Chicago-Boston Stanley Cup Wagers

June 12, 2013 1:58 pm


Mixed-media collage of rust flakes and flattened traffic cones from Tobin Bridge

Selection of full- and queen-size mattresses repurposed as temporary pothole fillers

Set of flaming radial tires from Fung Wah bus

Hall tree enhatted with baker’s dozen of Jamaica Plain trilbys

Your choice of Wahlbergs (limit 7)

Complete eight-color set of Sharpies fished out of Allston rock club urinals

Coupon for 10 free B-line gropings

Commemorative crystal bowl of grit used as prop in last nine Boston movies

Complimentary fitting for a pair of Massachusetts State Police jodhpurs

Darting tour of Route 1 in Saugus

U-Haul truck previously wedged beneath Storrow Drive bridge. Runs good.


1 box assorted Montrose beach alewives and sand

Gently used Back of the Yards hypodermic needles

Milk crate from the shoulder of the Eisenhower Expressway (near Austin Ave.)

One quart Horween Leather Tannery Effluent

One bushel discarded Gino’s East pizza crusts

Bag of assorted Brown Line El seat-and-floor chewing-gum scrapings

Pothole fragments (Courtesy Chicago Streets and Sanitation)

Three live jumping carp (not for release into area waterways)

Chicago River Tour hosted by Dave Mathews Band

Private Oak Street Beach party (week of Jan. 26, 2014)


(Cross-posted at Cheeze Blog)


Time to Rebrand Now, Jewel-Osco

January 10, 2013 8:00 pm


Having been sold recently to a group of investors by parent company Supervalu™ , Chicago chain supermarket brand Jewel-Osco now has the perfect opportunity to correct this long-standing and egregious crime against typography and good sense; with a thoughtful rebranding, starting with the above identity.

jewel-osco-exteriorIf you have lived in Chicago at any point in the past thirty years or so, this brand signature is as ubiquitous and familiar as it is painful to view. Just take a moment to appreciate the awkwardly scaled and weighted “J”; the toothy kerning of the characters, the artificial oblique lines, and the comically thick underlines!
Carpe diem, Jewel-Osco.



Some Changes Coming to This Space

September 27, 2012 10:52 pm was launched in 2010 as a vehicle for brand identity analysis and commentary; alongside the main website for Sanders Brand Identity and Consulting, LLC: Looking to broaden the scope of discussion and topics here to include design innovation, visual inspiration, technology, and other cool stuff worth exploring and discussing.

Other changes planned for both these sites include:

  • Integration of blog posts within
  • Twitter feed from @sandersbrand incorporated into the main site
  • New legal entity name (Sanders Brand Design Innovation LLC) and new trade dress
  • Updated content and navigation
  • Mobile optimized design
  • New WordPress implementation/theme
  • Other surprises, too
Look for the new launch on or before Jan 1., 2013.
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.

New Mural a Great Addition to Chicago’s Addison Street-scape

July 6, 2012 11:17 pm

Muralist Raphael Lòpez, with the help of a group of community activists has created a very pleasing mural under a long neglected, but highly visible viaduct on Addison Street and the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood. Given the extended horizontal aspect of the mural, this panorama is the best way to view the artwork in its entirety; short of viewing the mural for yourself here.

For some context, here is what the viaduct has looked like recently; before the mural was completed. The site is unique, in that its highly visible from the intersection of the Kennedy/Addison on-ramp and from the high-volume traffic on Addison itself, yet it has somehow escaped notice as an opportunity for a mural project, until now.

A hat tip to all involved in making this mural happen. Check them out and ‘Like’ them on Facebook. It’s really a great addition to the visual landscape of Chicago. Here’s hoping that it will be maintained to withstand the elements, and the inevitable spraypaint taggers.


Radio Flyer Brand Hitches Its Wagon To Legacy

April 26, 2012 1:04 am

Radio Flyer NameplateLongtime Chicago wagon and toy fabricator Radio Flyer is approaching its 100th birthday. This brand represents an object lesson in the value of truly understanding your brand’s heritage and respecting it. It would be difficult to not be impressed by the brand’s history as told on the company’s website. A young Italian immigrant comes to Chicago in search of a better life, works odd jobs before beginning to build wagons that would eventually become an iconic toy brand recognized worldwide.

Radio Flyer wagonThe reverence the company has for its brand heritage is apparent wherever you see the Radio Flyer name. Its products embrace the familiar deep red color and white reversed brand mark, whether its an old style classic wagon or one of their many new toy products; which include trikes, bikes, scooters, ride-ons, and other kids accessories.

The website follows suit with the same bold red; adding measures of thoughtful whitespace and rich, saturated photography. Ample space given for featured product photography gives the site a distinctly upscale, yet approachable retail feel.

