Slurp on The Collected Work’s stretchy, squishy and sliding rebrand for Slug Club Kombucha

The New York-based studio created a look that’s “clean” but still “weird” to tackle the brewer’s biggest problem: “getting people to crack a can”.

Date
5 April 2022

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It’s a pretty unique starting point for a design project but, New York-based studio The Collected Works didn’t think its client needed a rebrand. In fact, the studio loved what Slug Club Kombucha, a Patagonia-based brewer bringing the drink to Argentina, had done with its branding, featuring “big fat felt-marker writing and a hand-drawn slug”, says the studio. “Our first thought was: ‘They don’t need our help - we’d buy this!’” But with the brand trying to push one of the first major kombucha products on the market in Argentina, it needed something that perhaps felt more approachable and refined, but still eye-catching. Or, as The Collected Works puts it: “It needed to feel less like something your cousin might have been brewing for a weekend experiment and something that was here to stay.”

The studio’s answer comes in the form of branding that’s “sluggy but not sluggish” it says, creating a system that balances the fat squishy spirit of Slug Club’s founder Eugenia Ripari’s old brand, with a slicker edge. One of its methods was to “not go too literal with the slug”. “But,” the studio explains, “we had a sense that the stretching and squishing of the letterforms could lend themselves well to motion. We’re happy with the way it turned out, a sort of relaxed but ever-forward feeling to it.” Unable to deny its love of the original slug illustration, the studio has also kept the hand-drawn work in the system.

As a very type-driven studio, the rebrand is similarly big on letterforms, utilising huge type, front and centre in even the work’s earliest iterations. “When we started developing the custom type, we were drawing pretty heavily from slug forms, with big globby indents in the ink traps, and a sprinkling of antennae,” the studio says. While some of these early iterations felt “a bit tacky”, another early option was entirely different, comprising very refined clean sans serif headlines. The studio finally settled on a direction that incorporates the best of both worlds: a custom wordmark full of unique ink traps sitting alongside crisp, utilitarian type, with Agrandir by Pangram Pangram offering a “crisp and refined foundation” for Slug Club’s custom wordmark.

The Collected Works says moodboards were also a critical part of the project, which features some pretty wide-reaching reference points. The studio apparently looked to everything from “rebellious, youthful pieces with hand-drawn elements”, to technical, even futuristic styles, and finally, “the outrageously vivid colour and patterns of actual sea slugs”. “They’re wild!”

The final product hopes to help position Slug Club as a mid-to higher-end brand that will appeal to new customers while standing out in local cafes with eye-popping visuals.

GalleryThe Collected Works: Slug Club Kombucha, photography by Albina Vargas (Copyright © Slug Club Kombucha, 2022)

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The Collected Works: Slug Club Kombucha, photography by Albina Vargas (Copyright © Slug Club Kombucha, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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