Jul 03 2014

Best Practice: 10 Small Businesses with Powerful Brand Designs

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As a small business, it can be difficult to devote the amount of funds needed to hire a designer who can create a stand out brand for your business. Yet, having a powerful and impressive brand look is arguably THE most important element of a small business, next to customer service and smooth operations, that is. When most small businesses use unoriginal fonts, a boring logo, unimpressive color scheme, a common WordPress website layout, and stock images, the one small business that chooses the unique route is that one that will get noticed, and more importantly, be remembered long after the initial encounter.

No matter if you are a small business owner or a designer looking for brand examples, the following is sure to provide you with the inspiration you need. Below are 10 small businesses with very powerful brand designs. If you are a small business in the search for a brand identity designer, then you may want to consider contacting one of the talented designers or agencies in this list. If you are a designer, use these examples to inspire your originality, creativity, and beauty in clients’ identity projects to help build a name for yourself as these designers have done.

Honeysuckle Oyster Farm by Bluerock Design

Located on Katama Bay in Martha’s Vineyard, the Honeysuckle Oyster Farm is a small, sustainable oyster farm owned by Nic Turner. Bluerock Design did what many design agencies don’t seem to have time to do: the designers themselves visited the farm and spent time with Turner on the water to hear his vision and see his operations in real life action. The results are amazing. The blue and grey color scheme remind one of the colors of the sky and water on the ocean. The rounded logo with an oyster graphic in place of the letter “O” bring to mind images of buckets of seashells, toes in the sand, and a strong fishy odor that lingers long after a visit to the beach. The bold and straightforward font indicate strength and stability, trust, and distinction. The entire brand brings together this vision of a farm committed to excellence in its practices. Bluerock Design certainly succeeded in designing a memorable and stand-out brand for this small business.

Mexout by Bravo Company

As an anti-establishment fresh-mex eatery, Mexout needed something a bit less traditional for its identity and interior design. So Bravo Company created a look indicative of a young expert in food, eccentric and living in his parents’ basement. The cement walls, painted floors, wooden tables, bar stools, and even worn leather couch certainly give the place a basement look but in a fresh, modern style. Instead of creating one logo, Bravo Company designed 20 logos for Mexout to rotate on different print-outs and other branded items, but all have the same sketched look and feel so as to be easily identified. None of the graphics were created using a computer. The eatery even has a wall dedicated to tracking down the freshest ingredients and suppliers.

Roots & Bulbs by Robot Food

As London’s first cold-pressed juice bar, Roots & Bulbs requested a stand-out brand tone from Robot Food. The project included branding, printed materials, packaging, signage, and in-store advertising. Sarah Cadji, the Director at Roots & Bulbs, described the outcome as a blending of “minimalism with natural materials and contemporary graphic elements for exactly the confident, uncontrived feel we were hoping for.” With a naming design inspired by the periodic table and transparent bottles, the brand allows the wholesome, artisanal, nutritious juice products speak for themselves.

Treadwell by Perky Bros

Treadwell approached Perky Bros to create its entire brand identity: naming, logo design, website, and more. As a flooring company that specializes in building practical floors that last, Treadwell wanted a brand that is about “standing upright. Walking the walk” and helping its clients feel confident in the choice they made for a flooring product and service. Dark, bold colors and a geometric logo that includes a line sketch of a buffalo gives the brand a strong, confident look and feel. Perky Bros did an excellent job of keeping each design element clean and minimalist, making this brand very modern and stand-out.

Aviso Law Office by Holy Sheep

A small law firm hired Holy Sheep to complete their full branding design, from naming all the way to web design. Holy Sheep chose the name Aviso for the firm, a word that means information; advice or it can also refer to a small dispatch boat made to carry out orders. In the font, the letters “A” and “V” are crossed at the line intersections and enclosed in a circle for a simpler logo symbol. The entire design is very simple yet elegant, stunning, and classy. With a simple color scheme of black, red, and white – colors that indicate strength, security, stability, and energy – the brand stands out from other law firms. The website design uses a video background and easy-to-navigate single page design that includes a sophisticated photograph of the firm partners. The beautiful, refined simplicity of the entire brand stands out far above its competitors with their stock photo website designs.

Live Beautifully by Insania Evidens

This small workshop and online store needed a brand look that would help it stand out both on and offline. Insania Evidens designed a brand look and website that gave the store the look and feel of an antique gift shop. An elegant font, old crates, insignia seal logo design, and the simple white and black color scheme helps to keep consumers focused on the products for sale but also give them confidence in the authenticity of the store.

Sumber Waras by Nero Graphic

As a shop for traditional Chinese medicine, Sumber Waras provides drugs created from herbs found in China. The shop needed a brand identity that portrayed their heritage as well as presented them as a modern business in Indonesia. Nero Graphic used the time stamp of the Ming dynasty for inspiration. The Ginseng in the logo design portrays health, strength, and stamina; and the silhouette seems indicitave of a human-like figure or a free-flowing spirit.

Desce Mais Uma by Isabela Rodriques

In Brazil, locals use the term “desce mais uma” for “one more beer,” which is quite the appropriate name for a beer delivery service. The look created by Isabela Rodriques Sweety Branding Studio was very modern with earthy colors of brown, tan, green, and blue. The logo is similar in style to many popular beer brands with a circular design and ribbon banner.

Suzi Zutic by Maurizio Pagnozzi

A jeweller and gemmologist in Melbourne, Suzi Zutic handcrafts original jewels from precious metals and rare gemstones. Maurizio Pagnozzi designed her logo, packaging materials, and stationery to reflect her elegant, unique craftsmanship. The black and white color palette portrays luxury, and the intertwined initials in her logo are reminiscent of jewelry design.

Notio Olive Oil by The Comeback Studio

This line of olive oil by Notio Goods is produced on an estate in Greece, in the village of Agios Floros. The Comeback Studio created the design to reflect the Greek, south-european roots of the company. Based on the idea that outsiders often see European south a bit differently and, therefore, out of order, the text doesn’t quite seem to line up properly at first glance. A closer look reveals that the letters arranged around an axis in perfect, albeit somewhat different, order.

About the Author

Tara Hornor loves writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and photography. She is a Senior Editor for Creative Content Experts, a copywriting company that she owns with her husband. Connect with @TaraHornor for more design inspiration and marketing help.

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Comments and Discussions
  • La Casita Del Cuco, 04 July 2014

    Very inspiring article. I have a motto in my very own work and that is “You do not have to be big to be great”. Found very nice designs and ideas of brands who realised this concept far more better then I do. Found my inspiration and energy after reading this article, to realise my dreams in my work.

  • Bobby, 09 July 2014

    What does a typical “logo design” artist charge for a budget-conscious sort of project?

    • Dieter Petereit, 11 July 2014

      I don’t know of any “typical” logo designer. The charge of a serious logo designer will be according to the project’s guidelines. Whether a project is “budget conscious” is not an aspect I would consider relevant. If you want to eat a steak, pay for it. If you can’t, don’t eat it.

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