In our previous case study, Yuyi Grows Part 1: Branding, we wrote about our experience working with Yuyi Grows to create a logo and brand for their carnivorous plant nursery. After their successful branding helped build recognition and loyalty among their audience, they began discussing the idea of launching a merchandise product line to accompany their plants.
The idea began as a joke, with us tossing around a few goofy ideas and keeping a list on my phone in case we were to follow through with any of them. In the end, we determined that we should probably create a less witty product, and stick to something that would appeal more universally to the carnivorous plant community, rather than limiting our audience to those who share the same humor as us.
Relationship to Brand
Early in the process, we had to decide how this product would exist within the parent brand, whose visual identity only consists of grayscale graphic elements. We wanted to create a product that was more expressive and fun, with an artistic flare, rather than a marketing asset. This led us to carefully consider an alternative color palette exclusively for this product line—and not for the parent brand.
We had to be strategic when picking the color palette, limiting it to only five colors to keep printing costs within budget. This was no problem for us because we often find that working within production constraints (within reason) can enhance the creative process because it forces you to achieve the desired effect in a careful and calculated way that you may not have if you had unlimited resources.
The final two shirt designs were derived from the sketches shown above. There was, however, a lot of exploration that took place between the initial sketches and these, and then again between these sketches and the final vector graphics that went to production.
The Bog Shirt (left), features Sarracenia, Sun Dew, and Venus Fly Traps, each sitting in a terracotta pot. The Nepenthes Shirt (right) features a variety of nepenthes pitcher plants sitting on a shelf in terracotta pots as well. These were originally going to be in hanging baskets (shown below—row 2, sketch 2) but we scrapped that idea after hitting several dead ends when determining the layout for each plant.
We also sketched a large portion of the plants individually so they could be used in a variety of applications, such as stickers. Above are several different sketches of different nepenthes, as well as a shirt outtake that became a sticker (the last sketch containing a frog).
The shirts were a hit, selling online and in-person at plant shows. Of course everyone selling Yuyi Grows merchandise got a shirt or two! Michael Kong, owner of Yuyi Grows (on the far right in the photo above) is wearing his Yuyi Grows branded tee-shirt, which are reserved for team members and not sold to customers.
Each of the individual assets were printed as stickers, which are sold individually or in sets. They also ordered a round of stickers with the Yuyi Grows logo on it to pack in online orders that they ship.