Tag Archives: branding

brand upgrade

Following up on my previous post I feel obligated to mention the new Victoria Secret Flagship UK Store on New Bond Street around the corner, which just recently opened up. This strip, which is known for luxury retail, has now been conquered by a “masstige” retailer. Certainly this must be seen as their high-end version to justify this location. The upgrade is done with a chic facade all in black, showcasing theatrical window displays introducing a nightclub/cabaret theme that features the infamous angel models in stage light settings.

To encourage  full accessibility and break down any possible barriers of customer hold back towards expensive looking environments the proven formula of wide open doors leading into a dark mysterious space pumping with music, as seen in their sister brands such as Abercrombie&Fitch or  Hollister,  is also applied here. The customer sees the most glamorous part of the store from the entrance, the fragrance area, boosting crystal glass, mirrors and lots of reflections in the dark.  A grand oversized video wall of beautiful girls literally pulls anyone in, who cannot resist to the sexual undertone of this palace of senses. The cabaret theme carries throughout the store in variations, its darkness allowing to remain unrecognized while giving way to intriguing illusions of perfect beauty and sexual retail fantasies.

Retail theater at its best.

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Victoria Secret London

Victoria Secret london -video wall

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Brand awareness

Not new but still remarkable: Abercrombie has it figured out as people flock to their store in Savile row, London, that has no sign or logo on the exterior. – A proof of powerful brand awareness that plays on the trend awareness of customers, who are made feel special because they are in the know. Thus creating a strong emotional connection with the brand before they even engage with the store.

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winter feel

I came across a beautiful store design concept the other day that I would like to mention here as a good example of a branded environment:

Salzburg Sportalm Kitzbühel is one of Austria’s best-known winter clothing manufacturers. When looking to develop a new corporate design for all future Sportalm retail outlets the client wanted to keep the interiors very sober and ‘reduced’, with an emphasis on black and white, since the clothes are colourful and cover a range of different textures.

SPORTALM-Vera Subkus 01

For the firm’s new image, the architects Baar Baarenfels came up with an abstract impression of snow formations. The walls – homogeneously clad with white Avonite – seem to be all of one piece thanks to the undulating forms and seamless finishing. “Cuts” in the surface are reminiscent of breaks in snow covers.

The environments are fully distinguishable and the shop fit successfully creates emotional connection with winter landscapes and the lifestyle that goes with it, pointing to the brand’s core product line of winter sportswear.
Sportalm retail store (Photo: Vera Subkus)
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case study: branded design – the genetic code / part 1

The brand and “its body”

I often get asked how we develop retail design concepts for brands that need to retain their identity in multiple formats and locations. “What is your approach and process?” I’m asked.

The first part in the design process is finding the brand’s genetic code – the identity – so that we can build the design around it. Our task is to develop a “face” for a brand in the beauty and luxury industry. We then use the “face” of the brand to develop concepts for environments – concepts that can be translated into multiple retail formats, from small department store kiosks to full size retail stores.

Example: smashbox cosmetics was born in a photostudio. The esthetic of a studio set is the driving DNA behind the brand.Example: smashbox cosmetics was born in a photostudio. The esthetic of a studio set is the driving DNA behind the brand.

A brand’s DNA, the genetic code that created the brand, is what defines it and sets it apart. Often, this code has been altered or watered down over years of brand development. This comes naturally with management changes, brand extensions, and global expansion. If you dig hard you can usually trace the origins of the brand, which are the key elements that made it unique in its origin and eventually made it successful. To create an effective physical design to represent a brand, which can live independently of size and location, it must be close to that original DNA.

Think of it this way: the DNA code is in the brand, and the body is the physical retail space created by the brand’s code. The code is the smallest common building block that is embedded into any design expression. It becomes the common thread in all the design formulations to come.

The power of a brand is in its core message and we use it as the driving idea behind any aspect of the branded design.

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