This year's winner of the Image/Identity/Collateral Material Programs category, and Best of Show of the 1998 VM+SD International Visual Image and Identity Competition, is Ingredients. This Milton Keynes, UK-based baking supplies shop, bakery and coffee shop plays on the growing consumer enthusiasm for fresh, healthy, wholesome produce that can be bought in situ or prepared at home.
The mall storefront's fully glazed facade features the name of the shop, printed in a dictionary-inspired typeface, as well as its playful definition: "Ingredients: a bake shop specializing in wholesome, healthy baked goods. All made with the freshest ingredients. Good for you; tasty, too."
According to Carol Dean, associate director of the London-based office of Fitch, the storefront design served several purposes. "The dictionary definition idea for the logotype was to express the idea behind the bakeshop concept," she says. Further, says Dean, it serves as a mission statement and allows passers-by a glimpse inside.
The logo is situated in front of a cutout of a flour scoop suspended just behind the facade. "We wanted to back up the lengthy store definition with a symbol that could express the store concept quickly and plainly," Dean says. The flour scoop graphic is found throughout the store and is translated into the packaging and collateral materials, such as take-home bags and boxes, in-store brands, wooden display crates and even the coffee cups in the store's cafe.
Exterior store signage is intentionally simple, featuring the store name backlit in white on a blue background. "We used a saturated blue color and back illumination to give the signage punch," Dean says. "We thought this design could give the store a strong presence whether it was located along a highway or in a mall." There are currently three Ingredients stores, with six more planned for the end of 1998.
Inside, the walls are covered with whimsical messages. "Yum yum yum," reads the wall in an area filled with freshly-baked bread and rolls. In the baking supplies area, a repeating string of "mixing kneading baking eating," each word separated by the flour scoop symbol, draws the eye upward and adds height. In the "Recipes Cafe," located upstairs from the bake shop, one wall is covered entirely by a brightly colored retro-styled mural featuring dizzyingly double-imaged baking equipment, such as a liquid measuring cup, rolling pin and wire whisk. This saturated, primary-color palette is translated into the store's menus and the bakers'aprons as well.
The 3300-sq.-ft. store features an open-market atmosphere, with industrial-style steel cart shelving carrying the bakery feel into the selling areas as well. Industrial lighting and a relatively open floor plan reminiscent of a restaurant bakery continue to put customers in the proper frame of mind as they browse the merchandise.
The store's bakery is located in the main part of the shop, turning a trip to Ingredients into an educational adventure. "That was what the open shopfront idea was about," says Dean. "We wanted to take the bakers out of the back room and expose customers to the whole concept of baking." Customers are encouraged to watch the goodies-in-progress and ask questions of the bakers, making their visit to the store a learning experience.
Design: Fitch, London--Jean Francois Benz, president/ceo; Neil Whitehead, senior consultant; Carol Dean, associate director/senior graphic designer; Nick Butcher, Gabby Barnes, Matt Merrett, project design team.
Suppliers/Fabricators: Primo, Enfield, U.K. (furniture); Amtico, Coventry, Warwick, U.K. (flooring); Tema Ltd., London Colney, Herts, U.K. (shopfitting); Conran Contracts, London, U.K. (furniture); Viaduct, London, U.K. (furniture); Slingsby, Bradford, Yorkshire, U.K. (display systems); Dulux, London, U.K. (paint)
Photography: Neil Whitehead, London