How do you rebrand a frozen dessert? When Barcelona-based graphic designers Marion Dönneweg and architect Merche Alcalá were presented with a commission to come up with the identity for a new Taiwanese shaved ice shop in their hometown, the pair decided to instill the sweets with some serious personality.
The most challenging part of the process came after the client presented the goods for a taste test. “We thought it would be difficult to make this popular here in Europe,” they tell Co.Design. “It tasted good, but was a rather ugly and excessive experience. For our aesthetic criteria about local food, this is not very attractive.”
Really? A fruit-topped frozen dessert was a hard visual sell? Granted, I’m very equal-opportunity when it comes to desserts, but this seemed a little harsh; however, a quick Google image search revealed that this style of treat–which I admittedly haven’t had–really does pile it on. “Too much,” they say.
So before a brick-and-mortar location was secured, the pair began a year-long endeavor to develop a new strategy for the delicacy. Turns out this was no sweat; they had recently completed work turning a centrally located candy shop into a haven of Happy Pills to appeal to adults and tourists. “We like to ask questions about the product itself, and if we think it can be improved, we suggest a change or a different perspective. It’s something that does not scare us.”
First came deconstruction. Each of the edible elements were separated from each other, but it wasn’t just the tasty takeaway that got a new look; every part of the purchasing process was considered. Visitors to the shop would be greeted with a menu featuring adorable characters that represent each flavor on offer. After ordering, it’s time to pick up an empty, specially constructed cardboard carrying tray; Eyescream is delivered with its charming googly sugar eyes, and a selection of two colorful toppings are offered at a self-service counter. The whole transaction can be handled one-handed, making for an easy experience from start to finish. As if anyone ever really needed an excuse to indulge.