Sergeant Walnuts, a Manchester-based creative agency, has worked with local coffee startup Oddy Knocky to develop a brand for its emerging business. Founded on the belief that “great coffee should be one of life’s simple pleasures”, the company promises to provide brilliant brews without all of the “cheerless chin-stroking” that can be found at most hip coffee brands.
“Yes, we’re passionate about the quality of our beans, and we’re fastidious when it comes to roasting them,” explains Oddy Knocky founder Matt Whitehead. “But we do it whilst having some fun along the way.”
After bringing Sergeant Walnuts on board, the first task for the agency was to find a name for the brand. Drawing inspiration from Whitehead’s DIY attitude, and his belief in unfiltered self-expression, the team landed on ‘Oddy Knocky’, a phrase taken from the film A Clockwork Orange, and originally stemming from the Russian language. As well as having a nice ring when coupled with the word ‘coffee’, the phrase actually means ‘to go on one’s own’ or ‘to be independent’, which spoke perfectly to the brand’s ethos.
For the brand’s visual identity, the Sergeant Walnuts team again looked to the Oddy Knocky spirit to guide their creativity. “Having themes of independence, playfulness and accessibility was always mandatory,” says Richard Attwater, managing director of Sergeant Walnuts. “But our job was also to ensure the brand felt premium, and reflected the high-quality beans sourced for all of the Oddy Knocky variants. Finding that right balance was always at the forefront of our minds.”
As a result, the branding embraces an aesthetic that is at once playful and thoughtful. Most notably, the custom typeface for the brand uses bold, groovy letterforms that evoke a retro feel. The ‘o’ and ‘d’ in particular appear to draw on the type used for the title of A Clockwork Orange on posters and other promotional material. They are exaggerated, eye-catching, and bring lots of personality to the identity.
Meanwhile, the brand’s colour palette takes the grooviness of the typeface and dials it down slightly, retaining a professional, premium feel that Attwater says was key for Oddy Knocky. Predominantly black and white, occasional pops of orange again allude to the iconic A Clockwork Orange posters, playing on the brand name, while other brighter hues – used sparingly on the stickers – draw attention to the different blends.
The variety of blends on offer was another factor that Sergeant Walnuts took into account when designing the brand. “Oddy Knocky launches with eight initial coffee variants on offer, but with many more to come, so they needed to consider a packaging architecture system that provided great flexibility, and the ability to talk about multiple flavour profiles and places of origin,” explains Attwater. “Sergeant Walnuts also designed various mailer boxes, allowing Oddy Knocky to distribute direct-to-consumer (as well as via their B2B channels, serving independent coffee shops, restaurants and hotels).”
Speaking on the success of the project, Whitehead praised the agency’s vision. “What’s truly remarkable is how I embarked on this journey with a blank canvas and concluded with a brand that perfectly reflects what we’re all about as a business,” he said. “They’ve meticulously crafted and sculpted our new brand, which encapsulates our belief that people should pour their own path, and brew in the face of boring.”