Back in spring of 2012 when we announced the then Altadena Urban Farmers Market as the MAKE YOUR MARK winner, we had no idea what the branding journey for such an innovative non-profit organization was going to be like. Juggling the needs of the Time Bank members with the inherent values of the existing farmers market and the vision for things to come in the future was no small task, and the core team of what is now known as the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Marketplace did a mighty fine job navigating its way through the process. Of course, members of the team had the expert Sarah McGowan of MAC+COB to keep their eyes of the prize as she worked tirelessly with them to develope their brand strategy. By the time the branding brief landed on the desk of yours truly, it was crystal clear where the organization was headed. No longer is it just a farmers market (though, to be honest, it was never “just” a farmers market!). The new and improved Marketplace is just that — a place of innovative commerce, a place of gathering, a place to test, experiment, play and grow as a community.
Round 1: Initial Concepts
To communicate the idea of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Marketplace — which is the coming together of community in both physical place and concept — we initially looked to the past (read: simpler times) for inspiration: storefront awnings, signage and picnic/shopping baskets.
Round 2: Alternate Variations
We liked how a traditional store sign implied a concrete, physical space but wanted to communicate the fact that the Marketplace is more than just a place. It is about innovation, about thinking outside the box.
Round 3: Revisions
THEN we thought, why not play on the idea of the box and make it look like a CSA (community supported agriculture) produce box? Plus, we didn’t like how the generic box graphic conjured up ideas of packing up, moving and being either transitory or in transition. As you can see, the “thought bubble” idea continued to be a strong contending concept.
Round 4: Color Exploration
We returned to the basket idea (revising the icon a bit to make it look more like a shopping basket) and decided upon the “thought bubble” design which looked uniquely recognizable as a branding element and more contemporary. The Marketplace has certain values that harken to the days of yore, but its passion is to innovate and move forward. As Justin Bilow of the core brand exploration said:
… the ASNM is meant to coordinate among the sundry and unique marketplaces under a common theme. This is [well] represented in [the] design … It’s symmetrical centered, and its borders point to four different directions, which can abstractly represent the different neighborhood-level marketplaces.
For the final step, we wanted to add some additional vitality to the logo with bold, meaningful color:
- Green: renewal, harmony and connection to the earth
- Orange: activity/vitality, socialization and appetite
- Brown: wholesomeness, stability and connection to the earth
We Have a Winner!
In the end, we chose brown as much for its significance as its visual impact.
We are super stoked at what we came up with and can’t wait to move on to producing collateral to promote the new and improved Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Marketplace!