Pentagram duo Jody Hudson Powell and Luke Powell have created the branding for a new ethical skincare brand, Plenaire.
In comparison to other skincare brands, Plenaire’s approach is to promote “emotional wellbeing and self-care,” rather than the usual scientific focus of brands of this ilk. With a focus on attracting a generation Z audience, Plenaire is also a “brand for young people who seek out accessible luxury and a more modern, curated approach to skincare,” utilising natural beauty and ingredients for sensitive skin, free from raw materials.
Taking this approach on board, Jody and Luke’s design approach is transparent and honest. Taking a visual cue from the brand’s name, its visual identity traces back to how this title was generated. Deriving from the French expression “plein air” meaning “in the open air”, Pentagram learned how this was “an approach adopted by the expressionist painters of the 19th Century, where scenic landscapes were captured outdoors, using natural light.”
Consequently “a sense of light and air is expressed through the identity,” says Pentagram. This is most obvious in Plenaire’s carefully curated colour palette – including shades of white, grey, violet, sky blue and just a hint of pink – not only communicated through its overall branding but on packaging also. At its centre is a violet colour named cresyl, “used as an accent through the identity; on its packaging, on social channels, and on the Plenaire website.”
Sitting atop these colour selections is a specific pattern dependent on the product, representing different states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. “Each product is associated with one of three essential skincare routines; that cleanse, relax and energise,” Pentagram explains. Each of these functions have been translated into “a pattern of particle densities”. This visual language is further expressed through a system of asterisks “used to differentiate the state of matter of each product. The three elements; solid (), liquid () and gas (**) are then stacked in a triangle formation to create the distinctive Plenaire brand symbol.”
The packaging design itself was also developed by the Pentagram team, including “the box, cartons and bottles which were all produced to a strict environmental standard”. Comprising of six different formats in total, the final design “is minimal without feeling clinical, with the text stripped back to include only the mandatory information,” explains Pentagram. “Tiny ‘particles’ appear through the packaging and over photographs, adding a delicate, organic feel and tying the elements of the identity together.”
Adorning each of these activations of the brand is also Jody and Luke’s chosen typeface, a custom version of La Nord by Raoul Gottschling, a German-born, New York-based graphic designer currently at Pentagram. “The sans serif was named after a beach on the coast of southern France, which is known ‘both for its relentless surge as well as its fragile nature,’ and the typeface captures this through the contrasting weight of its stokes.”
Jody and Luke’s identity for Plenaire is now live across its site here.
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.