Branding Beyond The Logo
The Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) recently collaborated with Target, launching a new line of ice cream pints and a collection of kids' apparel and accessories under Target’s “Art Class” brand. If you’re familiar with the MOIC – an experiential and highly Instagram-able “museum” concept with locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami – it has a readily identifiable aesthetic: rainbow-palette, early 80s charm jewelry, sprinkles and gummy bears, cherries and bananas, unicorns – basically anything that elicits a sense of childlike wonder.
The MOIC has been criticized for building its museums as an Instagram selfie factory; the sprinkle room is particularly popular, with its pool of 100 million tiny plastic sprinkles you can wade through, and the room of hanging bananas is particularly popular in the mix of images tagged #museumoficecream on Instagram. To those critics, the Target collaboration felt like a test: could the MOIC brand bring its distinctly optimistic and joyful, multi-sensory experience from its museums to clothing and packaged food?
The first time I saw the Art Class retail display, I knew which pieces were from the MOIC before I saw a logo or words to tell me as much. The unmistakable color combinations, design, illustration, and attitude you’d expect from the MOIC museum is curated across accessories, apparel, sunglasses, hats, jewelry, suitcases, lunchboxes, roller skates and skateboards.
As for the ice cream package design, the logo is de-emphasized in favor of the MOIC visual language. The logo’s thin type looks more like a tagline than a brandmark, giving the playful illustrations plenty of room to convey a sense of joy and visually represent the various pint flavors: Sprinkle Pool, Nana Banana, Vanillionaire, Pinata, Chocolate Crush, Cherrylicious, Churro Churro.
Founder and creative director Maryellis Bunn, coined "the Millennial Walt Disney" last year by New York Magazine, set out to build a platform that puts imagination and joy at the forefront – and as I look at the way the brand has collaborated with Target, Bunn has done just that. She has expanded her mission from a sensorial experience to tangible products by creating and leveraging a strong visual language that travels easily from vehicle to vehicle and remains recognizable.
The strength of the MOIC visual language comes from its starting point: it’s a brand based in emotion and memories, rather than, say, functional claims or consumer benefits. They are clearly thinking about the consumer experience first – how consumers will feel when they see it or experience it. And they are thinking about the effects of social media and how hard a brand’s visual style or perspective can work at shelf. Bunn said the MOIC brand was influenced by a childhood dream of jumping into a pool full of sprinkles. The brand certainly reflects that as it expands. Her next endeavor? Retail. Check out The Pint Shop.