Print Picks: Shop Image Graphics in NY
by Taylor Slattery | May 17, 2022
Shop Image Graphics in NY is exactly what it sounds like. This large 9″ ✕ 12″ book features almost 200 pages of some of the best brand identities New York has to offer. The selections fall into three curated groups: food, fashion, and living. Each category has a wide variety of aesthetics and different branding approaches to explore. There’s a nice marriage of the clean, curated shots of collateral the likes you’d see on Behance, and photos of the store’s interior design as well. Being able to see things in context allows readers to gain a better understanding of how interior design, graphic design, and brand messaging all work in tandem to tell each brand’s story.
Originally printed in 2012, the book also marks the beginning of the wider shift in consumerism where alignment with values rather than price had become the driving factor for many in their purchasing decisions. This meant that for brands, it was no longer enough to simply have a great product, there needed to be an equally compelling story behind it as well. This concept wasn’t new—well-established companies like Toms had already proven the model’s effectiveness, but by 2012, many companies had also adopted a more narrative-driven approach to their branding.
One of the great things about this book is the variety of voices and personalities gathered into a single place. It’s a great reference for comparing different brand identity approaches, and because they’re all taken from a single city, you can see the subtle ways in which each brand has chosen to differentiate itself from its direct competitors.
Coffee shops in particular are prominently featured throughout the food section and it’s interesting to see how different brands have chosen to prioritize different aspects of essentially the same story to carve out their own unique portion of the market. Chocolatiers, bakeries, bars, and restaurants ranging from rustic to modern and pulling inspiration from every era in between show the degree to which a carefully considered brand identity can be used to highlight a brand’s idiosyncrasies and unique story.
Using a hyper-competitive city like New York as the basis for the book serves to illustrate the value found in building a brand around a very specific niche. The three sections into which the brands are categorized effectively encapsulate the major elements that collectively form a lifestyle. This makes the book particularly useful as a reference for crafting user profiles.
You can see the similarities in voice between brands within each section and use them to start to make connections. Starting from a clothing shop that sells heritage workwear, it becomes much easier to imagine which coffee shop they might visit or the sorts of furniture and decorations that might fill their apartment.
In function, Shop Image Graphics in NY is like a mood board but better. The short excerpts that accompany each shop explain a bit about their origins, history, and focus, all of which inform how they choose to portray themselves. Seeing how these values extend into their visual system and the tactics employed to communicate them makes Shop Image Graphics in NY a great resource for the sorts of careful considerations involved in crafting magnetic, narrative-driven brands.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.