Collins / Brand ID & Packaging System Development

CLIENT: True Brands   ROLE: Creative Director  AGENCY: Yurika Creative

Collins Brothers, a purveyor of high quality barware tools and accessories has been in business for nearly 80 years. It first opened its doors in 1934, only a year after the end of the Prohibition. Though it's been a trusted go-to supplier for hard-working Americans, in the last few years Collins started losing its proud badge value and turned into a commodity. This led to a significant decline in sales. True Brands, a leading product designer of premium lifestyle accessories worldwide, has recently acquired Collins with a principal mission to elevate its market share as well as expand its brand equity beyond Chicago. Yuri Shvets Design was hired by Tru Brands to lead the rebrand initiative to help Collins strengthen its brand perception in the eye of the contemporary consumer and elevate its brand equity.

After doing some thorough research, it became clear to me that very few new customers knew of Collins' once glorious legacy. Also, the brand perception was hurting because its current visual identity and packaging looked too generic and soulless. In summary, it failed to emotionally connect with modern consumers, seeking authenticity and quality. I was determined to retell Collins unique story and revitalize its brand identity to help them regain its well-deserved status as a classic American brand. This was not a small task due to the fact, that we initially did not have any access to the historical documents and it was nearly impossible to find authentic Collins products from their golden era.

Recommended Design Direction: The Return of the Classic

The "a-ha" moment took place during my field trip to the rural antique mall, where I traveled in search of the classic products from the post-Prohibition era. There I've discovered the original beer can opener, manufactured by Collins Brothers in the early 30s. At that time the company was called Collinsware and it was spelled out in a distinctive hand-written script. This impression served as my primary inspiration for revitalization of Collins brand identity. I thought nothing would have been as authentic as traveling back in time and "resurrecting" something so intrinsic and uniquely their own as this original signature. Hence, I've channeled a new logo after this script, while making sure it felt modern and timeless at the same time.

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Packaging System Development

Once True Brands have approved the new logo, I've led the conceptualization and design of Collins Packaging System in tandem with their nimble and talented in-house design department. It was a Gargantuan team effort since Collins needed to relaunch over a hundred newly branded products. But the results were nothing short of impressive. We have created a cohesive and highly differentiating packaging system that has bold and confident shelf presence and elegant timeless design sensibilities. You can see the entire portfolio of Collins products by visiting collinschicago.com

I enjoyed working with Yuri on the Collins rebrand and learned a lot from the experience. He brought much more than graphic design to the project - he really dug into the essence of the Collins customer, working through several compelling visual stories until we landed on the perfect one. He even dug up artifacts from the brand’s past to use as authentic inspiration!
— Tatyana Dolgaya, Brand Consultant at True Brands / Collins
Image courtesy of True Brands

Image courtesy of True Brands

Image courtesy of True Brands

Image courtesy of True Brands

Image courtesy of True Brands

Image courtesy of True Brands

Image courtesy of True Brands

Image courtesy of True Brands

Preliminary Packaging System Design Exploratory

Preliminary Brand Identity Contenders / 

Concept 1: American Rebel

Preliminary Brand Identity Contenders / 

Concept 2: Working Class Barsenal

Preliminary Brand Identity Contenders / 

Concept 3: Tools for the Modern Alchemist

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