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153. Atlanta Bread Company Identity.

abc.jpgI haven’t written a logo critique in quite some time, as the guys over at Brand New do a great job handling those. But I couldn’t resist writing this one up.

The Atlanta Bread Company is launching a new identity – or more accurately – has been launching a new identity over the last few weeks. Gone will be the old American Typewriter logotype and black and gold fields of wheat, and in its place will be what corporate is calling, The Bread Man. (See below.) The somewhat ambiguous shapes are described on the back of a piece of collateral. (Also seen below.) “You aren’t just looking at a new logo. You’re seeing the heart and soul of Atlanta Bread personified by a few simple brushstrokes. So, please allow us to introduce you to the bread man. He’s part global traveler, part old-school baker, part next-door neighbor...” Though this is a somewhat corny introduction of a mark, it sure beats the usual marketing jargon that most often accompanies an identity redesign. At least they are trying to talk to their customers in a conversational manner, I’ll give them that.

Old logo: (Courtesy of Creative Commons license, photo by Dave Malkoff.)


New logo:


New logo introduction:


But getting back to the design... I certainly am no fan of their old logo. No love for the old color palette or the typeface. But they had a loyal following and my gut reaction to the new design is that it’s far too close to what everyone else is doing, especially in this category. The hand drawn (but not really) atlanta script combined with the strokes of the BREAD end up feeling too much like one of their main competitors, Panera Bread. (See comparison below.) And although I want to like the bread man, ‘he’ really resembles a few blobs of paint more than a baker holding a loaf of bread. Is the new look more contemporary? Yes. Is it more fitting for a restaurant? Yes. Will it stand out in the category and stand the test of time? Doubtful. It simply looks too much like every other quick-service lunch place. I do think the color palette (an olive green and chili red) is a vast improvement over the old and feels quite appropriate.



I understand how these things go. Designers seldom get to produce their vision in its entirety and it’s quite possible they wanted to render an identity that had more southern heritage, more authenticity and more unique characteristics. All of these things would have made the mark better. I can understand how someone could like this redesign (it’s not as bad as say, the recent Xerox catastrophe,) but I can’t help but feeling like the design team missed a perfect opportunity to do something great. Instead it’s ok, in fact, an upgrade from the old. But that’s never the goal of re-launching a national brand. It could have been so much more than ok. I'm still researching who exactly is responsible for the look, whether an inhouse team at Atlanta Bread or an outside agency or studio. More (hopefully a few in-store shots) as I find it.

Sample Packaging:



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References (4)

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    153. Atlanta Bread Company Identity. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    153. Atlanta Bread Company Identity. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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    153. Atlanta Bread Company Identity. - Graphicology Blog - Graphicology
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Reader Comments (6)

I have been wondering about this logo. I just don't get it and don't really like it much. Maybe another change will happen.
July 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Carpenter
Response from Brett Compton, VP, Creative Director at Brunner Inc (advertising agency representing Atlanta Bread Company)

Your opinion about the Atlanta Bread logo is undeniably insightful. As a fellow creative, I’m sure that you can commiserate to the fact that a logo is only really a portion of the story. The Nike logo is just a checkmark without the company story; the Apple logo is just a little white apple with a bite missing if not for 20 years of brilliant work from Chiat Day and a product that supports the story they’ve been telling.

Because the new brand campaign for Atlanta Bread has just been unveiled and all of the locations have not completed renovations, the frame of reference (fast, casual restaurant serving sandwiches) lends itself to a top-level comparison between Panera and Atlanta Bread. However, the brand stories are very different. Atlanta Bread embodies the bread man – a global traveler – and integrates cultural fusion to its brand experience. Panera focuses on the artisan nature of bread-making.

Once the cultural fusion concept has been fully integrated beyond the newly re-engineered menu to the entire Atlanta Bread experience at all of the locations, it will become synonymous with the logo and it will no longer be a simple comparison between fonts and colors.

Bottom line – the brief was never based on Panera’s go-to-market strategy.
August 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrett Compton
Brett, Thanks for the comment.

How a brand is implemented – and maybe more importantly, how it's supported by the company – tends to have a bigger impact on the success of a new brand design direction, than the design itself. So, I understand what you mean. If the advertising, in-store design and other corporate communication can continue to add real meaning to the design, then the resulting brand has a good chance of being a success. Sometimes looking at a logo, as just a logo without context, is more than a little unfair. (Though we do it all the time, admittedly.)

I am anxious to see how the experience at the Atlanta Bread Company continues to evolve.

Editor's note: I'm not 100% sure, but I think Brunner, Inc. was formerly known as Blattner-Brunner, who does some nice work out of Pittsburgh, DC and Atlanta. Perhaps my favorite work they've done is for Zippo. Check them out at:
August 11, 2008 | Registered Commenterjj
On more thing: If they can do more POS like this one, then I'm liking their brand a lot more already.

Not bad.
August 11, 2008 | Registered Commenterjj
I understand all the talk about how the brand hasn't been fully implemented yet, but really... the average joe is not going to look as deeply into it as was dissected here. The initial reaction will be just like what was stated at the start of this discussion — It looks too much like "somebody else". And it will end there. No matter how successfully you support it.

The only people who will get it are the execs and the creatives who came up with it.
January 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCraig
Because the new brand campaign for Atlanta Bread has just been unveiled and all of the locations have not completed renovations
July 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterArtisan Bread

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