Brand Language

Ramen Shows Its True Flavors

For decades, ramen has been considered “cheap eats.” Dry ramen noodles with a flavor foil packet could be bought for less than 30 cents a box. Just add a cup of boiling water, steep, and eat. More than one college student has subsisted on instant ramen for months at a time. Ramen wasn’t featured on the menu of fancy Japanese restaurants. That’s no longer the case. Now Americans are being exposed to the delicate yet complex flavor of true ramen. Freshly made ramen noodles is served with a wide selection of broths, including pork, chicken, seafood, and beef, and served with artfully arranged toppings such as vegetables, mushroom, seaweed, meats, egg, and the like.

Trendy ramen bistros are popping up all over the U.S. One of the most notable upscale ramen houses is Afuri in Portland, Oregon. The sleekly modern restaurant, which seats 90 diners, features ramen as its main specialty, and is renown for its signature ramen dish made with a citrusy yuzu broth.

Portland-based Murmur Creative was commissioned to develop a sweeping design branding program for Afuri that combines the Japanese aesthetic with the Pacific Northwest’s inviting style.

Read More »

Packaging

Brew Your Mind


In Budapest two friends Bihari Akos and Himmel Oiver, both engineers, indulged their love of craft beer by setting out to make the country’s “craziest, freshest” artisan beer. Their creations led to going commercial in 2014, establishing the Brew Your Mind Brewery to introduce an inspired variety of craft beers, including some with aromatic tropical fruit flavors.

To position the unique originality of their beers and ales in the marketplace, they hired Budapest-based Classmate Studio to design the brand identity and packaging for Brew Your Mind. Classmate bypassed traditional beer packaging designs and created labels showing 3-D lines and optical illusions. Each beer type was given its own name – Yellow Haze, Peach Please, Evermind, Endless Waves, Bright Lies, Money Cannon — and its own abstract package design and signature colors. The impact was eye-catching, fun and contemporary. For the Brewery logo, they placed a line-drawn eyeball on a silhouette of an old-fashioned beer bottle cap with crimped edges, kind of like eyelashes. Online the logo appears to blink, altering from looking like a simple bottle cap to a winking eye. In a few short years, the sophisticated branding has helped to make Brew Your Mind the top craft beer brewery in Hungary.
Read More »

Quizzes

Quiz: Name That Brand

Some brand graphics are so familiar and entrenched in our memory that our brain often registers the name based solely on the logo’s shape and color. Our mind “fills in the blank,” even when the name is hidden from view. The color and shape of the logo are part of the brand’s identity. They often have as much equity and recognition value as the name itself. In certain circumstances when a company wants to signal major improvements in quality, product offerings or reputation, walking away from or tweaking old brand elements may not be a bad idea. But it shouldn’t be done casually.

See if you can guess these brand name from the shape and color of their logos. (See answers at end of article.)


Read More »

Typography

Trajan, the Fallback Movie Poster Font

Setting a film title in the font Trajan is a can’t-go-wrong choice.–cheaper than commissioning a titling face from scratch and not as mundane as picking Helvetica or Times Roman. Typewise, it is the equivalent of the “little black dress” that fashion magazines tell us should be in every woman’s closet for special social occasions. Whether the film titling is for a comedy, romance or thriller, Trajan is refreshingly appealing and appropriate.

A serif all-caps typeface designed in 1989 by Carol Twombly for Adobe, Trajan is based on the letterforms carved into the Trajan’s Column in Rome in AD113. The classical Roman letterforms actually predate the inscription on the Trajan’s Column, and first appeared in 43 BC, making it the world’s oldest typeface. Twombly’s crisp and faithful digitalization of Trajan has given it new life, and has become the ubiquitous font for the film industry. This video on Trajan was produced by Vox and designer/ typography blogger Yves Peters.

Pop Culture

USPS Releases Stamp by @Issue Design Director

On the 200th anniversary of the Flag Act of 1818, the U.S. Postal Service has released a first-class stamp designed by @Issue founder Kit Hinrichs.

The Flag Act of 1818 gave the country the basic design rules that dictate the look of the flag today– namely, 13 stripes representing the Original 13 Colonies and one star for each state in the Union. This 1818 Act superseded the Flag Act of 1794, which decreed that each state in the Union be represented on the flag with one stripe and one star. The folly of the 1794 design quickly became apparent when Kentucky and Vermont joined the Union and the stripes had to be made thinner and thinner and the stars smaller and more cramped. With more states slated to join the Union, it quickly became clear that the American flag would soon become a mess, with the number of stars and stripes changing so frequently that the public won’t recognize it as an official emblem, much less an iconic symbol of the U.S.

This stamp commemorating the Flag Act of 1818 displays 20 stars, the number of states in the Union in 1818. It is the second in a set of Forever flag stamps designed by Kit.