I’ve recently got back from a 70 day stint around the world visiting many countries. Along the way I couldn’t help but take pictures of a wide range of brands I saw and liked. I thought a blog featuring my favourites, and outlining why I think they work could be good inspiration for creative colleagues, designers and businesses seeking to create or update their brand (if you do wish to go through this process, of course please talk to us first!)
So here goes, my round the world trip of global brand inspiration – from packaging to signage, socials and more….
Brand: S.O.B & Nightjar Coffee
Nature of business: Coffee beans
Location seen: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Why I like it: I’m a sucker for bold, bright colours in branding where appropriate, but as anyone who has worked in design or branding will know, working out the exact colour combinations and use of them is still an art form for the professionals. I think these guys have done a stellar job of creating a really colourful, edgy and fun range which like any range should – look like they are part of the same family, but which are still distinctively different enough to be standalone products AND stand out in their own individual right.
Nature of business: Pool Bar & Lounge
Format: Pool Bar & Lounge brand and venue fit out
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I didn’t have to go far to find this one. It was a bar on the rooftop of the first hotel we stayed at in a hotel run by Pullman (part of Accor Group) – Pullman Downtown Dubai (there are two Pullman’s in Dubai if you would ever like to go check it out for yourself). The entire venue has Mexican cabana vibes – also colourful branding, and applied in a brand roll out in a fun and creative way. The hanging chair complete with branding for instance, is a great way to get customers to engage with the brand by lying in it, snapping a shot, and potentially sharing the brand globally for free (just as we did!) Colourful lips, alligators and other fun objects were strategically placed around the venue, instantly drawing you in, and then making you want to stay a while for a lie by the pool, a few drinks or some food. All in all, just a fun, colourful and creative brand that you get to interact with, so very well done.
Brand: Le Coq & Fils – The Poultry House
Nature of business: Restaurant specialising in poultry dishes
Location: Paris, France
Only in a big city can you afford to create a restaurant concept as specific as a restaurant dedicated to offering chicken dishes (coq) only. In many cities where the shop fronts have great street appeal and character from the get go is helpful for a brand to shine, but some still don’t take the time to do anything more than create a dodgy sign and throw it up. This venue on the other hand has chosen a cute cursive font, then had it created in an aluminium or silver finish metal affixed to the building. They’ve then combined it with a serif font in white directly on the building which has been painted in an admiral blue, which gives a sophisticated and classic finish which is still inviting enough to welcome guests from all walks of life.
Brand: Le Bistro
Nature of business: Bistro, cafe & bar
Location seen: Pont du Gard, France
This is a super simple, but to me, a super effective white on black, font based brand. Given the location of the bistro/bar and cafe near an ancient Roman aqueduct / bridge (pont), as you can see they have reduced the T in height and placed the Le on top, making it act as a veritable bridge pylon. This is a clever but appropriate way to communicate a simple brand name (which literally translates to ‘The Bistro) at a historic and iconic site. The various areas of the venue follow the same suit with ‘Le Bar’ also, ensuring total brand consistency in every placement around the venue which ever aspect of the venue a guest may frequent (the bar, the bistro or the cafe).
Nature of business: Florist
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
This flower shop enamoured me from the moment I passed it in the Haalemerstraat district of Amsterdam, and when I went past a second time I had to get my cousin Grace featured above to stop for a quick snap. With it’s products (various pot plants and flowers in full colour/bloom strategically placed at a variety of heights outside the store) being so colourful and visually pleasing, all that was needed for a brand here was a simple but somewhat feminine flourish displayed also as white on blank and voila, you have a nice looking brand.
I also think the name FleurMonde (literraly translating to FlowerWorld in French) does a great job of describing what they do whilst being a little exotic given the placement is in Amsterdam which is Dutch speaking (although many speak multiple languages including French and they enjoy an insane amount of tourists per year). This brand is an example of a font which has been created uniquely for the in terms of the flourishes at each end, which you can ask any good designer to do, or they may sometimes do as part of their creative process which ensures your brand really is unique as there is no font out there just the same as yours.
Brand name: Pattern
Nature of business: Hair care
Format seen: Packaging
Location: Boots Chemist, London
I don’t know about you but I sometimes feel like makeup, skincare and hair care becomes a bit vanilla, with everyone using pastels, and similar serif fonts. I love that this brand has been a bit bolder in their approach to branding with the use of a monochromatic brand palette combined with a gold yellow, and how well it all comes together in terms of merchandising. The use of closed, half open and open eyes also visually communicates the different packaging before you even get close. It has then been brought together cleverly in travel packs. In short, a packaging range that stand out on the shelves, work well as a standalone product, and equally well as a group of products, which is in my mind, mighty fine branding.
Nature of business: Specialty pork takeaway food
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Just like the poultry specific restaurant in France, in another busy city of world with plenty of tourists passing by annually, this eating venue also gets away with offering one variety of meat – in this case – pork! Whether you like pork on your fork or not, I think you’ll agree this is a super cute brand with ‘Oink’ being a cute diminutive name choice, and the hot pink shop front and brand roll out complete with its cute little pigs trotters, curly tail, and pink tee shirts worn by staff all working together in unison. You’ll see my husband looking wistfully in the window in the reflection of one of the shots. Shame we’d just eaten before going here so didn’t actually try their products!
Brand: Goat Coffee
Nature of business: Cafe
Format: Packaging and signage
Location: East Wittering, UK
Following on with our animal theme, we have Goat Coffee Co. established in 2021 and found in East Wittering on the south coast of the UK. I’m a Capricorn so a brand featuring a goat immediately caught my attention (our star sign is a sea goat), but I was particularly impressed with the clever brand roll out of this one, with customised signage dotted throughout the venue with everything from goats slipping on their bum to communicate a ‘slippery when wet’ sign to a goat with binoculars to disclose to customers that they have CCTV in operation. We suggest brand roll outs like this to clients often, but sadly many have already spent their funds on the set up of the business, the stock or the shop fit out and have no surplus for frivolities like this. But to me they may be the thing that get your customers coming in to your venue in the first place, and which get people talking and returning too. To me they will pay their costs in no time so are well worth doing. The use of the letters from the brand ‘GOAT’ in the window dressing is also clever and effective.
Format: Signage & Social Graphics
Location: Notting Hill, London, UK
Diptyque is actually a 60 year old brand and quite global as it turns out, but not one I was familiar with before stumbling on their store in Notting Hill. Turns out they are a French fragrance specialist carrying candles & perfumes, plus a selection of body care products & gifts. I was intrigued enough to go on their socials, and saw they continue their unconventional stacking of font layouts in a truly aesthetic way over there too. A distinctive and sophisticated looking brand, with over 1 million followers on their Instagram alone it transpires! See: https://www.instagram.com/diptyque/.
Brand: The Distillery
Location: Notting Hill, London, UK
Notting Hill really is a brand creative’s heaven with sophisticated and modern brands everywhere to be found. This bar and distillery also made the cut for me on the famous Portobello Road. Purveyors of gin, victuals (food or provisions) and lodgings, their brand has been utilised in a few different ways. White on classic canvas awnings, in gold metal on the building and in a bold/alcohol bottle label type way on the corner section of the building which certainly draws attention, whilst also clearly communicating their market offerings.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this ’round the world trip’ of global brand inspiration. Travelling is certainly good for providing a recharge on your creative inspiration, and even if you haven’t left your desk reading this, I hope you now feel like you’ve had a good shot of brand or design inspiration from around the world. Now back to your designing!