Responses by Freddie Sheridan, director, Sheridan&Co
Background: The male grooming category is set to become a burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry. In fact, male-centric cosmetics are moving from the dressing tables of drag queens to the “everyday man.” That said, the act of wearing makeup has become an almost exclusively female pursuit and an idea that is quite terrifying to the modern “everyday” man. Can branding and product positioning change this? Sheridan&Co thinks so and believes that male makeup can in fact be “reclaimed.”
Reasoning: The Y Code is a new brand and product concept created by global design agency Sheridan&Co that aims to repurpose male cosmetics for the “everyday man.” The aim is to offer an accessible and inclusive premium cosmetics solution not currently serviced by existing brands on the market.
Challenges: Drawing on market analysis, trends in male cosmetics over the past two years and over 30 years expertise in the general cosmetics industry, Sheridan&Co had to make an opportunity to create a concept cosmetics brand for men that, in a sense, “reclaimed” the act of wearing makeup.
Favorite details: That the Y Code represents a new approach to branding male cosmetics. The name was specifically selected to address the very DNA of masculinity, reclaiming a stake in a female-centric market with a proposition that evokes the anthropological significance of male make-up, and presenting it in a relevant and modern way.
Branding of The Y Code is expressed simply as Y alongside an individual code denoting hue or product type. Linear graphics that cut through the Y across and diagonally give a certain scientific feel to the packaging aesthetic, while the external packaging, presented as matchboxes, label the product simply as “The Code.” The font is bold, industrial looking and bleeds off the side the edges for a utilitarian feel.
Visual influences: Terms like “guyliner” put ordinary men off cosmetic trial and experimentation. It’s clear that functionality must sit at the forefront of brand language and identity. Currently, the male cosmetics market is almost exclusively serviced by premium brands with a luxury price tag, targeting the independently wealthy modern man. As social norms change, male cosmetics may eventually become more accessible as it becomes more widely acceptable and commonplace.