Saint Urbain reinvent the traditional deli with their identity for plant-based brand Prime Roots
Harnessing the science of fermentation and the innovative use of koji, Berkeley-based brand Prime Roots champion a plant-based diet through their line of alternative meats; having noted the environmental necessity for reducing meat production, despite having previously been keen meat-eaters themselves. Seeing the need to re-evaluate how they communicated their brand to the wider world, Prime Roots turned to NYC and LA-based creative agency Saint Urbain to develop a brand that conveys and celebrates their carnivorous context - whilst championing their shift in perspective to a plant-based lifestyle, and highlighting the quality and sustainability of the produce.
The resulting identity embodies that of a deli, taking traditional and historical elements from the meat trade and subverting them; achieving something both forward-thinking and nostalgic. “We used Brandon Nickerson’s Axel for the display typeface and we paired that with Mars Condensed,” Creative Director Alex Ostroff tells us, “giving the illusion of an old deli with a contemporary flair,” whilst also providing a sturdy typographic base for the supporting graphic language to flourish upon. “In doing this, we wanted to have a font system that was bold and classic,” Ostroff adds, “brimming with heritage;” a heritage similarly mirrored in Saint Urbain’s use of saturated retro colours, as well as the introduction of illustration.
Working alongside illustrator Felicia Soto, the subsequent imagery again contributes to the traditional themes of the brand. “In our research, we were inspired by animal and botany illustrations from old text science and nature books,” Ostroff recalls, “while we typically always do our own illustrations in-house, this type of illustration design is extremely specific,” he adds, turning to Soto for her expertise. “Her work is extremely detailed and accurate,” Ostroff concludes, qualities matched in the effortlessness and intricacy of Prime Roots’ typographic execution.