Perky Bros is a branding and design office based in Nashville, Tennessee. We recently caught up with Creative Director, Jefferson Perky.
Perky Bros was established in 1883 and 2009. Can you explain that for us?
Its a silly way of referencing how Perky Bros was reinvented in 2009. Perky Bros was originally a family-run moving and storage company out of Kansas City that ran up until it was purchased in the 70s. When I started freelance, I needed a name and didn’t want to call it Jefferson Perky Design. I’d always had warm memories of stories about my grandfather’s business and I had always envisioned the studio growing to a small group of creatives. Perky Bros was scalable and fit the bill.
What’s it like being a design studio in Nashville?
Nashville is dreadful, don’t ever move here. Traffic is pretty awful. It’s dark here by 4:00. The NFL team is the pits. And there is no great means of public transportation. Despite these facts, I love it. The quality of life is great. It’s in an incredible growth phase right now, as is the quality of design. It may not have as many resources at your finger tips as a larger market. However, that feels like a problem we never really run into. I also really like our small size as there isn’t too many design studios around here like us.
Do you feel you would attract different types of work if you were based in a larger city?
Maybe. But it also might require us to have more of a focused client base around industry expertise versus design. Most of our client base is actually outside of Nashville though that is slowly changing and it’s something to be excited about. One thing I like about the people we work with is their diversity. One day we’re working on a small coffee startup or beer and the next we’re working on a law firm or an industial flooring company.
“The colour palette took inspiration from the western landscapes.”
What is the inspiration behind the colour palette used for Wagon Wheel’s branding?
The colour palette took inspiration from the western landscapes. The copper was based on the patina on wagon wheel. Other natural colours were used as neutrals within the palette referencing wheat fields and wagon canvas/canopies.
Why was a bison chosen to represent Treadwell’s brand?
For the symbol we wanted to use a deeper metaphor than a product benefit which is very typical in the industrial surface industry. The bison has long been a symbol for pioneering as they blazed the new trails in the midwest. Their brand is about standing upright. Walking the walk. It’s also about empowering clients to move forward with confidence, secure in the knowledge that they’ve chosen the right product, and the right people, for the job. Not to mention it’s tough, which is a product benefit. Nice bonus there.
Working with clients from a wide range of industries, do you feel it’s important not to get pigeon holed?
I think so for us. I don’t think we have a house style. There are a lot of commonalities like typographic and material sensitivity from project to project. But ultimately our design inspiration and sensibility can vary greatly depending on the project. Personally, I like being able to ask the dumb questions when working with someone new. Especially working within industries that good design is almost nonexistent. If the client is ambitious and believes that design can make a tangible difference in the success of their business, they really have an opportunity to disrupt their category in this situation and it’s exciting.
“We’re of the school of thought that once you're in a restaurant, you know you’re there and don’t need to be hit over the head with the logo over and over.”
Common Lot has a logotype and a symbol that never appear in a lockup together. Why does that treatment work for the brand?
Common Lot is inspired by common pastures and shared plates. The sheep symbol is akin to a livestock brand. A brand would never be seen in a more corporate/traditional lockup. We’re of the school of thought that once you’re in a restaurant, you know you’re there and don’t need to be hit over the head with the logo over and over. There are so many opportunities to surprise and elevate the brand within a dining experience.
It’s clear that a lot of craft goes into your projects, with exquisite paper choices and printing techniques. Why do you feel it’s so important?
It reinforces the quality and authenticity that goes into our clients’ product and service. If businesses say things like ‘we think differently’ or ‘quality matters’, then it’s important to walk the walk. Every touch point is an opportunity to create value and elevate your brand, but also any touch point can devalue it as well. We use material and craft as a way to help clients create a more remarkable touch point or experience. It’s not an easy thing to get done always, especially with modest budgets, but it is very achievable. Just takes some production and budget creativity.
“Six Depot is based in an old train station at 6 Depot St. in West Stockbridge, MA.”
Can you explain the concept behind the differentiation of the labels on the coffee bags for No. Six Depot?
Six Depot is based in an old train station at 6 Depot St. in West Stockbridge, MA. We took a lot of inspiration from train ephemera and old punch tickets. We used pattern and colour to differentiate the coffee roasts on the shelf.
How important is sketching in the creation process?
Very. I really don’t care how it’s done. Old school sketch book or on the computer. Designers have to realise how they generate their best, most thoughtful ideas (not the easiest or fastest ideas) and then do that. Personally, I like sketching with a sharpie just so I don’t get bogged down in the details too early. I do find that many times designers get lost in the minutia too soon when sketching on screen. It looks great, but is it a good idea?