Branding, Copywriting, Design, Packaging, Print

Shortlisted for the Design Week Awards 2017

Column Bakehouse in Plymouth came to Voice Group with the aim to highlight their artisan beginnings, CIC credentials and active links to their local community. Every morning, their breads and pastries are made and sold in Devonport Guildhall, using only local natural ingredients. They produce a large range of shapes and sizes from cobs to bloomers to baguettes that all look and taste fantastic.

They needed packaging that let their breads rise up and be seen on the shelf as well as reinforcing their brand identity and message. With agreed plans to expand the line into the local Waitrose at Saltash, pick up and high visibility was paramount.

The area is rooted in major historic events, associations and people that many are unaware of. The idea was to bring these local heroes and happenings to life: Beryl Cook’s saucy art, Darwin’s Beagle voyage, Captain Scott’s fateful trek, and John Foulston’s iconic architecture, including the building where the bread is baked. Since launch onto Column Bakehouse shelves in autumn 2016, the concept has been further developed with Francis Drake’s telescope, the sub dockyard at Devonport, and a police baton (the guildhall used to house a jail).

Take away packaging, especially in the bakery sector, especially disposable paper, is boring. We, and our client, wanted to break category by surprising, attracting attention, and delivering a striking presence on shelf. But not just for the sake of it. It needed to inform and be relevant at an ultra-local level – because the client’s central focus has always been to reinvest profits to help the community that helps them do business. What better way to instil a pride and sense of place than to showcase the achievements of the characters who lived, or still live, on your doorstep?

The other reason was simply commercial: people like to see people (even if they are going to bite their heads off). But we wanted to keep it playful, so avoided any realistic or photographic route, opting instead for bright, flat colour and bold line illustration – making the packaging stand out from a distance.

Importantly, the idea translates well for the ambition of the brand to develop geographically. If Column Bakehouse open another shop in Fowey Cornwall, it could be Daphne du Maurier using her loaf. If they open in London, the possibilities are endless: Brixton, David Bowie; Blackheath Emily Davison; Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes; Gandhi’s visit to Poplar etc with the product packaging always linking directly to its immediate environment.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, this is also a bit of an homage to Hipsters – the original ones from around 1812…

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