Rebranding The Swiss Bakery as a case study was an excellent experience for learning about their history and business. There is a lot to unpack, so grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this analysis.
Focus on Research
- I have never been to Switzerland.
- I have never been to The Swiss Bakery.
- I have never spoken to the owners of The Swiss Bakery.
This project came about as a challenge from one of my design groups. Even though rebranding isn’t something I usually do, I thought, “sure, I’ll give it a go.”
The first thing I needed to do was research The Swiss Bakery. It is a well-known bakery in Virginia, US. Many people frequent the bakery often and share their experiences online. Google has over 600 user-submitted photos of the establishment. It was a great place to start for gathering images of the location, atmosphere, goods and services the bakery provides, and general shopping experience there.
There is a short bio on the bakery’s website about the founders, their beginnings, and their desire to share a little bit of Switzerland with the United States. Looking at their current logo, you can see all the plus icons representing the plus on the Switzerland flag. And they have also incorporated a bit of red from the flag.
Two of the main things I noticed about their store were 1) the giant pergola-like archways over each display case and 2) an enormous mural of the Swiss Alps on one of the walls. Considering this while brainstorming ideas for the rebrand would be a good idea.
Another thing I came across in my research was a type of design originating in the 1950s called the Swiss Style. It is a minimalist design style with a block layout, sans serif typefaces, and photographs. It is one of my favorite styles, and I knew I had to include this in the design, too.
Focus on Personality
I wanted to keep a single plus or cross in the design for the brandmark. As I looked at the Switzerland flag, I experimented with smoothing the corners in Illustrator. When I saw the star-like shape, it reminded me of the top of a loaf of bread as it breaks when baking. So naturally, I turned the square flag into an oval shape. And this is where I landed.
For the wordmark, I chose Neue Haus Grotesk as my base. I wanted to tie in the bread loaf design with the name, and I began tweaking some of the letter forms. I like how it created several places in the title where you can see the silhouette of the star shape of the brandmark.
The final part of the design brief was to develop social media banners. Thinking back on the mural of the Swiss Alps, I wanted something similar for the products they sell. As I was messing around in Photoshop, I realized that the top parts of bread, pastries, and muffins all resembled mountain tops. Keeping in mind the component of minimalism in Swiss-style design, I decided to leave well enough alone. The gradient maps I added to each one are experimental. These designs could work just as well without them.
Focus on Experience
This project is just a case study. Looking back at all the images on Google, I know there are many stories and great memories with each one. I would love to chat with the bakery owners to learn more about them and the customers that love their baked goods. Their experiences combined are the main ingredients to the success of this incredible place. And the next time I’m traveling through Virginia, you can be sure I will be stopping in to share in the connections. 😃🥖🍞
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