PCC Natural Markets have grown organically over 50 years into seven urban neighborhood stores. The design team helped them realize an opportunity not only to design the details of their newest store, but also to use the same elements in the redesign of their other existing properties and branded products. An entirely new logo and positioning were created.
PCC's mission has been focused on their critically important community and farm-based support programs. True to the character of the Fremont neighborhood, local artists were commissioned to create exciting works of art that infuse the mission of the co-op philosophy subtly into the customer's mind. Signage is often more image than words, in the Japanese kanban style. This approach has broadened the base of their shopping customer to include those outside the "co-op membership" mentality.
Understanding the importance of the co-op's values, the design team partnered with PCC's marketing staff to develop a sensitive way to upgrade their identity on everything without wasting resources – financially or ecologically. Store items bearing their old identity were inventoried, used up, and reordered using the new identity program. This was a more appropriate roll-out for the green organization; the change happened naturally within a few months. The team was involved in everything including shopping bags, nametags, coffee cups, membership brochures, and advertising. A new website design complements the transition. Creating a new regional identity has increased traffic, memberships, and sales.
"This excellent example of an expertly worked-out brand environment is consistent with the client's products and corporate values. What inspired the award is that the branded environment is the often-lowly grocery store, in this case a natural food co-op. The brand identity is beautiful, as are the richly warm and colorful materials. Very creative solutions to the store's department identity graphics are artfully handled. Also notable are the sustainable design initiatives, from the careful rollout of new logoed product to the aesthetic of economy with the store design. Equally exciting is the integration of signage/artwork commissioned to local artists. This sensitive approach returns the grocery store trip to an experience that reinforces community identity and social belonging. A tremendous antidote to the Big Box grocery chains that have infamously done the opposite."
Paula Rees (Design Principal); John Fulton, Brian Fraley (Designers); Bruce Hale, Lei Ann Shiramizu (Design Consultants); Eric Junes, Robert Keding (Production)
SignTech Seattle (Principal Fabricator); Rainier Industries; Zeppelin Studios; Ann Sacks Tile; Jil Smith, Morgan Brig (Artists)