Comax Flavors is a family-owned, privately-held global flavor company which has been providing flavors to the food and beverage industry for over 40 years. Comax specializes in flavor creation, flavor improvements, proprietary flavor technology and customized solutions to every food and beverage flavor challenge.
Comax commissioned us looking for a rebrand of their visual identity that would best represent their current business and differentiate them from the competition. A significant objective of the rebrand was to expand their target audience and reach more decision makers. Comax wanted their new identity to feel more modern, friendly, and fresh, conveying a sense of family, with a focus on flavor products rather than chemicals. One important request was to retain their existing dark blue-purple within the new color palette to pay homage back to their older mark. This interesting yet difficult to reproduce hue, internally referred to as ‘Blurple’, was specifically chosen by Catherine Armstrong’s father who founded the company back in 1977.
When we set out to design a new logo and identity for the rebrand, the following are some of the considerations that remain at the forefront of our execution:
- Is the logo clear on message?
- Does it engage and tell a story?
- Will it evoke an emotional response?
- Is it legible and can it be easily read at a distance?
- Is it distinct yet designed with simplicity?
- Does it convey the brand’s message but also allow for customer interpretation?
- Will it persist in the customer’s mind?
- Will it resonate with the target audience?
Our rebrand process begins in the research and discovery phase, where we performed a competitive analysis of Comax’s top competitors to see how we could differentiate their mark. Given the often ambiguous nature of flavor and fragrance logos, we wanted to develop something that made it perfectly clear that Comax is, first and foremost, a flavor company.
Our analysis also provided a glimpse into the areas where we could help Comax stand out through a unique use of color. While many rivals use a series of blue tones that convey a sense of corporate, science, and technology, we wanted to take them the opposite direction and use a series of bright colors that would evoke a feeling of friendliness, excitement, and wholesomeness.
The second part of our rebrand process was the conceptual phase of sketching, preliminary idea generation, and rough concept development where our initial ideas were put on paper. After multiple iterations and internal studies, we presented the client with 11 initial creative directions.
Each concept was presented on its own page and included a brief rationale of how it linked back to the goals and objectives of the brief, as well as how it represented the core values of the company. Many of the ideas that we provided to Comax included the use of what we refer to as the ‘flavor drop’, which was a very literal way to say, hey, we make liquids of some kind. While we knew multiple concepts were in the running, it appeared that there was one clear-cut winner that rose above all.
Comax explained that this concept shown above was their favorite as it conveyed a sense of family greater than all others. The idea of linking multiple segments to produce a whole. Each section of the ‘C’ was meant to represent one of the siblings within a leadership role. This execution opened the doors to a broad color palette and we were able to apply complementary and relevant colors to each area of the icon.
With a clear direction in place, we took the sketch digital and developed variations of the initial concept. In this phase, submissions remained in grey scale in order to remove color subjectivity, and focus only on aesthetics and content only.
Ultimately, the version approved didn’t deviate too far from our original sketch. A section of the ‘C’ was removed to accurately represent the 5 siblings (math’s not our strong suit), while a flavor drop was added into the negative space. The typeface applied is bold and easily legible from a distance, contrasting well with the smaller, thinner typeface used for the word ‘Flavors’.
When it came to the color study, many of our choices were based on our research throughout the rebrand process. We decided to select colors that are often not seen in logos within the F&F sectors. We determined that the color orange felt friendly and inviting. It also represented citrus, as did the greens and yellows which is highly relevant.
After some light reworks to increase vibrancy, the final approved 6-color palette finds a balance between honoring the past and looking towards the future. The five colors in the ‘C’ are bright, lively, and exciting, while creating a strong contrast to the classic deep purple of the Comax typeface.
The final challenge was how and where to include the new tagline within the lockup. This new tagline further drives home the fact that Comax is indeed a flavor-focused company that provides their clients with fresh and innovative flavors for literally any application. The color bar between the logo and tagline seemed like a natural fit as it provided yet another opportunity to incorporate the diverse palette. As it turned out, the color bar was also flexible enough to be used in other marketing materials.
Following the Logo Development, we developed a comprehensive Visual Identity Guide that showcases the new identity and defines how their clients, customers, and partners will interact with it. An identity guide is the primary visual DNA of a company’s branding, though it can also reference grammar, tone, word usage and general point of view. The goal of this document is to ensure that everyone ‘touches’ the brand experiences a cohesive, unified marketing message across all media channels.
Following the ID Guide, we developed a comprehensive Stationery System which included business cards, letterhead, second sheets, product info sheets, envelopes, folders, and notecards. Two creative directions were presented with one chosen and refined to the their liking. We then made decisions about the production process including paper stocks, inks, coatings, and other special effects that really made the final product sing!
The final phase of the engagement was the development of Comax’s new Website. Its look and feel follows that of the new visual identity. With a highly visual and more appealing user interface that’s mobile responsive, access to trends data, consumer insights, and multiple flavor samples, the new website helps Comax better serve their customer’s flavor needs
The final rebrand has been extremely well-received both internally and externally by clients and prospects. The concensus is that their new identity differentiates them immensely from competitors and sets the bar high for an all new and improved Comax Flavors for years to come.
We continue to work with Comax to provide them with a wide variety of related marketing materials as they begin the rollout of their new visual identity. Other projects in progress include new Trade Show Materials, signage, and Presentation Templates to name a few.
As a token of their appreciation for our efforts, we received a gift box full of delicious snacks as well as a lovely card.
The Comax Website also recently took home a 2018 American Graphic Design Award from GDUSA.
“Going through a rebranding process can be daunting, but our experience has been nothing but positive and fun! Working with The Costello Creative Group has really elevated our brand. Our new look is bold, eye-catching, and yes, somewhat edgy. We are nothing short of pleased, and it has created a real positive energy for Comax.”
HOW WE CAN HELP
My team and I at Costello Creative Group have been helping businesses solve communication challenges since 2012. Prior to starting my firm, I spent eight years gaining powerful insights as an Art Director supporting global Marketing & Account teams for one of the largest Flavor & Fragrance organizations in the world. CCG’s focus in the F&F sector came naturally, but we continue to work cross-industry to maintain our diversity in both our thinking and creative approach. We partner long-term with clients to support them with everything from ad campaigns, digital marketing, branding and visual identity initiatives, to sales collateral, packaging, sales kits, and trade show materials.