Creating and branding a new retail venture to bring life back to the High Street
There are now so many consumer brands vying for our attention across so many platforms, only a few transcend the noise and become bywords for their values. Aesop, Monmouth, Patagonia: synonymous with quality, care, environmentally conscious. It’s not just their products that have helped them climb to such dizzying heights in public perception. Their branding and careful curation of their design has given them the bedrock needed to expand from.
The Cove was born out of lockdown which has shown how important the High Street still is to local communities, particularly small aspiring businesses. Phil Reid, founder of Studiomade and florist Amy Lethbridge wanted to bring the personal touch back to the Royal Tunbridge Wells through a premium retail experience. Next to a luxury, seasonal floristry service, The Cove stocks a curated product-list that alternates throughout the year – with one key principle:
“We wanted to support aspiring product designers and distillers, championing the growing demand for high quality, small-batch created goods. Stocking a purposefully slim-line of products, these are not found in traditional supermarkets or outlets.”
The driving thought behind The Cove was to help people discover exciting and unique products that aren’t mass produced and are created by really passionate people – independent makers and creators. These thoughts were what led to the name ‘the cove’. Something that reflects intrigue, curiosity, safety, protection, cosiness – and above all a sense of discovery. Think back to smuggling times and a cove often yielded lost treasures, provided a cornerstone for new opportunities and safe-guarded those brave enough to venture forth.
Today, smart brands reflect their surroundings and work with a local, cultural and modern verbal and visual vocabulary. We wanted the brand to echo the timeless architectural elements on the physical listed building, ensuring that the brand had a quiet sophistication. Creating emotional connections with customers can be difficult to master but in curating an experience that is unique and intimate plus distinct the brand and overall proposition is able to set itself apart.
The Cove brand like any other had to translate across all platforms. So rather than entirely focussing on the digital we could communicate through unique environmental designs and sensory experiences our purpose and intent, to really help people enjoy the High Street again and connect to aspiring, lesser-known brands and products.
This restrained branding is designed to allow people time to make their own discoveries, the store and digital presence providing environments where consumers can take their time with nothing shouting at them on where to go and what to do.
In the store these stories can be shared by The Cove team, spreading the individual origin about each product. By sharing their real value and point of difference, people have the opportunity to discover something new that they would never normally consider.
The calming colour palette was selected by sampling a breadth of nature photos from sunsets and natural coves in the UK. The font GT Alpina was selected due to it’s high contrast and fluidity, the terminals reflecting water around a geographical cove. We also added messaging that peaked the curiosity of passing foot traffic on the windows, inspired by vintage apothecary styling – reinforcing that sense of discovery and curiosity.
The digital presence (built on Shopify) gave us a bit more space to be playful with the brand. Using the GT Alpina in a large weight to focus users on key statements we brought in a round stamp element that could be animated to bring interest, also used throughout physical materials such as loyalty cards. We created a teardrop monogram in the footer inspired by the droplet in the letter ‘c’ to bring some illustration to the brand that would also work well across larger promotional materials such as email campaigns.
Our digital input didn’t end with the Shopify experience, by creating an app for customers we have helped them safely peruse our drinks menu and view tasting notes for all products stocked. We wanted this to reinforce the storytelling and the care and passion that had been put into making each item The Cove stocked.
We needed amazing photography to tie the design elements and the products together, while reinforcing the sense of calm and personal discovery we wanted to cultivate. Our design team created a best practice document that will allow everything to be cohesive and communicate one unified story. Every element and item associated with The Cove supports its brand look, feel and values.
The Cove has launched as an entirely new retail concept within a challenging time. Observing possible commercial opportunities, the business and brand look to bring something special back to the High Street. The public response to the concept and overall proposition has been extremely positive, with a social presence actively growing and learning courses booking up!
Learn more about The Cove at https://thecove.shop