Design Nuggets January - bored edition

Usually January is filled with fresh motivation, good intentions and exciting plans for the new year ahead. This year, a lot of us might be feeling pretty deflated, facing another lockdown instead, ugh.

We know it’s for the best though, so instead of touting annoying and overly positive motivation, for this month’s nuggets, I thought I’d embrace the boredom.

So if you’re feeling a bit fed up, here are a couple of nuggets to help break up this endless groundhog day! (But stay positive too).

Baskin-Robbins rebrand (mmm)

We are huge ice cream fans, and big Baskin-Robbins fans at that. I love trying new flavours - anything with chocolate in it please! And Daniel is a devout Banana Caramel fan which is one of Baskin's core flavours.

So back in May, 9 weeks into the first lockdown, the ice cream deprivation must've gotten to us with our local scoop shop being closed because we decided to do a rapid rebrand challenge in 30 minutes.

Individually, we carried out a 30 minute rebrand of Baskin-Robbins and then reconvened to critique our results (click thumbnail for video).

Disclaimer: obviously, a proper rebrand would take months, this was just a fun exercise that touched on some of the points we normally hit on when working on a branding project.

We missed out the client interaction, a lot of research, strategy, thinking, development, refinement and a lot of other important factors. Plus, we looked only really at refreshing the logo in isolation, rather than the brand as a whole. 

Still, we did draw some interesting conclusions from the 30 minute exercise (and we got to look at a lot of tasty ice cream while doing it). Here are some of the points we realised int he process:

  • We didn’t want to lose the heritage and meaning behind the brand when creating the new logo.
  • Baskin-Robbins didn’t need a full rebrand, a lot of the core brand themes are really strong. It could do with a visual update and a more consistent style accross the brand.
  • The '31' integration and reference to the original flavours is such a nice part of the brand that should be kept. 

Why are we looking back at this side bar project from May 2020?

Well, design agency JKR have just actually worked with Baskins to refresh the brand. While they were most definitely working on this long before our side bar, I thought the synchronicity was cool.

JKR’s rebrand celebrates the '31' concept with custom flavour illustrations centered around the form of 31. And utilises the flavour illustrations individually in graphics and communications. The rebrand includes a custom typeface and it also emboldens Baskin’s signature pink and blue brand colours, while also introducing some new, flavour inspired colours into their messaging.

Check out Dieline's look at the rebrand.

Side note: Baskins is staying open this lockdown, so everyone can still get their ice cream fix! Phew.

IKEA’s delightful back library of catalogs 

Oh yeah, all the way back to the 1950’s. There’s mid century goodness and cringey 90s to be had!

I came across this gem in a Bloomberg article, and you can access the back catalog in all of it’s glory on the IKEA Museum website.

This isn’t all strictly design related, but it is fun to look at the weird furniture from the 50s and 60s.

Design wise, there are a few stand out cover designs where the designer has tried to do something unique as Ikea discover its signature cover style we know today. Plus it’s really interesting to look back to see how the IKEA brand has changed (and in some ways stayed very much the same), over the decades.

It’s like a brand time machine!

So, here is a taster of the treats to be discovered: 


Firstly just look at this cover. The simplicity of it is really satisfying to look at, and the black backdrop to the vibrant seat fabric really caught my eye in the line up of covers. This makes the usual IKEA cover style, especially the more modern covers, look hectic.

This rug. I just want to appreciate these funky circle and geometric rug designs.

Creepy curtains. Before we move on, look at these too frilly curtains. Why are they so creepy?


Horror film poster or IKEA catalogue cover?

This advert. In English, the text reads ‘is it possible to make good furniture at low prices?’. Maybe a little obvious, but the white space in the crowded catalogue really stands out.

Nice font, bad form. This guy is definitely going in the right direction for a sore back. But look at those price tags, IKEA still use the same style today!


This cover isn’t as stand out as the last two, but it’s still a serene break from the busyness of the modern day cover style.

Duvet chair. I don’t know about those patterns, but that duvet looking chair is kind of funky!

Pure 90's goodness. Who doesn’t love a 90’s pattern? Gotta love those blues, pinks and purples too.

More 90's patterns. The floral and bus seat-esque patterns here haven’t dated well, but the retro vibes in the far right splash style pattern is pretty cool.

Wallpaper of regret. Lastly, a moment of silence for everyone who fitted these textured wallpapers and lived to regret it.

See the full catalogue on the IKEA Museum website, and burn away at least a few minutes of lockdown perusing (or just enjoying the weirdness of styles of the past.

That’s it for this month! I hope you found some entertainment here to brighten your lockdown times.