the new expression of craft

posted by

Gary Chung

thoughts from Gary and Terry / expression team

with the incredible boom of craft brands over the last 10 years, everything from meticulously made microbrews and coffees to high-end farm-to-table restaurants seems to have been crafted in some way or another.

walk down any aisle and you can’t miss it – the thoughtfully hand-touched look and feel, stamped textures, illustrations, and vintage-type treatments, all borrowing from the visual codes and cues of the past and speaking directly to consumers’ desires for something that’s been authentically, passionately made with care.

for brands both big and small, the craft trend has been truly inescapable. but along the way, the original meaning has ironically lost its authenticity. in a desire to stand out and reflect their craft values, more brands are getting lost in a sea of sameness and failing to convey what truly makes them unique. craft is being commoditized.

consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of being sold to, and one can argue the craft movement has become exactly what it was a reaction to in the first place – a clichéd marketing trick. this means that creating a distinctive, meaningful expression that authentically speaks to what’s at the heart of a brand and its values is now more important than ever.

we’re seeing the emergence of a purer, stripped-down aesthetic where less is more. designs that favor a clean, direct approach to visual and verbal expression that are striking in their simplicity. a considered sense of space free from clutter and marketing fluff. fresher, more distinctive usage of graphic and illustration styles that bring to life the unique personalities and spirit of their brands.

furthermore (and this is something we address as creatives at cm), we must define how a brand behaves, what it says, and what it does across the whole brand ecosystem. this is essential to its expression beyond the visual appearance.

the appreciation of artisanal brands, products, and experiences is here to stay. the need for a fresher, truer, more modern interpretation of craft is essential for any of these brands to continue to thrive by driving meaningful relationships with the evolving craft consumer.