pantone logo

What is the common point between a T-shirt, a wall, a cup of coffee, a bike and even a mood? They can all be distinguished by their color. And this is why Pantone decided to turn color into a global brand, seen as a universal standard. Founded in the USA in the 60’s, the company first aimed to provide a specific niche of professionals with the appropriate materials related to color. Today, the brand’s promise would better be to provide any individual with an open window to creativity. A promise confirmed by the brand’s line, “The color of ideas”. And the company itself, through the launch of thousand of derivative products and services, shows how ideas can emerge from anywhere and develop themselves in successful marketing concepts.

From fashion co-branding with retail giants like Uniqlo or Gap to a line of interior design products (chairs, mugs, bedding,…) or hospitality with its own hotel in Brussels, customers have now unlimited possibilities to Pantonise their lifestyle.

The brand, whose concept is infinitely adaptable, evolves in an era where everything can be branded and every brand can diversify its activity without questioning its legitimacy (fashion magazine Vogue opening cafes). A color is universal and putting a trademark or a logo on it can, at first, be strange to conceive. But the latest “craziness” was to use a branded color to sell food and drinks, attracting always more trend seekers, in the pop-up Pantone cafe in Monaco.

Customers could enjoy a specifically colored coffee, sandwich, patisserie, and the matter was not the quality or the origin of the ingredients (it was not in partnership with a specific caterer, or at least there was not any communication about it) but the specific color code associated to it. The company managed to totally conceptualize the vital fact of eating, by deviating food retailers from their essential aim.


Pantone is hence a gold mine idea that can adapt to anything that has a color, and be sold as a product. It is the company that found a way to express a creative idea, a perception, thanks to a specific code that is understood by everyone on the planet. A kind of Esperanto of design. Not only did the colorist build a successful brand story with its own products, but it became one of the most important tools for any other brand to build its identity and be recognizable worldwide through color (if capable to reproduce to up to 90% Yves Klein’s International Blue, it also makes McDonald’s logo’s red and yellow undoubtedly recognizable worldwide). And this unique source of creativity through color has turned into a global design force.

PANTONMARSALAAs a strong brand, Pantone also decided to lead the speech and establish further its legitimacy by self-proclaiming itself trend setter. Indeed, each year in December the Pantone’s Color Of The Year is out, based on the world’s temperature and social and cultural trends. Every winter we attend a massive color buzz on social media, and whole industries (decoration, fashion, design, packaging…) start developing new ideas and products following this creative order (2015’s Marsala, seen as a unifying element, definitely added “warmth, richness, sophistication and natural earthiness” to our home and wardrobe).

As a thriving, leading brand, Pantone understood the major change in consumers’s habits and wishes, and stepped into one-to-one, personalized strategy. Indeed, it communicates on every form of social media (facebook, instagram, twitter,…) incepting trends in each individual’s mind and making itself available to help any design or personal project. More than selling any kind of products, it has developed a real brand culture and has stepped into people’s everyday life by telling colorful stories, by influencing decision-making processes.

Many brands adopt diversification as a development strategy, but not many – if none, manage to become as global, universal, and always able to reinvent itself in new industries. Even further, not many brands manage to appropriate themselves an entire sensory field! So, even if Pantone managed to brand the color of a sandwich or an orange juice, when will it associate a color to a smell, a taste, a dream? After all, the concept is infinitely adaptable, isn’t it?


Discovered on the shelves of another “conceptual food and drinks retailer”/coffee shop around Shoreditch in London, Lemonaid+ is nothing like other natural flavored, minimalistic designed juice brands. Indeed, this one creates and promotes a truly new drinking idea, as each bottle contains only organic and fair trade ingredients, in order to dignify farmers (and they go themselves meet the farmers and check around).

The product itself is quite simple. 3 colors for 3 tastes, lime, passion fruit and blood orange. Very transparent on the origin of ingredients, we realize at a glance what the German group of friends meant by being a social company. The lime juice contains only lime from Brazil, sugar cane from Paraguay, water, and that’s it.


The concept : The new social drinking

Alongside the beverage production activity, the idea was to establish a non-profit charity, and each bottle is seen as a little contribution to a better world. So far, £560,000 have been raised by the organisation to help develop aid projects around the world.



