frozen yogurt restaurant rebrand
When legendary frozen yogurt franchise 16 Handles reached out to us for a frozen yogurt restaurant rebrand, we were stoked. Solomon Choi, 16 Handles founder and CE-Yo!, was passionate about his product and dedicated to improving his brand. Can you say dream client?
However, the rebrand actually turned out to be more of a brand refresh than we originally anticipated. The existing logo needed to stay as it was to a certain degree, but the client agreed to let us give it a little tweak. Our client really valued the brand awareness that had been created since 2008, and rightfully so. 16 Handles had become somewhat of a frozen yogurt empire in the Big Apple.
Additionally, 16 Handles has an internal graphic design team, which is the case with many of our clients. So, they needed us to elevate the brand in a manner that they could maintain themselves after the branding project was over.
As with most of our rebrand projects, we started the frozen yogurt restaurant rebrand with discovery. For this phase, the Nice Girls took a trip to the 16 Handles HQ in NYC. First, we learned all about the company’s vision and what they felt their brand was missing. Then, we dove deep into the origins of the organization, and the why behind the fro-yo. There’s always a why. Then, we got to visit several stores and taste test the product. It really is the best fro-yo out there.
Finally, we conducted a customer survey to confirm what we had learned from the 16 team about what customers loved about the product and the brand. We assessed the survey results and compiled the information to create a profile of the typical 16 Handles customer. The profile did match our client’s instinct about his customer base for the most part.
We created three visual brand direction variations that 16 Handles could take on as a foundation for the frozen yogurt restaurant rebrand. Each had a slightly different vibe. There was an edgy version that played on current trends, a more colorful and playful version with a more muted palette, and one that focused on bold graphics.
We presented these brand boards to the client, full of fonts, images, graphics and furniture as inspiration. They picked one and we moved right on into the graphic design phase of this frozen yogurt restaurant rebrand.
Then, this project took a turn. The client reconsidered the chosen direction and we had to pump the breaks on the design portion of the project. As the visual direction was called into question, our team consulted with our client. Together, we came to a decision that incorporated elements from a couple of the different directions that were presented.
With the visual direction back on track, we moved into implementing this throughout all touch points throughout the customer journey.
The first step was the logo refresh. Our goal was to create a new brand identity that was not too far removed from the logo that had become synonymous with fro-yo all over the northeast. However, there were some issues with the existing logo. For example, the word HANDLES appeared to the left of the 16, effectively reading Handles 16 instead of 16 Handles. We pulled the word Handles out of the icon and placed it within the logo type instead.
We created logo guidelines that dictated how the logo was to be treated both with and without the tagline. These guidelines required that the logo be displayed in full color in one of the primary brand colors, or in white on a full color background. Again, the background should be one of the three primary brand colors. The tilt of the 16 in the icon was to be at the same degree angle in all instances, and logo fonts to be adhered to were outlined.
Additionally, we developed a system of logos for primary products, including the Whip Up!, Mega Mix, and Flavor of the Month.
Finally, we developed a set of custom product icons that would be unique to 16 Handles and come to stand for each of the products in their line up. Guidelines were developed for the usage of these icons as well, including the development of a custom 16 icon pattern.
Next, we updated the menu graphics and flavor screen graphics. 16 Handles is known for their implementation of technology in the in-store experience, so all menu boards and many promotional graphics are displayed digitally. The menu design we created for the digital boards was relatively simple, yet incorporated brand fonts and colors with attention to cross promotion of product lines.
Finally, we created promotion graphics and created guidelines for food photography that could be used with an icon system throughout the brand. We developed promotional graphics included both mixed typography and promos. The promotional messaging featured food photos that were styled in a direction to be maintained throughout the brand.
Next, we took on the packaging design for this frozen yogurt restaurant rebrand. We designed cups and cone wraps. These new designs would represent the updated brand. Additionally, we also came up with some witty little phrases that worked in their updated brand voice to display on all their packaging.
The packaging for a fro-yo restaurant is especially important. The product is handheld and often consumed on the go. Eye-catching cups and cone wraps means the 16 brand can walk right out of the stores and onto the streets of NYC with every purchase.
FROZEN YOGURT RESTAURANT BRANDING INTERIOR DESIGN
As always, for this interior design section of the rebrand, we started with the customer journey. We wanted the layout to make sense.
Using mockups of the space, we created a visual map of the new changes. Additionally, we proposed an updated facade and a complete revamp of all of the interior elements in the 16 Handles spaces. Then, we wanted to add in wayfinding signage, updated wall graphics, new product displays, and interior finishes to bring the brand alive in the space.
At the request of our clients, we put our brainpower into creating a professional, custom merchandise wall and cold case that would display all the 16 Handles merch. Therefore, this new unit combined both shelf storage and freezer storage in a modular approach that was adjustable for each of their 42 stores.
This interior update was important for 16 Handles. As a franchise, they needed a solid plan that could be implemented across dozens of stores and used to build new ones in a simple and on-brand way.
For the digital portion of this frozen yogurt restaurant rebrand, we took on a consulting role. Here, we showed the client how to use their new brand as a filter for their on-going social media campaigns. We also provided some insight into how we knew they could improve the user experience on their website.
We compiled a final brand guide at the end of the project. This included brand guidelines. This way, the 16 Handles internal design team could carry out the brand. Finally, we handed over all of our strategy and insight that we had developed for their brand throughout the project.
If you’re interested in talking shop with the Nice Girls, give us a call. We’ll be ready for you.
The final pictured portfolio does not represent client selections. Images are intended to showcase the work of Nice Branding Agency.