Identity for a fine antique jewellery emporium in the heart of the Piccadilly Arcade, London.
Piccadilly Vaults were looking to open their first emporium of fine antique jewellery in the heart of Piccadilly Arcade, London. The founders had a fascination and expertise in jewellery history and craftsmanship. Having amassed a collection of fine antique jewellery, they wanted to bring their unique collection to the market.
They approached Charlie Smith Design to develop the stores visual identity, packaging and supporting collateral in time for their opening. The visual identity needed to reflect the unique style of the jewellery, positioning the brand as a place to go for unusual treasures. From the outset, we discussed the idea of a kraken, a mythological deep-sea dwelling creature becoming the central part of the visual identity.
Typography and Logo type
We used a serif typeface for the logo type and typographic treatment throughout the identity. This felt appropriate both as a historical nod to the antique jewellery but also to communicate the premium quality of the brand. In order to create a unique logotype we edited a number of the letterforms to add more character.
We settled on a colour palette of dark inky blue, black and gold quite early on, as it felt both premium and entirely appropriate for the brand. The kraken lends itself to quite a detailed illustrative style, and would be paired with a more classic, but ownable logotype. The combination of the design and print finishes aimed to be timeless, premium and luxurious, reflecting the intricate and unique nature of the jewellery pieces.
We set about researching illustrators who’s approach and style would be a good fit for the project. We came across Olivia Knapp, an American based illustrator who has a very intricate, cross-hatching style that we loved, and so commissioned her to produce a detailed illustration of the kraken. The process involved many rounds of sketches and refinements to develop the krakens character. The desired illustration would have both menace and beauty about it, whilst appearing to be a centuries old creature lurking in the depths of the ocean.
We hoped to foil the kraken in two colours; black for the body, with gold being used as a highlight for the eyes and the suckers on its underside.
We worked hard to find the right manufacturers and suppliers who could achieve the perfect amount of detail in the illustration when foiling the range of carrier bags we had designed. After being advised by several manufacturers that the designs were too detailed to be foiled, the brilliant A14 agreed to help with the foiling and manufacturing of the bags.
Discussing the project further, we agreed to use a magnesium foil block which holds more detail than regular foil blocks and decided, given the complexity of the design, we would do a foil proof to confirm we could achieve the desired level of detail.
The proofs were a success and showed the level of detail was possible at a larger size. However, we also needed to reproduce the kraken at a much smaller scale to be used on the lining of silks in jewellery boxes and business cards. For this we asked the illustrator to create a version of the kraken with considerably less detail. This eliminated many of the finer lines which would have disappeared at the smaller scale.
Working closely with the client, illustrator and printers, we were able to perfect the second illustration and finish the project with a full set of carrier bags and print collateral with fully foiled illustrations which captured all the detail envisaged at the start of the project.
“Thank you so much for the incredible print/foil sample you did for us. I’ve produced a lot of things over the years and never to this quality; it really is stunning. It’s so rare that something is even better than hoped for, which this certainly was.”