Wedge rebrands dairy-free ice cream shop SWIRL with an effortlessly smooth identity
Having tasted success with their popular Montreal-based dim sum restaurant HÀO, siblings Charles, Rachelle and William Deluvio decided the time was right to explore a very different side of their culinary vision. The result is SWIRL, a sweet treat stop located on Montreal’s Rachel East that sees the trio swap out steamed buns for handmade, coconut milk-based, soft-serve ice creams free of any superfluous or artificial ingredients. To offer products of such natural quality, they work with a network of local farms from the surrounding regions; as a result, the majority of flavours are dictated by the season, guaranteeing every fruity choice is available at its peak.
Several months after opening, with their business and reputation growing, the founders decided SWIRL’s packaging wasn’t entirely on par with their delightfully fresh and tasty selection of vegan ice creams. “The original identity was designed by one of the founders, a designer by trade. His co-founder, and sister, pushed him to work with Wedge,” the Montreal-based studio’s Partner and Creative Director Sarah Di Domenico reveals.
With a brief to communicate the all-natural nature of SWIRL’s products, and justify their premium price point, Wedge set out to elevate the design of their tubs. They began with art nouveau-inspired lettering, that despite being rooted in the smoothness of ice cream, ended up feeling too ornate. “We came back with a new drawing that was bolder, smoother, fatter,” Di Domenico explains. Handdrawn from paper to pixel, the resulting logotype effortlessly captures the product it represents without even the slightest literal reference to it. “The founders fell in love with our artwork and decided it was a rebrand,” Di Domenico explains, “the work influenced a change in spirit or rather, it honoured who they always were.”
To define the shop’s seasonal flavours, Wedge introduced a selection of bright and energetic fruit stickers to the packaging. They not only add a pop of colour to the black-and-white designs but also provide a manageable and cost-effective solution for tub production. Despite initially being wary of using them due to their potentially ‘trendy’ feel, the studio was soon reassured of their choice by further research into SWIRL’s close connection to local farms and produce.
Wedge made the intentional choice to be subtle in referencing the ice cream’s dairy-free composition, through an approach that aims to be more democratic and inclusive through a focus on quality and taste. “We really wanted to go against the codes of vegan when you think ‘vegan’ and the category at large,” Di Domenico adds.
“We developed a close relationship of mutual admiration with the founders that we’re proud of”, Di Domenico tells us, looking back on the work they’ve done with SWIRL so far. “The cool thing is, the founder that’s also a designer, has empowered the brand through the website and print applications. He is the champion. It’s awesome to see a client fully embrace and elevate the work we created for them,” she concludes.