Ben & Jerry’s, the American ice cream-maker, has always had a clear and unique brand identity on their packaged goods, but the design of their stores (500 worldwide, with 250 in the US) are far from being consistent. As the companies’ stores are managed by franchisees, each store has a different design corresponding to its owner’s view of the brand.
In an attempt to enhance and standardize Ben & Jerry’s brand image, the brand’s managers decided to implement a new design in all stores. The challenge for the designers was twofold: the new design had to fully embody the brand identity, while being applicable worldwide.
The design team had first to explore the Unilever brand to which Ben & Jerry belongs, to fully understand all facets of its identity. Indeed, Ben & Jerry’s has a fairly complex brand message—.they want to combine the ideas of quality products, fun and friendliness, with social and environmental engagement.
The new store design has been created with young adults in mind, since they spend more time in stores than families with kids. It was basically all about simplification, while keeping the fun and friendly aspect of the stores. The color spectrum has been reduced to blue, green, and white, with the floor and furniture in light wood color, which are more natural colors than the previous pink and purple. To reinforce the naturalistic atmosphere, the new design also includes recycled materials for the fixtures, such as milk crate and bottle chandeliers, and curtains made of ice cream pint lids. Moreover, the stores offer a lounge area equipped with sofas, large tables, and laptop access.
This new store design is definitely more in line with Ben & Jerry’s brand positioning and social mission, but what remains to be seen is whether it will be successfully implemented in all the brand’s 500 stores, thereby ensuring a consistent brand image is conveyed worldwide.