Navarra on its identity for Glaze, an every day product de-stigmatising cannabis from “stoner culture”
The Berlin-based branding agency seeks to “elevate our built environment one day at a time” through timeless design.
In the last few years, the cannabis industry has grown like almost no other as the plant became legalised in many places around the world. For designers, the new industry posed an exciting conundrum: how to brand this substance which has been around for such a long time and has historically received negative connotations? We’ve explored the subject in numerous instances of late, most notably through this in-depth feature exploring the visually rich playground for designers and the identity crisis surrounding the cannabis space. Elsewhere, we’ve looked at LAT Magazine, a publication connecting perspectives around cannabis; sat down with Sundae School who dive into how cannabis can be a catalyst for inner creativity; and surveyed Michael Beriut’s identity for CBD water brand, Fountain.
Today, we’re here to talk about the identity for another cannabis brand, Glaze, with a USP of making it an “everyday project that makes consumption healthier, more dignified and comfortable.” The task at hand was briefed to the Berlin-based branding agency Navarra. Headed up by creative director Kirill Borisov, the agency’s strengths lie in helping a brand find, or reinvent, their identity. As to its place in the current design sector, Kirill tells us, “we try to bring virtues of the Modernist methodology back to our everyday existence by creating brands and products that are timeless and bring decency to the mundane.”
When Navarra was approached with the brief by Glaze, the team was excited to bring its individual personality to the brand. It’s not the first time the studio has worked with cannabis-based products, with already a few projects under its belt de-stigmatising it from ‘stoner culture’. Kirill adds, “there is an immense medicinal and lifestyle potential in this industry that is held back by the limiting associations.” With this in mind, the designers approached the identity with a quotidian point of view. Creating an identity which suits the language of the everyday, it was Navarra’s intention to design a legitimate product that can be used universally for health purposes; all with an injection of fun at the same time. “Hence the combination of the cinematic black grotesque logo and classic grid-based typographic system,” says Kirill.
While limitation is a recurring theme withstanding cannabis-related products in the current market, Navarra, in turn, uses limitation as an underpinning concept in the identity. Leaning on the phrase “Limitation breeds creativity”, the identity follows suit. Featuring one colour and one font; Navarra builds a design system with restricted ingredients to form a powerful and bold personality seen throughout the striking branding. Another plus to this aesthetic comes from the fact the product is sold at delis amongst hundreds of other colourful products all competing for the consumer’s attention. For the team, it was exactly the kind of enjoyable challenge where creativity can thrive. And the result certainly does stand out.
Navarra’s team is unique for its diverse background of members, something that gives the studio a different outlook in comparison to its peers. Kirill, for instance, initially studied medicine before switching to architecture, though his personal interests revolve around design anthropology, critical theory and political philosophy. Elsewhere in the team, designers’ backgrounds include chemistry, creative writing and urbanism; a myriad of interests and avenues that shape a unique creative hub which looks beyond aesthetics or a particular discipline. It is Navarra’s hope that, with time, it can bring a little more of this brainpower into the conference room, making critical theory more accessible and, overall, changing consumer habits, from what we buy to what our cities could look like tomorrow.
When it comes to user interaction with Navarra’s work, the studio wants all its products to “feel like a real thing, like it was here forever.” Endeavouring to reach this timeless paradox in each of its projects, Glaze is an apt example of how the identity feels both new and familiar at the same time. Most of all, it believes all good design should be dignifying. This is something Navarra achieves through its idiosyncratic concoction of understated everyday sophistication which, as Kirill puts it, is “elevating our built environment one day at a time.”
GalleryNavarra: Glaze (Copyright © Navarra, 2021)
Navarra: Glaze (Copyright © Navarra, 2021)
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.