Best foot forward: Lynne McCusker's bold branding for a new retro shoe store

Launching a new shop is a brave enterprise in an increasingly challenging retail environment, and good branding can mean the difference between success and failure. Here we present a great example of how to do it right and chat to its creator, Lynne McCusker, to find out more about it.

Lynne McCusker is a senior freelance designer based in Scotland. With 17 years of experience in the design industry and the past nine years spent as a freelancer, she specialises in all aspects of creativity, from branding and print work to web and social design. Her clients include L'Oréal, ​Law Society of Scotland, Scott Group, Ayrshire College and Natural Power.

"I studied graphic design at Glasgow School of Art and have since worked across several design disciplines," she explains. "I began my career at promotional marketing agency This Is BD, working on promotional and experiential projects for Arla Foods, Diageo and The Famous Grouse. I then changed direction, and moved to brand-focused agency, Redhouse Lane, working on corporate communications and branding."

Recently, Lynne shared with us her brand concept for a forthcoming rare and vintage shoe shop based in Glasgow called Futties Gutties & Baffies. Although the shop won't launch till next year, we love the designs and were keen to learn more about them.

The brief was pretty straightforward, Lynne explains: "To create an entirely new brand for a Glasgow-based, retro shoe shop. The city has always had a thriving second-hand and vintage clothing market, and the West End, particularly, is well known for quirky stores. The market is generally students and 20-somethings living and working in the area. Glasgow Uni and the Art School are based nearby, and there's a huge market to tap into."

The aim was to give the new shop a distinctly retro vibe, in look and feel and colour, she adds. "The owners themselves dress in vintage fashion, and they wanted the shop to reflect their sense of style and to tap into the student/young professional market. The shop will sell all manner of rare and vintage footwear, from one-of-a-kind trainers to 1960s snakeskin boots."

First, Lynne worked with the owners to come up with the name, which may baffle some non-Scots. "The three words describe footwear in the Scottish vernacular," Lynne explains. 'Futties' are plimsols, 'gutties' are trainers, and 'baffies' are slippers."

The name is unique and memorable and suggests a clear design approach. "The solution we settled on was a stacked logo, playing on the double 'TT' and 'FF' in the three words," explains Lynne. "The double letters were visually aligned to create a bold rectangular logo. The colour palette was directly inspired by retro/vintage 1970s colours and designed to give the shop front a bold standout."

There's a distinctly retro vibe to the typeface and photography treatment, too. "The brand typeface is Adrianna Extended, while the colour palette combines 1970s-inspired tones," says Lynne. "We were thinking carpets, sofas, curtains and soft furnishings. The main brand orange is also a favourite of the client, so this had to feature prominently."

The shop is still in the early fitting stage, and the owners hope to launch it in early 2023. The visuals Lynne has designed so far will inform the look of the shop front and all materials, from business cards to shoe boxes and clothing labels.

"The owners hope to advertise the launch locally within the Glasgow area, though both paid advertising and guerrilla marketing, in the form of Banksy-style stencilling around the local area," says Lynne. "We've had great feedback on the name, so we hope to build on this by creating some pre-launch interest.

"As second-hand clothing isn't always a perfect fit, the shop will cater to clients by having a fitting/alteration service," she adds. "That's quite a rare thing for a vintage shop. This will follow shortly after launch and give the business a unique edge."


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