Malk was born out of a desire to create a unique and holistic brand identity for a beverage company. When initially coming up with business ideas my first thought was a coffee shop, but upon further consideration I decided I wanted to work on a path less traveled. I wanted to make a brand that would stand out and prove itself as a viable alternative to coffee while still existing in a similar market. This prompted me to think of niche beverages that don’t get much individual attention.
Milk was the obvious solution. A very refreshing drink that millions of people enjoy but is not often seriously considered. As a kid there was a milk shop that was very close to where I would play Football (Soccer) on Saturday mornings, and every Saturday after practice we would go to the milk shop and drink the most refreshing glasses of milk, it came in all the usual flavors and I could never stop at one glass. When creating the name for this hypothetical milk shop, I was looking for something sassy and confident. A name that would be clear, but also make potential clients curious – Malk.
My early logo ideas took three different routes. They were based on cow parts, liquid milk shapes, and the typographic forms of the four letters. After several different tests I decided that I wanted to go with a bold logotype that used a liquid texture that mimicked milk as well as the hide of a cow.
For the type itself I ended up creating custom letterforms and using a modified A that was set in Gill Sans MT Ultra Bold. After some experimentation with different ways of creating liquid textures I ended up with the final logo for Malk. The extreme weight gave a gravity and significance to the word Malk, while its rounded corners and curved forms made it playful and fun. In smaller sizes the logotype could adapt by just using the M as the identifying symbol. While it is clearly an M, it also subtlety reads as the back view of a cow.
In my logo experiments I landed on a fun, but punchy color palette that tied the colors of chocolate and strawberry milk together, while also referencing cow's udders and hides. The range of values allowed for the logo to have a light, dark, and mid-range value allowing each of the colors to carry significant visual weight and contrast. This progression of color values also allowed for a further layering of shapes and textures to create a consistent visual system that uses abstract color blocks that flow like liquid.
Because the logotype was created out of custom letterforms and I didn’t have the resources to expand that into a complete bespoke typeface I needed to pick a type partner for headlines and titles. For this role I wanted something that was still bold, but with more of a friendly and sassy feel. After lots of testsI landed on Shrikand regular – the fun curves and whimsical serifs helped match the tone I was going for. To accompany this, I needed an easily legible sans-serif that still maintained its humanity. Because Gill Sans MT had been a source of inspiration in the Logo, I thought it made sense to keep it as a part of the identity.
The obvious next step was expanding the identity into more practical use cases. I created menus for the physical store, marketing collateral, and some merchandise. Each of these graphics helped me to expand the visual style of Malk by playing with the interactions between typography and the system of liquid abstractions. These produced some really fun results that helped to round out the tone and the messaging of the brand. While I had a specific tone and attitude in my mind from the earliest stages of the project it didn’t fully come to life until I started copy writing for the marketing materials and merchandise. The fun loving, no-nonse, milk lover, that I didn’t know I needed was finally able to materialize.