Responses by Thierry Brunfaut, creative director/partner, Base Design
Background: The purpose was to re-position and re-brand the 170–year old Brussels watch retailer and jewelry luxury house Maison De Greef 1848. When Brussels became a true crossroads of Europe, Maison De Greef’s audience changed, now including a mix of loyal local customers and high-end international travelers. The brand aimed to keep this local feel, but project a new global aura.
Reasoning: The main objectives were to create a conceptual and graphic solution that would be timeless and contemporary—keeping the “family spirit” alive and delivering a more coherent perception of the brand’s legacy of innovation and craftsmanship. We took a holistic and more disciplined approach with the brand, ensuring that it could remain consistent and precise as a clock, while still being playful, which suits the brand personality.
Challenges: For over a century and a half, Maison De Greef 1848 has operated as a merchant, focusing on its retail presence and high quality interpersonal relationships. However, the digital age of e-commerce and global customers required reframing its point of view to be more of a holistic brand vision. Since there is a deep family history associated with the brand, it was vital to balance the intertwined relationship of tradition and innovation.
Favorite details: The essential yet elegant design of the range of Maison De Greef 1848 packaging. The idea is simple: wrap the boxes, cases and bags with the new logo in different sizes. The result is iconic, and yet there’s a beautiful abstract quality in the finished package.
Anything new: We learned that every client is different and in need of a customized solution. We do a lot in the luxury sector, where there is often a focus on the aspirational and perfection, but the Belgian-based Maison De Greef 1848 was a different kind of luxury client. We had to adapt and review some of the pre-conceptions we had on branding in luxury by embracing its point of view: luxury must be a warm one-to-one human-centered experience.
Alternative approach: Spend less time in the initial strategy or conceptual stages and move to concrete proposals more quickly.