Established in 1989 in a single storefront on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles, CA, with a bread yeast “starter” recipe by pastry chef Nancy Silverton, La Brea Bakery is now one of the leading producers in the U.S. of “partially baked artisan breads supplied to restaurants and food stores throughout the world,” and it maintains two thriving cafes. With their 25-year anniversary in 2014, La Brea Bakery introduced a new identity designed by Seattle, WA-based Hornall Anderson.
Created by an employee, the [previous] logo had a great story, but its folk art charm seemed more whimsical than artisan. Upon asking our client for the permission to explore this, they said that they were open to it, but to understand the “B” is their baby. In terms of the packaging look and feel itself, it certainly was wearing the look from 1989. The mauve-burgundy colors and pin striping that stood for quality seemed more like the brand was celebrating the decade in which they were founded. An opportunity we recognized from the get go.
Our solution for the identity came from the inspiration, of what is in the heart or at the center of what the people of La Brea bakery stand for: the passion and love for great bread! This discovery created a simple, iconic and memorable solution. A lower case “b”, which is what most people see at first. Then it happens, the loaf of bread is discovered in the center of the “b” and a smile appears on peoples’ faces. They have just discovered the heart of the company.
The old logo, no matter how near and dear to the bakery’s heart was, was as terrible as they come. Wobbly strips of raw dough as a logo? No, thank you. Colors and typography were just drab. It’s funny the things clients hold on to without realizing it’s doing more harm than good, so it’s a good thing they were open to the idea of a new logo. When I first saw the logo I thought, “Eeewww, a hairy ‘b’, why?” But then the loaf of bread came into focus and it gave me a chuckle. It’s not FedEx-arrow-level cleverness or simplicity, but it’s a nice visual play, executed well. The use of a serif is also very welcome and a nice respite from sanseses. The supporting typography in the logo is not very entertaining or that interesting but, as far as evolutions, this yeast rises to the top.
With the packaging, we needed the brand to stand out, shout and to be bold, proud and premium. With that, we were inspired by the nostalgic heritage of bread and bakeries. We needed the brand identity to become a premium badge on the package, so we designed it to always be at the top of the package, like a masthead. The angled patterned type is�functional to help define the product offering, as well as a way of commanding attention on a crowded shelf. With color we went louder. A warm bright red replaced the burgundy as well as a complimentary brown anchor color. Kraft paper was also chosen as the best substrate.
In application, the serifed logo provides a pleasant contrast against the angled type patterns and I really like the composition with the logo at the top, then a strip of type, then a chocolatey bottom. The secondary wrappers have another pattern treatment — a kind we see over and over with food-related identities — which is fine and it always works well, so no surprises there. Overall, a solid redesign that undoubtedly brings this bakery’s product and brand up to par with other nationally-distributed, artisanal-billed offerings.