Established in 2019 and launched this year, Judy is a collection of “ready-kits” with everything you might need for natural disasters and home emergencies. (The irony of the timing of this product coming to market and publishing it on Brand New is not lost on me.) Built around the figure that over 60% of Americans have no emergency plan, the company’s goal is making preparation a household essential. Available in four different options — a crate, a big bag, a not so big bag, and a fanny pack — the kits’ contents include everything from glow sticks to ponchos to flashlights to hand crank radios to waterproof matches and then some. Kits are customized by zip code in relation to the dangers of each place so I would get items for floods and snowstorms in Bloomington while someone in San Francisco would get items for earthquakes and high cost of living. (Sorry.) The identity for Judy has been designed by Brooklyn, NY-based Red Antler.
We worked with [them] to build Judy from the ground up, creating a brand that could bring a sense of optimism and guidance to an otherwise overwhelming topic. Our brand system, from the name and illustration style to the iconography and organizational design, works to transform emergency preparation from an intimidating task to a point of pride and reassurance.
With an unexpected name — in the sense that I might name a cat or a dog Judy (and even that seems a stretch) but would have never thought of giving it to an emergency kit brand — the logo does a great job in presenting it very matter-of-fact-ly and its boldness gives the name a strong sense of security. It’s an odd combination of uppercase characters but they work very well together, especially with the “D” and “Y” overlapping so conveniently to create tight counterspaces throughout the logo.
The monogram with the arrow, used as social media avatars, feels very forced and I’m not sure about the relevance of an arrow in this case and it’s a visual cue that doesn’t happen again anywhere on the identity or online presence.
The visual language includes the use of Sharp Grotesk and some illustrations in the faceless, mono thickness approach but with a couple of nice touches in the pattern for shading and bursts of orange. With a color palette of black, orange, and a light tan, all the elements make for a nice combination that brings urgency to the messaging.
The products themselves are pretty bad-ass, even the fanny pack below, and the black logo looks absolutely great on the vibrant emergency orange materials. I love how there is no other graphic or text on the products, just “JUDY”.
The identity extends to the boxes for The Safe and some of the individual packaging for the contents. The simple use of orange and Sharp Grotesk keeps things clear and boldly labeled so that you know exactly what everything is. Also, I take back the comment that the “J-arrow” monogram doesn’t appear anywhere as it makes an appearance in the lid of the boxes — not bad, not bad.
Overall, this is both literally and metaphorically a very strong identity that fits the product very well and, for better or worse, it also has a lifestyle and Instagram-able aesthetic that makes the product compelling not just for its utility but for its visual appeal and the company makes it a point to celebrate its influencers. In a way, I wish they had a parallel business that would sell the same stuff but without the branding at half the cost to make the kits more accessible for more people.
Thanks to Ritesh Gupta for the tip.