Roy Shvartzapel came to us with a bold, uncompromising mission: To build the best bakery in America. His culinary fame, acquired after years at world-renowned restaurants such as el Bulli, Pierre Hermé, Balthazar, and Bouley, certainly piqued our interest. However, it was his, along with partners Kathy and Brad Sanders overarching philosophy that world-class cuisine can and should be accessible to everyone that we found so inspiring. So like a showgirl from a wedding cake, we jumped at the chance to bring his sweet vision to life.
At Base, we are staunch believers that brands are like people. Like people (except for maybe Prince during his New Power Generation years) every brand has a name around which its identity is constructed. In this era of sharing and information saturation, a brand name must do an increasing amount of heavy lifting. Companies realize the importance of a name and have become increasingly discriminating. Following our proprietary naming workshop with the bakery’s partners, it would become quite clear that their mutual belief in high quality food for all was at the core of the company, and the name “Common Bond” was born. To this, we added the slogan “Only for All,” which relays Common Bond’s interplay between the idea of exclusivity from being an industry leader juxtaposed against their egalitarian values. It should come as no surprise that the logo lock-up mimics a round table, the most democratic of seating arrangements.
The market has traditionally viewed best-in-class bakeries as classic, often quaint establishments of European (mostly French) origin. From the outset, we raised the question of what it means to be the finest American bakery, and moreover one based in Houston where Southern hospitality runs as thick as melted chocolate. We surmised the answer lies at the intersection of “contemporary” and “welcoming,” and that this dichotomy should be expressed at every turn. It is the reason for the juxtaposition of the serif Common Bond logo against the handwritten Only for All tag line. Or the rationale behind interior design firm Costa Group’s choice of materials and forms, placing a razor-sharp, pristine counter against a reclaimed wood backdrop.
For the 63-unit packaging system, to again reflect the brand’s all-inclusive ethos, we drew inspiration from world flags, creating motifs all our own. The trained eye will notice that the edges of the color blocking was intentionally made imperfect to lend a more human feel. An eclectic array of forms, the packaging allows theculinary works of art created by the Common Bond team to shine.
Houstonians seem to have taken to the theme of universal access to glorious cuisine. Common Bond sees lines guests queuing as early as 6:45am with certain items selling out soon after its doors open. Touted as Houston’s world-class bakery, all walks of life have come to experience outstanding pastries and savory dishes. To add to this warm reception, Zagat’s has just named Common Bond as one of the hottest restaurants in the nation.
In closing, in what is an unusual step for an agency, we would like to publicly thank Roy, Kathy and Brad. Their all-inclusive nature extended to us as well, providing for one of the finest co-creations we have ever experienced in our 15 years of business. We are immensely pleased with and proud of our work for Common Bond and it could not have been done without their trust, hard work, and dedication.