Natalie DuBose had just opened the doors to her dream: a charming bakery in Fergusion just several months before what could have been the end of her business.
Rising from the ashes of the Ferguson Riots, Natalie’s Cakes & More stole America’s heart. Business owner Natalie DuBose’s story brought in over $270k in monetary support worldwide. But the business lacked strong visual identity. I decided that was how I wanted to support her; providing pro bono creative services to strengthen her brand and its identity. The challenge here was time. Time is a designer’s best friend. Usually I’m working with several weeks to pull a design together. But for this? 8-9 hours. ‘Rush job’ is an understatement.
I had to dig through articles, tweets, GoFundMe comments, and Facebook reviews in order to nail this. It was a huge gamble. The option to decline my solution was there too. And man. When I do something I aim for the win, not the loss. Closing out my research I decided to make Natalie the focus of the logo. A strong liking to her was the throughline in the info gathered. And no one really said Natalie’s Cakes & More when referring to the business. It was just Natalie’s. The takeaway there was to continue supporting the shorthand and not force people to include ‘…Cakes & More’. I also wanted a visual system developed out of this. The mark needed to be flexible enough to accommodate the many needs of a bakery.
Brainstorming, Sketching, & Exploring
These were a few of the original pieces of collateral I was able to pull together for my brainstorming session. It wasn’t much, but it gave me everything I needed to start the project. Notice the emphasis on the name Natalie with Cakes and More taking a lower hierarchy. Natalie had the makings of a great logo here, it just required a little refinement.
Immediate ideas lead me to combining the ‘N’ letterform with a whisk. But I couldn’t get a recognizable mark out of that. No matter how I approached it, it wouldn’t take. It didn’t scale. It wasn’t flexible. The concept was entertaining but overtime you quickly learn entertaining/ good logo concepts have to be tested－you can’t just stop development there. You run the risk of the bottom falling out when the client needs the logo to do more for them down the road. And ‘N Whisk’ concept didn’t hold up.
Finding the Solution
I struck gold here. The signature mark felt right. It was personable and approachable. Now I had to determine if the entire business name got that treatment or just ‘Natalie’. Then I remembered my initial design thoughts: Natalie was the focus and I wanted to emphasize the shorthand. The visual and information hierarchy was important. I applied the signature mark treatment to ‘Natalie’s’ leaving ‘Cakes & More’ secondary yet still being an integral part of the business name and identity.
When I pulled this on the computer I decided I didn’t want the typography being responsible for providing all the information. As people we do well with basic shapes and don’t require a lot of complexity. We love simplicity. Just look at the icons on your phone. So I created a tiered cake icon to tie the logo together.
Tying It Altogether
Wrapping up, all the elements were combined into a single mark. Grand Hotel was the perfect font for this. It was calligraphy without the heavy decorative elements and serifs. And it was light and approachable. Everything else fell into place after that.
The stamp design came out of the idea that it could be printed on stickers used to seal boxes, printed on cake trays, or on the bottom of cupcake cups. The final result fulfilled the goal entirely, meeting the visual identity and system goals.
And the gamble paid off.
This is now the official logo of Natalie’s Cakes & More.