Licence to FlyThey also offer a playful microsite for kids, License To Fly, which echoes the past with image of child in old-timey aviator helmet and goggles, and reinforces the brand as an enduring classic. Kids can upload a photo of themselves and get a customized driver’s license for their toy, our contribute a picture to a large mosaic image of a wagon. Good clean fun.

Radio Flyer is one of those great Chicago brands that’s recognized that ‘new’ isn’t always the best position to take, that sometimes its best to let your past be your guide when shaping your identity and your products. Past is prologue. Then is now. Sometimes being old-fashioned doesn’t make you irrelevant, it makes you stand out.


An Unfortunate Silhouette

March 27, 2012 12:05 am

northwest meat logo brand markIts a difficult design challenge to be sure. How do you make a logo with a guy wielding a knife look non-threatening? While the folks at Chicago’s Northwest Meat Company may have answered THAT challenge, they appear to have created a brand identity that doesn’t quite pass the Rorschach test.

A few questions:
– What’s going on with that butcher’s other hand? (That is a hand, right?)
– Is this guy ok? Looks like he’s about to fall over. Perhaps from sheer exhaustion.
– What’s he chopping on that block? Looks like it could be a human face.

Northwest Meat Logo on Truck

Yes They Do Have This Logo On Their Trucks


Gonnella Bread – We Couldn’t Agree More

February 26, 2012 10:06 pm

Gonnella Bread Logo ChicagoGonnella Bread: A Chicago institution. Their brand has been around for like a LOT of years. They’re keepin it fresh. And they happen to have THE BEST TAGLINE a bakery could ever hope to have.



L.L.Bean Riffs on Classic Catalog Covers

January 29, 2012 11:52 am

To celebrate their 100th anniversary, L.L.Bean has decided to re-imagine some of their classic catalog covers. Shown below is the first of what presumably will be a series throughout 2012.

L.L.Bean Revisits Classic Catalog CoversThe company has also released a short behind the scenes video which explains how they took on this effort. Viewed up close, the details are striking, with enough Photoshop image processing and tweaking to give it a super-realistic illustrated feel… like Norman Rockwell meets Chuck Close.

Close-up comparisonIts a clever idea, and seems to have been given enough attention to the details that the new catalogs may avoid the fate of being immediately tossed in the recycle bin. Who knows, these covers may become collector’s items someday, like their predecessors.




New Private Label Grocery Brand Offers More Than The Essentials

December 1, 2011 1:39 am

Historically speaking, private label grocery store brands don’t get a lot of love or attention from the brand design establishment. And with good reason; all too often these in-store ‘generics’ have paid little attention to the value of brand design and applied brand identity, and often provide little differentiation visually from similar chain-store store brands.

essential everyday logo

Recently, SuperValu, Inc. unveiled a new private brand for its network of supermarkets across the US, including Chicago’s Jewel-Osco stores. Essential Everyday products have begun appearing on store shelves, replacing the old store brands in select grocery categories.

essential everyday branded products

The branding approach here is notably successful for a number of reasons. Firstly, the naming of the brand couldn’t be more straightforward or appropriate for a value-oriented store brand. Its a no-nonsense brand name in a sea of hyperbole on the shelf. The typography chosen to render the brand name is unpretentious and approachable.

Second, the use of a ‘stamp’ or ‘tear-off’ label visual metaphor is a natural, if literal, approach to labeling a product. When applied consistently on the top edge of packaging, it allows for a tidy, standardized application across many categories.

And lastly, the choice of white text on a black element is ultimately flexible when applied to any product-appropriate color background, as evidenced in the product samples shown here. The black label conveys an almost upscale feel to what is ultimately a value-oriented product offering.

PREDICTION: This new private-label brand will be a profitable brand for all the stores that carry it.


Meredith M’s Times Four

November 5, 2011 7:09 pm

meredith new logo

Unveiled in August of 2009, the new signature for Des Moines, Iowa based Meredith Corporation falls into the category of ‘most dramatically improved corporate identity’. Particularly when viewed next to its predecessor, the new Meredith mark clearly declares itself as the symbol for a world-class publisher and broadcast corporation. The old version, by comparison, suggested a regional, industrial print shop. One can imagine the creative brief for the redesign including the directive: “For Pete’s sake, lose the black!”

meredith logos side by sideThe symbol itself seems to work on so many levels. Besides reinforcing the M as monogram, its a visual reference to the brands roots as a print publisher with a nod to process colors on a printing press. The interlocking color bars also suggest a textile print such as a tablecloth, or a quilt; which aligns with the brand’s midwestern, women-oriented values. Even when reproduced at a very small size, the symbol is recognizable and takes on a dimensional gradient quality.

Despite the references to the past, this brand clearly has an eye towards the future. The signature as a whole feels modern and absolutely fresh. Well done. 4X.