Responses from Michael Greenblatt, head of design, Redscout
Background: Redscout recently teamed up with master barber Michael Haar to help him build his brand for a new barbershop in New York City: Haar & Co. Channeling Haar’s unique personal style, we set out to develop a distinct brand identity that nods to geometric art deco forms of the past, while bringing in contemporary sensibilities.
Reasoning: Haar’s vision was inspired by his travels through Italy. Though we were drawing inspiration from the rich history of the New York and the Italian barber trade, we didn’t want Haar & Co.’s aesthetic to feel like a throwback. We had to create a brand that was both foreign and familiar, preserving the tradition of the corner barbershop and the unique social experience of being in the barber’s chair, while appealing to today’s modern customer.
Challenges: We had to maintain a visual system that worked cohesively across a physical environment—from window signage to the barber chairs themselves—while giving it the flexibility to be playful. There were practical considerations too, like designing a floor mosaic before the brand identity was finished, because we needed to source the materials and meet construction deadlines.
Favorite details: The special quality of the entire barbershop. From business cards with gold foil to hand-painted window signage, every detail elevates the guest experience and brings together all of the unique and handcrafted touches that went into making sure the space is beautiful and inviting. We knew we wanted to put the logo on the tile floor, and Haar embraced and executed every facet of the design vision.
Visual influences: Rather than turning to specific places or people for inspiration, we tried to harness the essence of Haar himself—in his love of 1930’s art deco, his signature mustache and his musical preferences. In the end, it’s all about Haar and highlighting his personality, craft and passion.
Anything new: Being immersed in the physical execution and seeing everything come to life at street level gave us more appreciation for the design process. As the team explored typographic routes for the logo, we also studied vintage Tuscan posters and Italian street signage, and came to a broader understanding of what this period was all about.