Food colouring products aren't all the same. Premium brand Colour Mill needed help to stand out from the crowd, so it turned to Universal Favourite to give it a fresh new identity.
Colour Mill is a family-owned, Australian-based food colour manufacturer specialising in the 'cake and bake' industry. Utilising modern formulas and processes, it's spent 30 years developing a range of speciality oil-based pigments which outperform conventional gel colouring.
But although the quality of Colour Mill had already made it a household name among cakers and bakers, its branding wasn't communicating that message. Wanting to set itself apart from the subpar, it needed an identity do-over expressing its key qualities: premium, playful and kaleidoscopic with colour.
The company needed an identity that would reflect the fun and vibrance of its food colouring products effectively and turned to Universal Favourite, a design studio based in Sydney, Australia, to make it happen.
As a large amount of the brand's customer conversion comes from social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, it wanted to give its dedicated community products that looked as beautiful on the shelf as they did in its baked goods.
The team began with the idea that the brand should reflect what its community creates and came up with "colour play". This concept celebrates the joy, play, mess and finesse of the cake-decorating process, from kitchen counter to baking tray to final touches.
Universal Favourite wanted the brand system to be expressive, imaginative and flexible, reflecting the spectrum of baked goods – from sophisticated and elevated right through to sweet, sugary chaos.
Among the design elements, the friendly and approachable logo is an anchor, speaking to everyone from hobby bakers to wholesale bakeries. It's made from a custom typeface – a bold, condensed sans serif with subtle appendage quirks that imbue a little life.
While it started with just two letters, the Colour Mill 'CM' brand mark eventually grew into an entire font family. Inspired by piped icing textures, Colour Milled makes any application immediately recognisable to the brand. It pairs with Studio Pro, a modern, neutral sans serif workhorse that carries larger bodies of content while still standing strong on its own.
This fun, confident typeface was given words to match by copywriter Cat Wall: in the words of the team: "We carefully measured out all the ingredients necessary for a verbal identity that's as colourful as its visual counterpart. A solid foundation of simplicity and approachability, tied together with confidence, lightheartedness and a (glitter) dusting of the cheek. Rolled out into a suite of messaging that's sweet without being sickly, the brand talks as brightly as it walks."
For the colour palette, the team devised a flexible system that allowed it to play with the expansive spectrum of colours the brand offers in its products and sets. A curated collection of complementary combinations was designed to be used across campaigns and marketing, making it easy for the client to dial expressiveness to the max without compromising on the premium feel.
As for packaging, the #shelfie was a key consideration to help reach an audience of cake content creators. Working with Colour Mill's existing bottles and manufacturing methods, Universal Favourite made a full-bleed label design for each colour, setting them apart in the category while feeling at home in the flamboyant cake world.
The size of the bottle posed an interesting challenge: how do you create a distinct brand presence on a tiny canvas? The team brought their piped edge into the label dieline and, alongside the colour pairings for copy, the brand shines through despite the size of the application.
With the launch of the new brand came the launch of two new ranges: Glitter and Lustre. Starting with a blank base, Colour Mill asked Universal Favourite to bring the brand system into the design of these products' packaging. Alongside their manufacturers, they brought the piped edge look into the physical shape of the jars, tying it in with the wider collections.
Connecting the team at Colour Mill with fellow Sydney agency THINK allowed the in-house creative crew to put their new brand into practice. The two teams worked together to create various packaging solutions that would stand out on the shelf and delight their customers on arrival.
Before the rebrand, Colour Mill had been borrowing imagery from its own online community and partners but had no distinct style of their own and was mostly showing cakes piped to perfection. However, Universal Favourite reasoned, Colour Mill is more than the end result; it's the process.
So with photographer Shelley Horan and stylist Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd, they set out to show it all – the piping bags, the cookie cutters, the almost-empty bowls of ganache scraped clean by greedy fingers.
The resulting images also show how Colour Mill can be applied outside of just cakes. The team corralled bakers, decorators and patissiers to deliver a "mesmerising mess", concocting everything from cookies to cocktails, jelly and macarons.
Another key part of the rebrand was an overhaul of Colour Mill's e-commerce experience. In the spirit of the new look and feel, the team wanted to create something that was fun, interactive and a source of inspiration but worked as seamlessly and effectively as the products it was selling.
It partnered with development studio TenTwo to create a custom CMS that allows for the site's global colour palette to be easily changeable. It gave Colour Mill licence to get creative on their website with each new release and stay ahead of the curve with each new style and trend. Customers can experience a fresh new look and bout of inspiration with every visit to the site and discover playful Easter Eggs sprinkled throughout.
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