Category Archives: Branding

Branded #8: Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Nubby Twiglet | Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Last year, I noticed the branding of a beautiful new bakery popping up all over Pinterest. With a tiled white interior and large neon pink sign emblazoned with “I got baked in San Francisco,” I was immediately sold on the style of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

Nubby Twiglet | Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Over the weekend, I was in San Francisco teaching with Blogcademy and the bakery happened to be around the corner from our venue. While it looks larger in photos, in reality it is a shoebox-sized storefront packed with a lot of personality.

Nubby Twiglet | Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Nubby Twiglet | Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Founded by two bakers who wholesaled their pastries around the city for years, the Tenderloin-based bakery is selling out its contents every single day thanks to its mix of cool branding and unique offerings including the now-famous cruffin, which is a croissant baked in a muffin tin, then filled with pastry cream and rolled in sugar.

Nubby Twiglet | Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Nubby Twiglet | Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Like many small businesses, the biggest drive towards getting the word out to new audiences has been Instagram. The photos do all the talking, showing off their instantly recognizable gold boxes. The standout branding was designed by Aron Tzimas.

Nubby Twiglet | Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

While there are tons of bakeries out there, Mr. Holmes has acheived near-instant success thanks to its unique offerings (hello, cruffins!) and humorous yet simple branding. It’s a great reminder that success can be achieved by taking a pre-existing idea and adding a unique twist.


Photos: Shauna Haider, SF Eater and The Dieline.
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Branded #7: Mast Brothers

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #7: Mast Brothers

It’s no surprise that in the short time I’ve produced this column, yet another chocolate brand is being featured (remember Compartes?). Chocolate has gone noticeably upscale over the last decade, with many brands feeling more boutique-worthy than grocery store.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #7: Mast Brothers

Mast Brothers was one of the first chocolate brands to take the lead, with brothers Rick and Michael launching their self-named company in 2007. Since then, they’ve grown rapidly, opening flagships in Brooklyn and London. It’s not difficult to see why so many chocolate lovers have flocked to their brand. While the crisp, simple packaging is a standout, they are just as passionate about the craftsmanship of their product.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #7: Mast Brothers

You know that old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, you can throw that out the window because the packaging is what will first draw you into the Mast Brand. Interestingly enough, when Mast first started, they simply wrapped their chocolate in butcher paper. Later, they decided it needed something more and kept the butcher paper feel but added unique patterns with a serious pop. They’ve chosen to keep Mast a strictly family affair, designing every pattern themselves in-house.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #7: Mast Brothers

Mast had been on my radar for awhile but I’d never seen the brand in-person. That all changed last week when I was at a gourmet food shop in Seattle and walked up to a shelf crammed with upwards of 50 chocolate brands. My eyes darted back and forth, looking for something beautiful and unique. While a lot of the other brands were busy, playing up the percentages of cacao and key ingredients, Mast Brothers took the lead with their simple, matte white labels affixed to the gorgeous wrapping. The bottom line: Mast Brothers just gets it when it comes to style — with one peek at their Instagram, you’ll see what I mean.

2015_nubbytwiglet_branded_mast_bros_1

Mast Brothers employs a quiet confidence about their brand — their chocolate is such high quality that they don’t need to shout from the mountaintops about how great it is. Instead, they wrap it in simple yet thoughtful packaging that makes the chocolate buying experience feel like picking out a special little present, just because. And, isn’t that what the best brands have in common? They craft a memorable experience. It really comes down to how a brand makes us feel — and something as simple as a bar of chocolate has the power to make our day a little better.

P.S. If you’re in Brooklyn, Mast Brothers offers factory tours! How cool is that?!


Photos: Shauna Haider and Mast Brothers. You’re Awesome print by Sian Richardson.
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Branded #6: Compartes Chocolatier

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

Compartes is chocolate for the fashion and design-obsessed set.

Based in LA and handmade in small batches, it’s known as some of the best chocolate in the world. Beyond that, the attention to branding and packaging raises it to art-worthy.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

When the neon sign in their Melrose shop proclaims that Chocolate Is Art, they aren’t kidding!

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

Like most of my brand discoveries these days, I first stumbled upon Compartes while perusing Pinterest. Filed away in the back of my mind, I was in LA last month and spotted a sign emblazoned with that unforgettable logo. Tucked inside a location on Melrose alongside Alfred Coffee (which is worth checking out for the decor alone), the tiny chocolate boutique was covered floor to ceiling in black and white geometric patterns of tile. And, the most beautiful packaging lined the walls — the boxes of Love Nuts really stood out, creating the coolest gradient effect. It almost reminded me of the VHS rental stores I frequented in the 90s, except with cooler spines. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

In the Compartes world, chocolate isn’t just chocolate — they have some of the most original flavors I’ve ever heard of. Check out their crazy selection of chocolate bars for yourself!

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

If you’re wondering about the history behind Compartes (because I sure was!), it was founded in 1950 and with its European-focused chocolate making, quickly picked up fans including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Frank Sinatra (really). Today, Compartes is headed up by Jonathan Grahm, who is known as a chocolate prodigy of sorts, with 100 over varieties of Compartes concoctions under his belt.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

While Compartes tastes amazing, the packaging only adds to its charm and I wanted to show you a few of my favorites — because when you visit the shop, there’s no way you’re walking out empty-handed! Pictured above are The Romantic, Biscuits and Honey and California Love. Yum!

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Compartes Chocolatier

Okay, are you as obsessed yet as I am? Thankfully, you don’t have to travel to LA to get your fix because Compartes offers its best sellers in its online shop. My next purchase? The Stumptown Coffee Bar.



