visualizing a new brand

When the company approached us with this project the brand was only in the imagination of its founders.

Our objective was to articulate the powerful story that was behind this eclectic and innovative brand.

After seeing their first eyewear collection and after having several conversations with the founders we were able to develop a creative concept and visuals that captured the brand’s essence.

Urband Eyewear sizzlepiece

 

In-store window display

 

 

Los angeles city college district

Over the past seventy-seven years LACCD served as educator to more than three million students. Affordable, accessible and practical, the LACCD offers opportunity to all.

Our rebranding initiative intended to showcase the district’s new direction towards sustainability and innovation.

Our doors are wide open for a diverse student population eager for skills, knowledge and upward mobility.

LACCD educates almost three times as many Latino students and nearly four times as many African-American students as all of the University of California campuses combined. Eighty percent of LACCD students are from under-served populations.

Ethos Factory has helped develop several aspects of the new brand identity and communications. Here are some categories of the work we produced:

Corporate Identity

Logos; Naming; Corporate Identity Study.

Corporate Communications

Resource Recovery Initiative; Websites; Technical manuals; Digital slide shows; Merchandising.

Retail graphics

Window displays; Building graphics; Store design.

Project’s Gallery

Creative Strategy Presentation

KISS KISS RADIO All the colors of music

The project came to be by way of a Milan agency that was looking for proposals for the rebranding of an Italian radio station popular for their pop music appeal.

Conceptually I wanted to highlight the eclectic appeal of the station, so the logo tagline for the presentation was as follows: Radio KissKiss, tutti i colori della musica. Which in Italian means: Radio KissKiss, all the colors of music. Which to me created a strong visual connection between sight and sound, given that a radio is not a visual medium.

The idea was to invert the second “Kiss” making it a mirror reading, opening the possibility of making the brand legible from different viewing angles. In doing so I was thinking of how the logo would work on stickers, an item very popular when merchandising for teenagers at sponsored events.

To present the concept I worked with the team to put together a small music video, we were dealing with music after all. The clip is made using stock footage we had, adding several elements in After Effects to complete the piece.

A bright face for a dental office

Bright_dental_original_logo


Bright Dental is a network of dental offices in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The objective was to rebrand the group bringing all the individual offices under a common visual standard, integrating and standardizing several patient forms and communications to simplify management and operations.

Ethos Factory has developed several aspects of the new brand identity, here are some categories of the work we produced:

Corporate Identity
Logo; Stationery; Patient forms

Corporate communications
Promotional materials

Retail graphics
In-office signage; Posters

 

Gianni Bulgari’s Enigma Watches

An innovative luxury brand, the brainchild of legendary Italian jeweler Gianni Bulgari, Enigma represents today a rare example of Maison D’Art of genuinely despotic nature, in the tradition of extraordinary brands of the past which today appear transfigured as modern corporations.

At Enigma, Mr. Bulgari’s involvement is total and dictates the development of each component, whether it’s a watch case or a store display, to his exacting standards.

It has been my privilege to help Mr. Bulgari develop several aspects of the new brand identity.

Corporate Identity

Logo refinements; Sales materials; Product manuals; Identity and advertising guidelines manuals.

Advertising

International Advertising strategy; Campaign development; Product photography.

Retail graphics

Window displays; Packaging; Retail graphics.

 

Bioimmunizer – Dietary Supplements

This identity study is for a Swiss-based dietary supplements company. During the development phase we narrowed the viable marks to three distinct marks, as it often happens the client choice didn’t coincide with our preference however here are both solutions. See which one is your favorite.

Briefing: To develop an identity that would convey the company’s scientific approach and solid research, also setting it apart from other competitors in the supplements segment which are often less sophisticated in their branding approach.

Objective: To create an identity that would be perceived as trustworthy as a pharmaceutical product from and established brand.

Creative line: Beaker

Creative line: Elements

This logo has such a wonderful potential when it comes to animation that I thought it would be fun to see it animated as a .GIF

Bioimmunizer_logo_animation4