A new typeface, two brand marks, business cards, a website and brand book: when Made Thought (opens in new tab) was tasked with creating a new identity for British paper company GF Smith (opens in new tab), the list of requirements wasn't short. Finding a way in, however, proved simple: "We wanted to place GF Smith back at the centre of its own brand," says Made Thought founding partner Ben Parker, "and re-orientate the brand image back around a more human focus."
As part of the rebrand, the studio created a 'collection wall' built from blocks of A4 paper showcasing every shade available. "We wanted to create something tangible that showed off all this activity - something beyond simply summarising the work in a singular logotype," explains Parker.
Acting as mini samples, the new GF Smith business cards juxtapose three random paper stocks. In a move to help emphasise the 'human focus' of the brand, the design also hints at a symbiotic relationship between employee and founder. However, the idiosyncratic positioning between the 'G', 'F' and lowercase 'i' in the logotype has divided opinion.
Enamel badges, packaged in handmade Colourplan boxes, are awarded to long-serving employees in recognition of their loyalty.
The website delivers information beyond the capabilities of a physical paper selector. New functionality includes a 'we recommend' filter that enables customers to 'curate' through recommendation and search filters.
Brand elements like the 'tear book' push the boundaries of traditional paper marketing. "Our ambition was simply to create inspirational designs that designers will covet," says Made Thought's Ben Parker.
The new embossed 'curator mark' emphasises the company's hand-crafted approach and the quality of its product.
Entitled Portrait of a Company, the brand book chronicles the company's history, staff and ambitions. Printed on 18 of the papers in GF Smith's collection, it includes archive material and comes with 12 different covers.
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 228.