Dad Agency blends typefaces and leans into monochrome to build and brand its high-tech sports bag

This product and campaign was created entirely in-house, proving why small budgets and limited tools can spark inventiveness.

27 February 2024

Running a creative agency probably seems like enough work in itself, but not for Leanne Bentley. As well as being creative director at Dad, for one day a week Leanne designs and makes a line of sportswear bags for hiking, cycling and running, working on the branding with her creative partner Ulla Britt-Vogt. A hobby picked up during the Covid lockdowns, this is one that actually stuck. Recently, Leanne and Ulla worked on a campaign for a new product in the Carrie Gere line, the supply vest – a high-tech backpack worn like a piece of clothing and used in environments where food and water are scarce.

The first Carrie Gere bags that Leanne made were made-to-order, for bike-packing or touring. As they are custom made, Leanne gave customers the option to pick their own colour – which made it tricky to consistently photograph the products. Instead, Leanne and Ulla decided to make customisable illustrations of the bag a central feature of the identity. “Carrie Gere is a really small business so finding ways to create content in a cost effective DIY way was important,” Leanne says.

When it came to making the supply vest, its specific needs meant that colour customisation and made-to-order designs weren’t possible. Intended for off-road cycling and trail running, it needed to comfortably carry food and water across long running distances where supplies were harder to come by, therefore a more high-tech material and design were needed. Naturally, this wholly different approach required a unique visual approach; experimenting with photography was finally possible and a consistent colour palette was needed, to reflect the bag’s monochrome material.


Dad Agency: Supply Vest Identity (Copyright © Dad Agency, 2024)

One of the central features of the supply vest identity is its campaign logo. Leanne and Ulla experimented with a number of different typefaces before landing on Nguyen Gobber’s Hofmann, attracted to its “organic yet technical feel”, says Leanne. “It evoked this feeling of being in a remote and wild environment, but at the same time being in control. The chunkiness of the letters also pair well with the rocky landscapes you’d encounter on a trip like this.” For the rest of the identity the pair were using the typeface found in the main brand identity, CG brand typeface Scala, though when placed next to Hofmann it felt too “restrained”. So, Leanne and Ulla decided to mix the typefaces together, bringing in “playfulness” and a union between the main brand and campaign identities.

For the product photos, Leanne took images in the studio the bags are made in, and due to restricted lighting and tools some interesting creative decisions were made. “The final product shots were desaturated, cut out and placed on a grey background that feels fitting with the rest of the identity. If we’d had access to nicer photos, this might not have been the result, but we’re happy with how all the elements came together.” Leanne also saw an opportunity to capture the supply vest at its best when she was invited on a bike-packing trip in Death Valley. She made two bags, one for herself and one for a friend, and packed a small point-and-shoot camera with an external flash. Leaning into a snapshot feel, Leanne’s favourite images from the trip now featured in the campaign are the ones of the bag in motion, thrown into the air: “with some momentum you can see a lot more of the bag in one shot, which was a happy accident from playing around for a week in the desert”.

Throughout the project, Leanne and Ulla had to rely on their own creativity and skills, as the small budget couldn’t stretch to commissions. Rather than restricting the work, the pair now see it as a “creatively freeing challenge”. “For client work we can bring in collaborators and what’s possible becomes a lot broader. For Carrie Gere, we have to get more inventive,” Leanne says. On launching, the identity undoubtedly helped the bag’s success, with the pre-order selling out in 48 hours, ultimately proving to the pair why their job building brands matters.

GalleryDad Agency: Supply Vest Identity (Copyright © Dad Agency, 2024)

GalleryDad Agency: Carrie Gere Identity (Copyright © Dad Agency, 2024)

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Dad Agency: Supply Vest Identity (Copyright © Dad Agency, 2024)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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