153. Atlanta Bread Company Identity.
Mar 4, 2008 at 09:46AM
jj

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.)

abc_oldlogo.jpg

New logo:

abc_newlogo.jpg

New logo introduction:

abc_rationale.jpg 

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.

Comparison:

abc_comparo.jpg 

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:

abc_newpkg.jpg 

 

Update on Jun 26, 2008 at 05:09PM by Registered Commenterjj

Looks like they've updated their website recently too.

Article originally appeared on Graphicology (http://www.graphicology.com/).
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