Interior and still life photos: Shauna Haider.
Product photos: Compartes Chocolatier.
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Branded #5: Waffee

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #5: Waffee

Waffee = waffles + coffee.

Two years ago, I was walking through the streets of Melbourne and saw branding that literally made me stop in my tracks. The newly opened Waffee shop was stamped everywhere with a clever bronze logo that shined like a beacon of light to those in need of a sugar and caffeine fix. Unfortunately, it was closed when I discovered it due to the Melbourne Cup and I never made it in.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #5: Waffee

That doesn’t mean I didn’t keep thinking about it. An intriguing brand doesn’t just fade away. This time around in Melbourne, you can bet I made it my first stop. Sure, I’m smiling here…but I’m secretly hoping that the waffle I’ve waited a full year to bite into is as good as I’ve built it up to be. Thankfully, it delivered.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #5: Waffee

Waffee was branded by A Friend Of Mine and I love how the name is cleverly built into a waffle griddle pattern. The inside of the shops are a crisp white and the logo is always applied in a bronze “toasted” tone.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #5: Waffee

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #5: Waffee

I honestly can’t think of a more perfect branding solution for the place — A Friend Of Mine totally nailed it.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded #5: Waffee

On another note, Waffee happens to have one of the best tips cup I’ve seen. Winning waffles, great coffee, brilliant branding and a sense of humor to boot — what more could you want?


Photos: Shauna Haider.
Brand images: A Friend Of Mine.
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Branded #4: Sparkling Waters By All Good

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water

When I was in New Zealand recently, I noticed great branding literally everywhere. From grocery stores to cafes to shops to even pizza parlors, it became immediately apparent that kiwis aren’t afraid to take chances.

My take is that in America, when it comes to packaging and branding, more of an emphasis is put on sales, marketing and legibility. It all comes down to the bottom line. In contrast, New Zealanders put more of a focus on creative freedom. They’re not afraid to take some risks and that feeling definitely comes through in the All Good line of beverages.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water

You may remember another All Good product I shared awhile back called Gingerella. Well today, I’m back to share Sparkling. When I spotted them at Farro, I loaded up the cart, bamboozled by their dazzling type treatments by Luke Lucas. Each flavor follows the same styling conventions but the drink name becomes the logo.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water

Each bottle packs a serious punch of organic juices, sparkling water and a dash of raw sugar. Like the rest of the All Good family, these products manage to mix stand-out branding with do-good ethics. It’s the best of both worlds.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water


Photos: Shauna Haider.
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Branded #3: Malvi Marshmallows

Nubby Twiglet | Malvi Marshmallows

Up until a few days ago, I’d always assumed that all marshmallows were basically the same: white, fluffy and sugary. And, it makes sense — marshmallows are a cheap commodity at grocery stores and a “nice to have” when the mood to decorate your hot chocolate strikes or a summer night of camping calls for s’mores. But beyond that, they’re pretty basic and overlooked.

Nubby Twiglet | Malvi Marshmallows

Nubby Twiglet | Malvi Marshmallows

Well my friends, I was wrong about all marshmallows being created equal. Malvi has changed the game for good. A few days ago, a very thoughtful sponsor sent a box of these sweet treats to my doorstep as a Valentine’s Day surprise and lord almighty, these babies pack a flavorful punch.

Nubby Twiglet | Malvi Marshmallows

Raspberry Hibiscus, Red Velvet, Spiked Espresso and Vanilla Salted Caramel are all up for grabs. I think these little packs would make such great client gifts and goodie bag treats at a party.

Nubby Twiglet | Malvi Marshmallows

The branding is spot-on as well. It has a hand-done feel but the black and white color scheme keeps the overall look from venturing into total kitsch territory. The spare, simple packaging gives it a sense of confidence — there’s no need to shout from the mountaintops that these pieces of pillowy goodness are the shiznit…because one bite is all it takes to seal the deal.

Nubby Twiglet | Malvi Marshmallows

Oh, in case you’re wondering about the name, Malvi is short for malvavisco which is the Spanish word for marshmallow. Pretty great, right?

Less Made totally nailed the branding and website. I love discovering these great independent brands and the talented designers who make them happen. Now, I just need to throw a party so I have an excuse to order a boatload more of the vanilla salted caramel marshmallow sandwiches. Because, as you probably guessed….they disappeared quite fast as soon as the last photo was taken.

Nubby Twiglet | Malvi Marshmallows


Images: Shauna Haider and Malvi.
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Branded #2: Gingerella Ginger Ale

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Gingerella by All Good

When I first made eye contact with Gingerella while I was hanging out in an Australian cafe, I gasped, jumped up and down and ordered a bottle as quickly as possible. That’s a strong reaction over a bottle of ginger ale but Gingerella happens to be gorgeous, stylish and socially conscious. That’s a hard combination to top when it comes to branding, don’t you think?

Gingerella is sweet and carbonated like soda but has a spicy ginger flavor. This particular incarnation features an enticing mix of organic ginger, lemon, organic vanilla from Sri Lanka and sugar from India. Yes, it tastes as awesome as it sounds.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Gingerella by All Good

Gingerella is produced by All Good, which is a small business focusing on creating high quality products with a conscience. Most of their ingredients are not only organic but they’re also sourced from fair-trade farmers. I’m glad that more brands are taking the reigns on producing products that aren’t just about all looks and no substance. Gingerella is proof that you can care about the environment while amping things up with a saucy redhead.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: Gingerella by All Good


Images: Shauna Haider and Best Awards.
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