Established in 2001, Natural da Terra is a small chain of grocery stores in São Paulo, Brazil, with a focus on fresh produce. In 2015, the company and its eight stores were acquired by Hortifruti, a larger chain of grocery stores with 30 locations across Brazil. With intentions to expand, Natural da Terra recently introduced a new identity and concept store designed by Futurebrand.
Natural da Terra had been bought by its main competitor — Hortifruti. Aware that they should not have two different brands, FutureBrand’s first challenge was to recommend which of them should be the brand of the group in São Paulo. With the chosen brand in hands, it was necessary to evolve its positioning, integrating the values of both operations. The new positioning inspired a new identity as well as a new shopping experience — from products offer to the store’s environment, from different services to a new visual communication.
The new positioning seeks to connect the city’s consumer with the nature, bringing the countryside to the stores. An experience that combines the freshness and quality of the food coming from the producer with the comfort and convenience of the urban life. The new visual identity highlights the colours, textures and materials of nature itself. The icon and logo reinforce the idea that everything comes straight from the earth. Furniture and coatings were created from scratch. The storytelling helps people to understand the varieties and usability of each product, for example, by explaining which tomato works best for sauce and which one is most suitable for salad.
It might be unfair to be too harsh on the old logo as it clearly doesn’t stand a chance to scrutiny unless, among other less than stellar design decisions, extra-loosely-letterpsaced Zapfino matches your high standards. The main issue with the old logo was that it didn’t communicate quality or a sense that going to Natural da Terra was somehow a better experience than going to another grocery store. The new logo adds a layer of corporate-ness to the chain that makes it look less like a small farm stand as the old logo did. The logo is not the most exciting but it has enough going in its favor. I like the idea that the thick line represents the ground and there is a charming sprout emerging from it. The wordmark is made a little more interesting with the distinct “R”s. A small gripe is that the “A” in “TERRA” sticks out just a tad more than it should from the edge of the line — it’s appropriate that it’s not hard-aligned to visually balance it, but they went maybe 1% too far right.
The logo can shrink to an “N” monogram with the line and the sprout and it works particularly well in application as a shorthand and quick identifier. In application, the identity introduces a secondary typeface that, unfortunately, ruins the earthiness of the logo. The font feels cold and robotic and lacks contrast in both style and weight in relationship to the logo… like it’s almost the same font but not but yes but maybe. They also repeat the thick line but 20 times heavier and, again, it creates a weird editorial/corporate aesthetic that might be better suited for an insurance company.
FutureBrand created and implemented the pilot project of the new store, from the environment’s design layout to the communication messages with the consumer. The new store is the base for a major expansion planned for the future of the brand, establishing a new standard of buying experience and in-store customer relationship. The launch of the brand was made within this new ecosystem, amplifying the immersion in the new identity and positioning.
The interiors of the concept store are a great improvement over the old, mainly in the furniture design and the overall white-and-brown-ness of the signage, which provide a nice color contrast and backdrop to all the food. The font, again, feels very out of place. If all the signage had been done in the same font as the logo — with its squat crossbars and more organic warmth — it would have been quite great. Overall, the change is unquestionably an improvement and it provides the chain with a welcome maturity. Now we just need for that secondary font to reach its expiration date and replace it with something better.