Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 7 December 2011
Roc Noir is a UK ’boutique’ retailer of high quality Ski equipment, that mixes knowledge, service and hand selected products for sport enthusiasts. Their identity, designed by London based brand and design consultancy 400, takes its cues from rock carved letter-forms and marries this with bold geometric forms to resolve and emphasise the personal service, quality and utilitarian nature of the brand.
“400 have been working with Roc Noir from the start, creating a full range of sophisticated brand materials from identity, literature and stationery to packaging and advertising. Drawing inspiration from stone-carved lettering and modern skiing iconography we crafted a bespoke, timeless marque that combined a heritage look and contemporary feel to capture the firm’s values and niche positioning.” – 400
The union of stark and geometric mountainous forms and loosely rendered typography really draw my attention to this identity project. There is a distinctive and almost high fashion sensibility to the logo-mark that immediately stands it apart from the frenetic and ‘cool’ identities that saturate this market. The static and solid construction of the container gives it a very durable aesthetic neatly reflecting the very foundation of the sport and, perhaps more pleasingly, the double diamond form has associations with advanced Skiing courses, a detail that really adds to the overall depth and quality of this piece. The loosely rendered characters of the logo-type softens the double diamond with an almost human quality creating a very strong, man vs nature analogy.
The stencilled aesthetic carries the usual utilitarian and functional undertones that neatly characterise the products and the straightforward informative nature of the service while also managing to reflect the forms of ski equipment in their subtle curves and cutting diagonals. The black and white photography, heavy white borders and accompanying sans serif all work together across the collaterals to reinforce the idea of fashion, functionality and high quality.