Cheryl Brown is sort of a community maven in Brooklyn, NY. From runway model to permaculturist, Cheryl created a role for herself as the friend with the magic green thumb, and the person to consult about natural home remedies and interior design. Combining her passions, Cheryl pursued her permaculture certification to turn her unique skillset into a business. She created Urban Permie, a company that teaches people how to use plants to empower themselves and their communities. We were very excited to help Cheryl create a visual identity that would reflect the principles of her practice and the human-centered process.
Urban Permie offers garden design services, guided tours, workshops, and home-made remedies as different lines of products. It was Cheryl’s desire to approach the brand as authentically as possible, to keep it relatable and user friendly and emphasize the DIY nature of permaculture.
We observed Cheryl in her element and watched her store herbs, pot plants, curate gardens, and share knowledge. All in a very comforting and ritualistic sequence, which inspired our vision of permaculture. The concepts we funneled down to was the idea of a “DIY organized eco-system.” Instinctively we connected with the old image of herbal almanacs and mason jars with handwritten labels. But we also needed to bring the image into the present and make it relevant for the current user. We chose to use a handwritten typeface for all titles and the logo, for a natural, realistic, felt-tip-marker look and feel. We paired that with a very modern and utilitarian san serif for subtitles and text.
Inspired by Cheryl’s ancestry and adventurous travel stories, we came up with a vibrant color scheme and a symbol system to code her product and service lines. The color palette speaks to natural fuels like sun, water, fruits, plants which are at the base of permaculture lifestyle. We reinforced that with powerful symbols inspired by the Adinkra writing system to pair concepts and offering. The yellow sun represents creativity and interdependency (workshops), the green hay bale represents regeneration and transformation (garden design), the coral blossom represents growth and care (home remedies), and the blue ripple represents community and influence (guided excursions).
The symbols provided ample opportunity to create patterns for a variety of design application from packaging to merchandising. They also created eye-catching moments at smaller scale, on business cards and pins. The home-made brand look and feel makes permaculture more fun, approachable, and less intimidating.