Masters is a new home improvement big-box store being launched by Australia’s leading supermarket chain, Woolworths in collaboration with the American chain Lowe’s. It will open with 150 stores kicking in at 13,500 square feet each. Interestingly, the category killer for home improvement in Australia, Bunnings, which Masters seeks to challenge, is owned by Woolworth’s rival and close second place in the supermarket space, Coles. So the competition couldn’t be more intereting. To create the new name and identity, Woolworths turned to Sydney-based Hulsbosch, who also designed the branding for Woolworths in 2008 (reviewed here on Brand New).
Hulsbosch created the name MAsters not only because it stands out from the rest, is instantly recognizable, timeless and has the association with master builders and master painters etc. The name Masters means trust, skilled, professional, excel, guidance and being an artist. The associated icon is strong and simple — a stylised ‘M’ and comes from a shape of a modern tool, a drill bit.
— Hulsbosch Case Study
It’s a great opportunity, all too rare for a design firm, to be able to start with naming, and move on to identity design. Often a great name can make everything that follows, beginning with the design of the identity, fall into place just that tiny bit easier. Well sometimes.
From the studio that created the gradient-tastic, apple-like “W” for Woolworths comes an, apparently, drill-like “M” for Masters — also featuring gradients. According to Hans Hulsbosch, the inspiration for the logo mark was indeed the profile of a drill bit that looked quite ‘M’-like. It’s also a little sail-like, a little Sydney Opera House-like. But no matter what you think it looks like, or how eloquently you explain it, one thing is for certain, it’s not great.
Partnered with a customized version of Verdana — yes you heard right, Verdana — the outcome certainly doesn’t look rugged or scream “home improvement” (first Ikea and now this? What are you doing Verdana?!). Actually, I don’t know what it looks like at all, really. Maybe Hans Hulsbosch himself can explain it better than me: