It’s been some time since Village Leathers has taken a look our branding, we thought it we’d have a go at refreshing it ourselves, who else can best encapsulate all that is Village Leathers? Over the years it’s had numerous iterations and you can always find our modest little stamp on your leather products made by us. As it’s our 45th year in business we wanted to celebrate with a fresh look.
Our current branding exists across both our website and Covent Garden Stores. On our products, business cards and packing slips we use a version of our word mark; ‘Village Leathers’. It’s discreet but represents what we have become known for; handmade, top quality and affordable Leather goods.
For our new branding we loved the idea of having an icon or image that could work alongside our ‘Village Leathers’ wordmark, becoming synonymous with our name that’s been around for so long. This icon had to encapsulate the Village Leathers ethos, it had to look good as well as be versatile enough to work across all the belts, bags and braces we make. So, we had our task; create an icon that brought Village Leathers up to date while carrying an homage to its 45 year legacy.
As always, whether designing a new product or a piece of graphic design we thought we’d start by getting our sketchbooks and pencils out. For drawing inspiration we trawled through the Village Leathers archive of tools, machine parts, punches, patterns and leathers. From this we started picking out shapes, colours and materials we thought could capture the essence of Village Leathers. Translating these into drawings was no easy task but we kept going. Throughout the process we’d discuss what worked and which parts needed tweaking. Our approach was slow and organic, we wanted to get it right after all, this meant put it down for a week or so but then get struck by inspiration in the middle of making a bag. That was the beauty of taking this on by ourselves in house, everyone could contribute and we were finding inspiration all over the workshop.
After some time we finalised a drawing that we believe symbolises Village Leathers. The design came from a combination of two objects. Firstly, and perhaps more obviously, we have a pair of thread cutting snips. This understated and simple tool is a stalwart of the Village Leathers workshop. There’s a shiny pair next to every sewing machine, on each workbench and you can usually find (at least) one pair on each of us here at the workshop. They are an essential tool for finishing our handmade goods, every item has benefitted from their touch. The second object is more unusual, whilst we were digging around the workshop we found a rubber stamp with come interesting contours. After quizzing Mark (the founders son and our boss) about it’s function he told us it was used to make leather belts with a wood grain finish back in the early days. We digitised the pattern and incorporated it into the snips. We had our icon, a marriage between a fundamental tool we use everyday and athingamabob straight from the 70’s. Perfect.
Putting the new icon next to our old font made it look a little tired so we picked out a more contemporary font. It’s simple, round form compliments the icon’s striking bold outline. Alongside our new artwork we thought we should start using more colour on our website and in store too. This was a really fun part of the process, we wanted the colours to come from somewhere meaningful so we went colour hunting around Covent Garden and found a beautiful rust, autumnal green and icy blue to work alongside a midtone grey.
As if that's not enough to be getting on with but after rejuvenating the look of Village Leathers in terms of branding it made us start thinking about how we can redesign our shops in Covent Garden to make it the best possible experience for our customers. So that’s the next project sorted. Expect some redevelopments in the Convent Garden stores over the next year.
So, as you can imagine, it's quite an undertaking to roll out our new branding across the shop and our online platforms under our own steam. It will take us a little while to complete the change over but we’ll try and make it as smooth as possible for all our customers. We’re really happy with how the project turned out and we’d love to hear what you think of it too.