Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 16 October 2015
The Marshmallowist is an artisisanal marshmallow brand founded by Oonagh Simms, a pâtissier and chocolatier trained in Paris. She creates what are described as decadent and sophisticated flavour combinations, and sells these from her Portobello Market stall in London, at fashion events, festivals and shops internationally, including Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
Scottish graphic designer Veronica Lethorn, who is currently based in Melbourne, worked with Oonagh Simms to rebrand The Marshmallowist. This extended to positioning, with a focus on the premium market, and included logotype, customised typography, photography, packaging, print communication and business cards, with window illustration, art direction and product photography by Eve Warren. Together, these were designed to convey a fun and adventurous personality.
I am unusually split. Everything is there, and although not conventionally premium or sophisticated, it is thoroughly current, impactful and fun. This comes through well in the use of bright colour, geometric form, an evolution of Think Work Observe’s Futwora, large type, and G.F Smith’s Colorplan boards.
Contrast is used to good effect, with the geometric form and typography drawing out the organic texture of the marshmallows, as seen through a very small hexagonal die cut window. The hand drawn illustration set a creative and crafted tone, the colour palette introduce a youthful energy and are bright but not synthetic. The hexagon, as part of the packaging and frame for the logo, adds a subtle experimental quality, whilst avoiding any connection with chemicals or chemistry, and ties in with the cubes of marshmallow.
The logotype stands up well in its simplicity and small typographical quirks but broken up and locked into the hexagon appears awkward. Other brand assets include some rich still life photography work and art direction by Eve Warren and customised type that brings in small angles that tie it to the hexagon.
Although typesetting feels a little problematic in places, each asset is well-executed, and founded on a clear communicative intention. Craft, creativity, experimentation, modernity, youth and play are all effectively touched upon.
However, there are too many individual and fragmented components, rather than one unifying concept, not much focus on product and little in the way of uninterrupted space. This is particularly troubling as the brand is described as not being over-complicated in the press release. At times, or at least how it is documented here, it feels a touch chaotic.
Illustration moves between expressionistic brush strokes and fruit iconography, photography moves from rather plain product shots to rich still life and ink through water across the home page. Any of these alone could have worked as a key asset. Check out Robot Food’s work for Costèllo + Hellerstein and B&B Studio’s work for Jealous Sweets. Colour does go some way to making a connection between these but fewer assets, more space and a clearer view of product may have helped.