When we think of skincare, it’s rare (if at all) that our first thoughts go to adaptogenic mushrooms, herbs and plants. Except, that’s exactly what Herbar is: a skincare brand founded by Catarina Oliveira and Rui Liu focusing on the superpowers of these mushrooms, herbs and plants. Élise Rigollet was the graphic designer tasked with coming up with Herbar’s brand identity and packaging, and she’s managed to synthesise the surreal and trippy world of adaptogenic mushrooms with the harmonious aesthetics of skincare. “Catarina sent over a moodboard to introduce her project, and we quickly realised that our visions aligned,” Élise explains on the visual identity’s foundations. “The initial references we compiled consisted of beautiful vintage glassware, earthy tones, mushroom textures, Japanese watercolour sets.”
What’s so unique about Élise’s designs for Herbar is how far they stray from the normative aesthetic points of a skincare brand. Typography has life to it, and colours and shapes take on an otherworldly feel as opposed to being by-the-book. “I felt like staying away from the ‘clean’ look many skincare brands have chosen, with the bright lighting and pastel colours,” Élise explains. “I wanted the design to be warm and high-spirited, but also have a grounded and ritualistic feel.” In the logo mark, we can see a reference to a leaf or a heart, which Élise comments can be used to sign a message: “Love, Herbar”. It’s a heartfelt touch that strays away from being too twee.
“For the packaging, the glass bottle is very sculptural, has a weight to it and is made to be left on your countertop, not hidden in the cupboard,” Élise explains. “I designed the outer packaging to show and enhance the marbled pattern cap and have it stand out of the box.” As the logo is quite intricate, Élise opted for a typography system that was efficient and not too crowded on the box. “The face oil ingredients are purposefully very minimal, and displaying them at a big scale on the back felt appropriate to showcase that.” Élise used a combination of type, enlisting typographer Manuel Marsoudet to “finesse the lettering” of the logo to feel organic. As for the rest, Élise tells us she used Whyte by Dinamo and Kormelink by Jacobe Wise to achieve a “classic and almost scientific feel.”
It’s a beautiful brand identity that came to life through a series of people. Though Élise was at the helm of the design, Nuno Vieira did the photography, and the website was developed by APN Works with CGI artist Laura Le Gal and Nino Muro offering their services to the vision. “I hope the identity stands out, and translates the passion of the founders,” Élise concludes. “They truly have an inspiring vision, and I can’t wait to see where they take the brand next.”
GalleryÉlise Rigollet: Herbar (Copyright © Élise Rigollet, 2022)
Élise Rigollet: Herbar (Copyright © Élise Rigollet, 2022)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.