Formerly named a non-standard combination of things like “Red Threads”, “ReLoved”, “Red Cent”, or just “Australian Red Cross Shops”, the newly standardized Red Cross Shops are a network of 180 retail locations that sell recycled and new clothing — as well as books, accessories, furnishings, and pretty much everything — with the proceeds helping support the work of the Australian Red Cross. (They would be the equivalent, sans Red Cross connection, of the U.S.’s Goodwill and Salvation Army stores). The new identity that help the shops stand out in the op shop/vintage category has been designed by Victoria-based Grosz Co.Lab and Jake Smallman.
The new brand uses bold colour to achieve cut-through, with a simple visual system based on using an asterisk to link two key messages. Message A is short, sharp and to the point, often a straight forward retail message. Message B reveals that there’s more than one side to the story. It can be used to add depth, connect messages and add a touch of humour.
By seamlessly linking what someone’s buying to where the funds go, it gives them a sense of contribution and invites further discussion about various projects happening locally and internationally. The system also allows Red Cross Shops to provide selfish and selfless reasons for people to get involved. The system can be used by anyone, hence a hand drawn typeface being created for message B, while on items such as the pavement A frames, staff can customise with hand written messaging as required.
The new logo is as straightforward as it gets while providing just enough aesthetics through the choice of a condensed sans (which we don’t see that often anymore) and the double-rule approach. By not taking the spotlight, the logo allows the messaging to be the main attraction of the identity and letting it establish the value proposition of the shops that is charmingly self-serving and direct, i.e. someone might want to volunteer at the shops out of the kindness of their heart, but they also happen to get first pick. It’s a kind of benevolent duplicity that helps the shops establish an attitude. The combination of the condensed sans and the simple hand-drawn typeface work well together especially with the colorful palette they have developed.
In application, the best part about it, is the color. It really helps reverse the drab effect of most vintage stores into something a little peppier. The continued messaging everywhere from hang tags to price displays means people will not forget what their money and thrift clothing selections are helping. I also like the introduction of the distressed-looking heart thing as a supporting element. Overall, a nice way to bring to life the mission of the shops and keep the hipsters coming in to buy their grandpa suspenders and stuff.