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Helvetimart by Anagrama, Mexico

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Logo, stationery and packaging by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

Helvetimart is a supermarket in the Swiss city of Lausanne. It offers a broad range of groceries and high-quality Swiss specialities sourced from across the country. The supermarket also holds daily tastings and workshops, has an informed staff and a tablet-based service the gives shoppers access to information on the Swiss cantons and their products. Drawing on regional flags and antique architecture, Mexican graphic design studio Anagrama developed a brand identity for Helvetimart that, through a strong favour for colour and form language, delivers significant impact for an independent store, draws a modern system from historic structure and touches upon the regionality of its products.

Logo, stationery and packaging by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

What it lacks in subtlety it makes up for in distinction and visual impact. As an independent retailer, visibility and memorability is often a desirable trait, and Anagrama certainly satisfies this. There are two clear components that make up identity. The colour combination and grids inspired by the flags and coats of arms of Switzerland’s 26 sovereign cantons, and the detail, structure and monochromatic qualities of pattern, inspired by the architectural flourishes of the past.

The way these work together, and their referential nature is a highlight, drawing a satisfying visual vernacular from some discernible communicative intentions. Not only do these address regionality and an element of craft, but, in their rendering and intersection, manage to draw a very modern expression from heritage references. The connection made between period architecture and its craftsmanship, and the speciality products and the experience necessary for their production is conceptually well-founded and aesthetically compelling. You certainly get a sense that there is an international audience being acknowledged by some of this.

With a staff happy to talk about products, access to Swiss canton information via tablets, and alongside workshops and tastings, the concept of brand identity is rooted in and continue through to shopping experience.

Brand identity system by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

Branding and packaging by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

As documented here, packaging appears more like mock-ups rather than practical structures, it is difficult to get a sense of context and the specificity of their everyday use, however, stickers and tags seem like a smart way to work in the canton references and ground them in the practical. These coloured blocks are also said to function as a way to group products and distinguish between categories in store.

Branding and packaging by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

Brand identity, logo and shopping bag by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

Logo by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

Much like the interplay of architectural forms and regional colour palettes, logo also works with modernity and heritage through geometric abstraction and serif flourish. The cornucopia icon is a curious but distinctive image. As a symbol of abundance, and in its mix of wine, meat and grapes, this feels well-suited to a speciality market with plenty of variety. The approach to rendering just about holds everything together, is reductive yet remains discernible for the most part, although slightly off balance in its lock-up. There is an effort to utilise negative space, however, this appears a touch haphazard.

Brand identity and folder by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

When mark and type are implemented as white ink across plain black boards, absent the bold statement of pattern, or when pattern is scaled down, identity begins to feel like it has a touch more range, the potential to dial down the loud, and function more in a conventional yet reassuring manner when it needs to. More work by Anagrama on BP&O.

Design: Anagrama. Opinion: Richard Baird.

Brand identity and business cards by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

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Brand identity and invitations by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

Brand identity by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

What do you think of Anagrama’s brand identity for Helvetimart? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or get the conversation started on Twitter.

Brand identity and envelopes by Anagrama for Lausanne-based independent food and speciality supermarket Helvetimart

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  • Arturo Aubry

    I find it sofisticated and very expressive, despite the black and white predominance. I love how the patterns are not just copies of the symbol (or parts of it) like in other identitites, but they actually have a meaning inside the overall aesthetic. In few words, bravo!

  • Shaughn McGurk

    I absolutely love this, but I’d like to see how this translates into the shopping experience – uniforms, interiors, signage, produce displays, windows.

    Having a lovely envelope is fine, but I don’t often get letters from my supermarket. My primary interaction with this brand would be when I walk in the store – so how does the branding work there? Monochrome interior to reflect the packaging or colourful to contrast against it? Would I be able to walk around an interior with such in-your-face graphics without getting a headache?

    The packaging seems like gift packaging rather than actual product packaging. If a box contains wares from multiple Cantons would it get plastered in flags?

    I’m intrigued and would like to see more.

    The laser cut slipcase for the store opening invitation is a delightful highlight.

    Cheers Richard and well done Anagrama for the continued quality of your output.