How do you design a store for both kids and adults? With playful design curiosity

Working closely with the store’s founders to develop its name, identity and in-store experience, Het Echte Werk takes us through its imaginative approach for new sustainable shop, Le Fanfare.

21 April 2021

When developing the name, identity and in-store experience for Le Fanfare, a new sustainable children’s clothing store, Rotterdam-based design agency Het Echte Werk decided to approach every detail with ambitious imaginative thinking. Not just a concept store but a space in which visitors can play, the result is a shop that fizzes with energy in its products, spatial design and logo. It’s name, too, symbolises this exciting hustle and bustle, radiating “adventure and authenticity at the same time,” says Britt Duppen, a designer at the agency.

As a visitor, the first hint of this experience is seen in Le Fanfare’s logo hanging outside the store. Created using Beastly, a slab serif typeface designed by James Edmonson and published by Oh No Type Co, it was purposefully chosen as it “features heavy slabs with big contrasts in plump and thin strokes, just like the wind instruments from a brass band,” Britt explains. “Fanfare”, in Dutch, translates to brass band “hence the comparison.”

To visualise this link further, the Het Echte Werk team then adapted the f’s of the font, enhancing “the shape [to] emphasise the feeling of the brass instruments”; resulting in a logo that expands and contracts with an “oom-pah-pah feeling” as you pass the shop. Aiding the store’s founders while developing its name from the very beginning, Britt points out how this was a crucial part of the visual process: “The name was very important for the total concept of the store,” she says. “It had to stand out in the crowd…If something happens with fanfare, it happens or is announced with a lot of publicity, and that fits the core values of the shop perfectly. If you go somewhere with your kids it happens with a lot of oom-pah-pah, it never goes quietly and it’s always a big happening. That’s the brand sense of the kids concept store.”


Het Echte Werk: Le Fanfare (Copyright © Het Echte Werk 2021)

Inside the store, on window displays and packaging details from bags to tags, the team devised a series of shapes to sit in harmony with this logotype. A family of graphic compositions, these are designed with children in mind “to stimulate their imagination”. Specifically inspired by typographic details in parts of Beastly’s letters, the designers mirror them in creating these shapes. Extracting details to create more abstract interpretations, Britt points out how they have become “like new superheroes” representing Le Fanfare. “Every kid looks up to some kind of superhero,” she adds, “and we create these ones for the shop.”

To compliment this idea further, Het Echte Werk additionally designed a number of friendly animal-like characters, again inspired by Beastly’s design. “These are used on the hangtags and sticker set that have a saving/collecting system that is linked to the re-use character of the identity,” continues the designer. “Almost all the products in the store are sustainable and eco friendly, so the founders wanted to add this onto the packaging system as well.”

With a suitable name decided, and a graphic language for the brand created, the next step was to create a colour palette to bring this to life. Selecting a range of colours that pop, the idea was for the shopping experience at Le Fanfare to feel like a candy store. “This is the feeling the owners wanted to convey when people would enter their shop,” explains Britt. In its lemon sherbet yellow, sweet pastel pink and a peachy orange, the final design creates a welcoming environment for both children and their parents. “It makes you want to touch everything,” adds the designer. “Normally, kids aren’t allowed to do so but with Le Fanfare, we want you and your kids to feel free and be touchy. The shop is designed to be tactile and touchable.” And, in the same way that contrast is a key consideration for the graphic elements, these colours are paired untraditionally to emphasise this difference further.

Le Fanfare is now open to the public and has been positively received by both children and adults, despite opening its doors during the pandemic in 2020. For those of you unable to play in the store in person just yet, Het Echte Werk’s thoughtful work can also be experienced over on the store’s website.

GalleryHet Echte Werk: Le Fanfare (Copyright © Het Echte Werk 2021)

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Het Echte Werk: Le Fanfare (Copyright © Het Echte Werk 2021)

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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