Koto let Boxy’s name do the talking with a fitting new look for the French automated supermarket
Completely automated, open 24/7 and very hard to miss, Boxy is France’s solution to buying last-minute or late-night essentials. Promising the future of grocery shopping, their big bright red recycled storage containers can be found in many neighbourhoods outside of Paris that are unserviced by other chains. Searching for a new image, the founding team invited Koto to create a strategy, tone of voice and verbal identity that reflects this uncompromising convenience, without forgoing the sense of discovery and delight at its heart.
Leading the new visual language is the unmistakably ‘boxy’ new logo. For Design Director Joe Ling, this could easily be described as “a designer's dream to bring to life in a wordmark” thanks to its visual cues. “But, saying that,” he adds, “it was a really difficult balance to capture a sense of boxiness, without making the wordmark feel cold, unapproachable or even retro.”
As a supermarket that finds itself in competition with the likes of Carrefour and Monoprix, the new wordmark would not only have to stand out and be memorable, but also have universal appeal among consumers. “We wanted to make the wordmark the exact same footprint as the boxy rectangle (the wider brands core asset) to continue the repetitive thread that runs through the whole brand,” Ling notes. “This came with its own challenges around letter widths and kerning, but it creates a really successful consistent thread throughout the whole identity.”
For the secondary typeface, Koto were looking for something with “real character” and an approachability that would pair well with the pared-back elements of the brand. For this, Displaay’s Avantt provided everything they were looking for. “In a very rectangular, bright red brand, we needed a typeface which provided a sense of warmth,” he explains further. “It also had to be a real workhorse: something that could perform on every touchpoint, from a price tag to a digital product. So we had to choose a solution optimised for all of these use cases.”
One thing, however, has remained unchanged from the original branding; having vibrant red as the key colour. “Every Boxy is red, and we didn’t feel the need to change that, the Design Director tells us. “The moment we first saw a Boxy in real life, we fell in love with the visual impact they have in the context of a French suburb – you can literally see them from a mile away.” Therefore, Koto embraced it as the lead colour and opted for a suitably minimal secondary palette. “The accompanying colours of black and white merely act as a support act to provide pacing to communications. Boxy is definitely a red brand!” Ling concludes.