Yuyi Grows is a carnivorous plant Nursery from the San Francisco Bay Area. Beginning as a hobby, this family-owned and operated greenhouse transformed into a business after high demand for sales led them to take their passion for plants in a new direction.
Michael Kong, owner of the greenhouse, asked us to design a logo incorporating a mermaid holding a carnivorous plant. Below, you can see the initial concept brought to us by Michael, and how it was transformed into the final product.
*Note that we don’t typically share funny sketches given to us by our clients but Michael has graciously allowed us to use this for entertainment purposes.
We reworked the logo quite a few times during the sketching process, exploring different hair, positions of the tail, and placement of the business title. The initial prompt included Yuyi the Mermaid sitting in a chair, but for the sake of simplicity we dropped that idea fairly early into the exploration phase. There were also a few versions where she had facial features but we agreed that every expression we gave her felt distracting to the rest of the components, so we decided to omit facial features as well.
The final logo took a while to design. We pushed the level of small elements far beyond what we typically would due to scalability issues. It required a lot of push and pull to create a logo with tiny elements that was still visible when scaled down, but we believe we struck a pretty successful balance!
We opted for white planes with a 2-point-wide outline stroke to establish their boundaries. We used Object Expand and a combination of the Pathfinder and Shape Builder tools in Adobe Illustrator to convert the outline to basic negative space. What this means is that if the logo is placed over a pattern, the empty space between the white planes will reveal the background elements. This is important when sending files to production for shirts and merchandise.
Yuyi Grows’ brand utilizes three font families: Audrielle No 1, Abril Display, and Poppins. Audrielle No 1 is the font found in the official logo. We chose this one because it slightly resembled Michael’s handwriting. We also wanted to give it a luxurious, autographic aesthetic, as if Yuyi the Mermaid signed it herself.
Abril Display is used for headings and Poppins is used for long-reading body text. Abril Display was chosen because of its ornamentation, such as on the tail of the letter y (see above). It also acted as a bridge between Audrielle No 1 and Poppins, giving it a smooth transition from ornate to functional.
The icon set recycles as many components from the logo as possible in order to reinforce the visual language. Using elements such as the leaf from the pitcher plant on the greenhouse and the shopping bag tie the individual pieces together.
In addition to the icon set, we also created a few illustrative patterns to create background textures on printed and digital marketing materials. These background patterns are designed to work as an accent piece to complement the other visual elements, as well as reinforce the artistic tone of the overall brand. The sample above serves as a scroll-based animation on Yuyi Grow’s website. (A case study about the website will be coming soon!)
Receiving feedback along the way is very important to developing a successful brand. In addition to our team’s input, we tested the brand with many of Michael’s colleagues from his MBA program at Carnegie Mellon, as well as a professor who specializes in branding. While we were happy to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback, we received some very helpful critiques that helped guide us—especially in the product development stage, which we will discuss in our next case study.
Yuyi Grows has established brand loyalty and recognition throughout the carnivorous plant community. While they were already very well-known, these tools gave them the competitive edge needed to amplify their presence in the market. They have since begun fulfilling digital sales of plants and branded products, increasing their revenue and solidifying their place in the carnivorous plant market.