Magnolia Bakery Gets Rebranded by Jones Knowles Ritch’s Lisa Smith

It’s hard to remember life in 1996. It was a time when no one cared about cupcakes; they were the inexpensive dessert brought into children’s classrooms to celebrate a birthday. And the prospect of sending someone a cupcake would have been absurd.

But then Carrie Bradshaw ate a cupcake on sex in the city– specifically, a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery in New York’s West Village – and the world changed. Not only has Magnolia become an international sensation and a must-visit destination for tourists; it also helped kick off the viral baked goods revolution, which has given us everything from cronuts to rainbow bagels.

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

Over these 25 years, Magnolia Bakery has been sold and expanded to include 10 owned and 25 franchise locations worldwide. Sold back to the developers behind Hudson Yards in 2021, Magnolia Bakery is now as much a bakery as it is an empire.

Yet while Magnolia’s cupcakes have stood the test of time, its brand image has remained stuck in another era.

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

Thanks to platforms like Goldbelly, fine dining is less of a destination and more of a deliverable, something you spot on Instagram and then order online. But until this week, Magnolia’s branding centered around a brick-and-mortar bakery.

Now, Magnolia has revealed a whimsical new brand identity developed by creative consultancy Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR). It includes a new logo, wordmark and packaging to ship Magnolia’s merchandise nationwide.

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

“We’re still the same favorite neighborhood bakery, but it’s taken on new meaning for us as a company,” says Eddie Revis, chief marketing officer of Magnolia Bakery, referring to the company’s direct-to-consumer offering. , which launched last October. year, and its increased presence on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

The sweet new visual strategy

The crown jewel of the new brand is its logo. It’s a monogram M inspired by the Magnolia cupcake – a carefully marked object in itself, frosted with a seemingly casual swirl that is actually trademarked by the company and takes up to 40 hours of study to perfect. JKR has translated the flourish of frosting into graphics, surrounding the M with five swirls that sprout before your eyes in animated versions.

The brand is an intentional “bite of whimsical delight,” according to Lisa Smith, executive creative director at JKR and the mastermind behind Burger King’s beloved rebrand. The Magnolia logo, like so many from the brand, is a playful excess that sets you up for a sugar bomb.

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

The new wordmark, however, is much more restrained than the previous iteration, which featured swirls on nearly every letter. The updated version is more stately, rocking its sweet tooth just on the letters g and O.

“We wanted to modernize it and make it dynamic,” says Smith. “The wordmark can be straight, stacked or arched; he has a lot of flexibility [for social media]. And if you make every letter have flourishes, it gets too complicated. . . . We needed that balance of hard work [legibility] and just enough fantasy.

Indeed, it’s easy to imagine how much easier this flexible wordmark can be inserted into social media posts or on signs of different sizes. (Although my only qualm with the new wordmark is that the “MA” of “Magnolia” looks a bit like that of Italian restaurant chain Maggiano.)

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

As for the brand’s updated color palette: it’s directly inspired by West Village decor and, just as importantly, its famous bakeries. The green (which the company now dubs simply “Magnolia Green”) was copied from the walls of the bakery. The blue came from the awnings of the building. Her other pastels were taken directly from Magnolia’s cupcakes, except for the yellow, which is from her popular banana pudding.

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

Ship a cake-filled dollhouse

Since one of the main reasons for the rebranding was Magnolia’s push into the direct-to-consumer segment (it launched local and national shipping in October 2021), the design team deployed considerable effort to build the right box, especially one that doesn’t ‘I don’t feel like another bland DTC brand.

“One of the very early things. . . we had this idea that we wanted to pack up the bakery and bring it to your door,” Smith says. “A little slice of that cult New York brand that everyone’s seen on sex in the city. How could we bring this piece of magic no matter where you are in the country? »

[Image: ™ & © Magnolia Bakery/courtesy Jones Knowles Ritchie]

They chose to transform the corrugated box into a sort of Magnolia Bakery dollhouse, complete with windows, curtains and a brick stand. The design is a nifty trick that requires nothing more than a color of ink (reminiscent of those toy-shaped shipping boxes from Target), and it literally delivers Magnolia Bakery to your doorstep.

Meanwhile, magnolia stickers shaped like baroque mirrors from the store adorn the box. And when you open it, you’re greeted by a flurry of confetti paper before you find the baked goods inside. “It’s all the layers that build the eclecticisms we feel when we go to Magnolia Bakery,” Smith says.

The new branding will be rolling out starting next week, though it might be a while before you actually hold the new Magnolia packaging in your hands. Blame globalism. “As whimsical and fun as [the brand is]says Revis, “the world of Magnolia Bakery is not exempt from the supply chain issues that plague everyone.

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