Branding a tiny food company for tiny humans.
The folks at Tiny approached us at a very unique time in our life journey. They were building an all organic, pre-made, ready to (h)eat baby food company and we just had a baby that, believe it or not, ate food. It seemed like the stars had aligned for a minute and we joked that they could pay us in baby food. Which, as all parents already know, is a small fortune. They ended up paying us in US dollars and baby food so it all worked out.
Anyway, they approached us with the idea that they really wanted to break into the high end baby market, think Maisonette, Rylee + Cru, Gathre, etc. After all they were hand making hundreds of individual meals that were scientifically perfected to make sure your child is getting the best nutrients and diverse flavors, so why not lean into the fancy schmancy vibe?
We went to town making some marks that felt elegant and whatnot but when we presented them something didn’t sit right with the Tiny team. Maybe going the elegant route was too exclusive? Too snobby? They asked us to take another stab at it and maybe aim for more of a “Target fancy” vibe. Clean, simple, fun, and accessible.
Side note: Something I struggle with constantly when making logos/brands is how do you boil something down to the simplest it can be while still being unique? I had one client accuse me of “just picking a typeface” and it kinda ruined me forever. Can I just use a simple sans serif and call it a day? Can I use circular? No, you can never use circular.
We ended up leaning into simple (and colorful) geometric letterforms that have a playful and youthful quality to them. The full mark is actually a mashup of two typefaces: Andes & Chalet. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m some sort of custom typographer. I’d rather use the tools that other people-who are much better than me at this very particular thing-created.
I might just be old but alphabet soup inherently brings back that childhood vibe for me so when we were working on the brand I thought wouldn’t it be so cool if the logo could sort of break apart and look like it was floating in soup? This ended up being a fun bonus brand element that they could use on their packaging, lunch boxes, business cards, social media, mailers, ads, magazines, really anywhere honestly.
Speaking of magazines, the folks at Tiny were interested in not only creating meals for kids but also teaching the parents on how to feed them and best practices for introducing new foods. And until you become a parent you really have no idea how stressful introducing solids can be. We’re talking like hours of research stressful. But the day your kid can eat cheerios is equivalent to the perfect balance cheat code in Tony Hawk pro skater II (The one with FDR and Love Park, obviously.)
So we wanted to come up with a really fun system for zines or brochures that they could self publish and send out quarterly inside of the shipments that were already being sent out. This is also a fun way to introduce new flavors or tell your customers about new offerings that feels a little more natural and a little less car salesperson-y.
Here’s a snippet of some copy we wrote:
Parenting is tough — and right when you start to get the hang of things, your little one starts eating solids. But how do you know which foods are best for your baby? And how will you find time to prep all the perfect meals?
You’re not the only parent in search of better baby food. That’s why we started Tiny Organics. We want to make it easier to feed your baby the best, fresh food. So leave all the shopping and chopping to us — and spend more time sharing meals with your kid.
We can make a mess like no ones business.
When we were coming up with the magazine concept we came up with a bunch of fun lines like: Finger foods for tiny taste buds and Solids are hard. Tiny is easy. So we decided to build those into a campaign type thing where we could feature all kinds of kids just going to town on their Tiny meals. This was a fun concept because it could grow and become hyper localized as they launched into a new city. They could roll in and do a simple one day photoshoot on a bright color seamless background where they tell the locals they are supplying free finger foods for little ones to try and once that shit hits the Mama chat you’d better be prepared to feed the whole squad. Then you could take pictures of those cute kids munching and making a mess and put them up on posters all over the city. Who doesn’t love a messy faced baby?? Me. I do not. I do not enjoy messes. Especially food messes.
Tour de Tiny
Another fun idea we presented in pre-pandemic times is that they could rent one of those vending bike things and pull up to popular parks and playgrounds around the city. We called it “Tour de Tiny.” Just one of those fun little presentation snippets that everyone in the room says, “Awwww that’s a good idea we love it, we should totally do that!” But deep down we all know it will never get made, that’s advertising baby. :Finger guns:
Mama mia! More totes?!
Like every brand that has ever existed we decided to make some dope totes. As a parent, you need totes. Totes are equivalent to currency. I live in a house constructed of totes. My child sleeps in a tote bag with two leg holes cut in it. Just kidding.
Anyway, this jam was created as a little love letter to my family. Chara was firmly in the I wanna be called Mama camp so when working on a kid brand mainly focused at mamas why not make a 60’s typography inspired mama tote bag? I had a ton of fun making this wiggly wobbly type too. I think I even used the batshit insane fish warp in illustrator. Deff the one you click and you think to yourself, “Truly, who the hell would ever use this?”
After the branding part of the project ended the folks at Tiny took everything we made and really ran with it. They worked with the amazing Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves on brand photography and Juliette Kim on the packaging. Handing off a brand to other creatives feels like sending a kid off to college, it’s nerve-racking, it’s exciting, and it never turns out the way you expect. Some things blow your mind, other pieces feel different than how you’d envisioned, but ultimately this ain’t art, its business. So you just let that baby brand leave the nest, and watch it grow into something bigger than you ever imagined.
$11M — That’s a lot of baby food
Fun little extra tidbit, in June 2021 Tiny closed a series A raising $11M to scale its team, build brand and customer awareness, and expand product lines in the future. Read more about it on Forbes.
Way to go team Tiny!!