For customers to notice and differentiate the products, to understand the concept and to feel close to the brand’s mission (to change society), vision (everyone can contribute to the creation of a better world, even while consuming), and values (simplicity, quality, eco-friendliness and nature, solidarity), branding plays here a key role. From this perspective, the strategy adopted by the German trio is quite interesting. First the name, Lemonaid+, which sounds like “lemonade” but lets us read the brand’s vocation straight away (lemon or lemonade can bring help and save lives). The “plus” can be seen as a way to emphasis the idea that we can/should always do more, help more. This is also shown on the brand’s social media pages, #myutopia, #drinkinghelps.

The bottles, made of glass, are very simple. Basic nutritional information and short story-telling is displayed in white and is easy to read, which shows the will for transparency. Same strategy is adopted for the website, in which we can discover the three different bottles and the story, the vocation of the brand thanks to straight-forward, neutral, short sentences, in black on white, with some green highlights (to always remind the reader of the “nature-oriented” positioning).



The website doesn’t only promote the drink, it also presents the different actions that have been led since the raise of funds. The latest is the “St Pauli Refugee Welcome Space”, based in Hamburg, which provides refugees with living, chilling areas, free drinks, legal advise, play spaces for kids, German courses…

Lemonaid+ became a multi-brand that manufactures and supplies goods, organizes events, creates communities, manages online and offline content in order to spread the good, saving word.

A good, healthy drink, made for a noble cause, with a relevant design and communication scheme.




Multiplex by Tom Dixon


It’s a year full of rich ideas for British king of design Tom Dixon. After successful co-brandings with chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, Greenwich peninsula or the new Mondrian Hotel in London, he just came up with a new concept, adapting his vision and talent to the retail industry this time. Taking place right between the London Fashion Week, the London Design Festival, the BFI London Film Festival and the Frieze art fair and located in the Old Selfridges Hotel for no more than a month, this pop-up space, in partnership with Wallpaper*, aims to rethink, reshape the idea of shopping, opening a window to tomorrow’s department stores.

First impressions are contradictory, catching the wanderer’s attention  and arousing his curiosity at first sight: dark but sparkling, down-to-heart but surreal. All the walls are covered with simple pieces of aluminium, mixed with the raw, NY loft style concrete that the artist has always enjoyed working with. With such an atmosphere, all our senses are awake and ready to live the experience. And the careful choice of goods and services’ brands only makes it better. From technology to food or art, everything we need is gathered there.

On arrival, a proud partnership with luxury car brand Aston Martin welcomes the visitors. With a mini-exhibition on the brand’s heritage and craftsmanship and one of the top sport models  exhibited, it was an ingenious and unconventional way for Aston Martin to reinforce its brand image, claiming innovation, technology, design, luxury, savoir-faire.

Once upstairs, a succession of conceptual corners teases all ours senses. It feels like losing the notion of space, being at the heart of the action at every little corner. Hand made black and white charcoal, perfume, sunglasses, coffee, working space, design lamps, clothes, all the brands match each other and offer a unique shopping experience.

To quote Tom Dixon himself, “the high streets are fighting a losing battle against the shift to online shopping, while eyewatering rents for prime locations squeeze traditional stores even further. It is time to radically rethink how these spaces can become relevant again in a digitally-defined future”. Indeed, to cope with this upcoming threat of increasing online shopping and reduction of possibilities for physical shopping experience, the visionary designer came up with a prototype that will allow people to work, eat, play, shop, get cultured , party, and express themselves and their emotion under a same roof. A gold mine for the brands represented within such a space, as the store itself plays the role of a communication support to help brands implementing a good, old marketing method, the AIDA strategy (grab the Attention, build Interest, create Desire, generate Action). Andy Warhol already planned it 40 years ago, “all department stores will become museum (cabinet of cultural curiosities) and all museums will become department store”… And if we anticipate the future and its technologies, Dixon certainly offers a much deeper experiment than immersing customers in a virtual shop through 3D lenses.

Multiplex gathering an important yet eclectic crowd off Oxford street in London, we can only wonder when such a “concept” store will open its doors for real. While awaiting, we will still be able to enjoy the brand new Tom Dixon showroom opening in November in New York City.