Gendall unveils “buildable” identity for retail company Sook

The new look, which includes animation, a logo, website design and photography, aims to help the brand deliver its mission to “change spaces for good”.

Cornwall-based design studio Gendall has revealed a “flexible” identity for Sook, which aims to convey the “vast number of possibilities” the retail company has to offer.

Named after a Persian marketplace, Sook bills itself as a “revolutionary retail business model” which allows users to rent out empty high street spaces by the hour.

Sook retail units are fitted out with large digital screens, to which renters can upload multimedia content for a unique or branded experience.

A “flexible framework”

At the centre of the identity is a logo comprised of four blocks. Each letter of the Sook name is housed in its “own space”, creative strategic director John Lowdon says.

This is a reference to the different spaces Sook offers its renters, he explains, but also the “digital wallpaper” found in each of the units.

Sook’s logo is then brought to life via animation, the blocks twist and turn playfully across digital formats. Because of this, the typography has been kept simple and readable, Lowdon says with an all-caps sans serif.

Lowdon says the “flexible framework” of the logo can also be used elsewhere in the brand, for marketing or communications. The motion allows the wordmark to feature other four-letter words, for example. A common one is “Book Your Sook”.

As the brand continues to expand, this wordmark will feature in signage across locations. Lowdon says the team are currently working on how the logo could be stacked, in the shape of a traditional barber’s pole.

“We wanted people to be able to imagine their own version of a space”

Photography is an important part of the identity, Lowdon says. A wide range of shots are used across the brand’s various touchpoints in a bid to showcase the versatility of Sook’s spaces.

“We wanted people to be able to imagine their own version of a space,” he says. “There was a challenge in not appearing too prescriptive over what can be done with Sook’s spaces.”

For this reason, a wealth of uses are documented – from yoga classes, to gigs, brand experiences and pop-up markets.

The pops of colour found in the photography are often matched with Sook’s colour palette, which uses a dark navy as a base colour and accents this with bright hues.

“People-focused over tech-focused”

Sook uses tech and data to better inform its actions – renters are able to upload their interior graphics and videos via the online portal before they arrive at the location.

But Lowdon says the Gendall team was keen not to rely on traditional tech branding tropes for the identity.

“Sook is still a very people-focused brand over tech-focused,” he says. “And we wanted that to come through in the branding.”

This is why, instead of necessarily tech-focused imagery and copy, the brand as a whole “focuses on possibilities” he says.

What do you think of the Sook brand? Let us know in the comments below…

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  • Neil Littman February 15, 2022 at 9:02 am

    Wondered why this post about SOOK was so over-complicated? All I had to do was look at their website and there it is summed up in a sentence (to paraphrase). ‘Rent short-term retail space with an environment already created for you – instead of having to spend money on expensive fixtures and fittings’. Somebody please tell me I have understood the concept? I can even visit some of the locations in central London to check out if this is true. Assuming they are there for more than an hour to two… In theory it seems a good idea since the high street as we know it has changed so much and this has been accelerated by the pandemic. My local town centre has about 10% of its retail spaces empty and maybe they are put off by long leases and rent agreements but what happens if you buy something (as opposed to using a service) from one of these businesses and go back a day later to exchange or refund and they are no longer there?

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