The Wolf identity was originally designed by Duffy & Partners in 2001. Since then, Sub-Zero has expanded and innovated, so they sought the design expertise of Duffy & Partners to poise their brands for continued future growth. After 20 years, it was time to update the Sub-Zero identity to reflect the product innovations, growth, and advancements of the company. This update also presented an opportunity to make a better visual connection to Sub-Zero’s Wolf line of ovens.
Joe Duffy, Duffy & Partners Founder & Creative Director, had this to say about the partnership: “Following the lead of some of the best industrial and product designers in our country, our team was honored to continue the partnership. Inspired by their design values, we revitalized the Sub-Zero identity to better reflect just how far this brand has come. Now Sub-Zero and Wolf enjoy their shared kinship while today’s kitchens celebrate good design from the inside out.”
The new brand identity visually connects Wolf and Sub-Zero to enhance the position of beautifully designed products for the kitchen with superior quality. A Sub-Zero snowflake represents cold, while a Wolf flame symbolizes heat. Additionally, Duffy created the Sub-Zero Group identity as a means to brand the organization. Infusing the intrinsic values of product design into brand design, the new identities reflect a fresh, modern approach to innovation and quality.
The Creative Process
Duffy & Partners gave us a bit of insight into their creative process: “We began our process with a deep dive into the brand itself. We researched the brand, reviewed the product category and examined Sub-Zero’s qualities as well as equities. The goal was threefold: visually connect the product brands of Sub-Zero and Wolf, create a system for branding future innovations, and establish a corporate master brand. With a full understanding of the brand, we gathered imagery to build a visual brief—a visual guide for the revitalized expression. Once the client approved the visual brief and design principles, we began to design.”
To create the new logo, they began with the shape of the original logo and leveraged the equity of the “bowtie” containment device. They had this to say about the process: “We explored different versions of the identity and iconography. Some initial directions explored the expression of cold with snowflakes, stars and logotypes. It needed to be more culturally relevant, cuing The Sub-Zero Group’s advances in design and technology. Once we narrowed in on a direction, we refined it and expanded it across applications.”
The challenges faced were project specific and by better understanding the client, they were able to take the challenges head on: “Working with the metal badging for product applications was the biggest challenge. There was a lot of research done to determine what product badging and various applications worked. How did the logo work on metal as well as glass? How did it look on looked on printed materials and surfaces? What about a three-dimensional surface? It was detailed and carefully considered by both our design team and the client.”
Final Words Of Wisdom
Duffy & Partners left these final words of wisdom for fellow graphic designers: “Create a process for design and stick to it.”
We look forward to seeing more brand identity designs from Duffy & Partners in the future.