Led by our spirited Creative Director, Chad Roberts, we are a small but mighty studio of designers, illustrators, and writers, with a sixth sense for branding and packaging design. We cultivate and craft meaningful brand stories and transform them into striking visual languages that convey passion and purpose. We define, build, and refine identity systems, resulting in timeless brands with undeniable cultural impact.
We excel at designing brand stories that we develop from the ground up. It allows us to unify all elements to create a more cohesive and considered brand experience. But truth is, we love undertaking design projects of many forms that require our skills and expertise to cultivate and craft. Whether it’s packaging, brand identity, or printed collateral, we listen, learn, and work hard to create extraordinary brand experiences.
We start every project by working with the client to define a clear brand strategy and position in the marketplace. This lays the foundation for how we tackle designing a brand identity, packaging, and copywriting. We do a thorough competitive analysis to uncover where your brand should live, how it is differentiated, and how to best to reach and engage your target consumer.
The name of your brand is one of the most important aspects of branding because it cascades into so many of the design and strategic decisions that follow. It involves asking a lot of questions, defining your core attributes, message and values, doing deep dive research, and plenty of brainstorming. Our naming process is fluid, often surprising, and always collaborative.
Establishing your brand voice through snappy writing and smart copy goes hand in hand with designing a strong visual identity. Without it, there is a lack of cohesion that supports the visual and strategic components of the brand. From taglines and romance copy, to more elaborate product descriptions and details, we strive to encapsulate your brand’s true voice.
The goal of brand storytelling is to establish an emotional connection to consumers. A good brand story or narrative not only authentically communicates purpose and promise, it hits that nerve with people that instigates loyalty and experience. We love creating and shaping compelling brand stories that set the stage for excellent design.
Your brand identity is the overall image that represents and distinguishes your visual personality. It is the first and lasting impression you leave on consumers, which is why it’s so critical to a brand’s reputation. We think about the holistic application of an identity across all the parts and pieces when we design, making sure it measures up to the calibre of your brand and beyond.
Package design marries form and structure with information and hierarchy. It is a puzzle that we easily solve through concise understanding of communication, application of standards and regulations, and extensive knowledge of materials and production. Our experience in this area allows us to create packaging that is functional yet inventive and memorable.
Translating your visual identity into digital form isn’t just a modern necessity, it also effectively reinforces how you communicate brand experience to your audience. Through succinct planning and visual adaptation, we design and develop custom websites that work seamlessly to engage with users and meet your objectives.
Whether it’s a large-scale composition or a small graphic icon, illustration adds elements of originality and value to a brand identity system. We create illustrations that clarify and enhance your brand message, through mood, style, and execution. We have created custom illustrations for packaging, print collateral, and even a stamp for Canada Post.
Never before has product and lifestyle photography been more relevant in our society. Brands can instantly tell a story and connect with consumers through images on social media, websites, and packaging. We both produce images and work with photographers that will best express an ownable visual tone and style for your brand.
Our brand identity systems are intentionally and meticulously designed to percolate into the marketing collateral that comes into play long after the design phase is done. The flexible yet distinctive nature of these systems allow us to produce collateral to help sell your products or services and simultaneously reinforce the brand image.
Chad has always been passionate about food. So much so that he studied to become a chef before discovering he was more interested in the visual culture of the food industry. He quickly shifted his focus to a career path that married his two loves: cuisine and aesthetics.
Chad studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where after graduating as Valedictorian, he became a faculty member. During his time in New York, Chad spent five years working as a senior designer with Louise Fili Ltd. creating brand identities for many leading gourmet food companies. He left the studio to become an art director at New York-based DesignWorks BBDO before moving to Toronto and establishing his own boutique studio.
Chad is a member of the Type Directors Club and served on the board of directors from 2006-2008. His award-winning work has been featured in multiple publications and in several books on design and the design process. More recently, Chad was a sessional instructor at OCAD University in the Faculty of Design.
Joanna always knew she either wanted to be a writer or an artist. Her post-secondary education came from Ryerson, in the form of both a Journalism degree and a fulfilling social life in Toronto’s pre-hipster days. When writing for Sassy magazine didn’t pan out, she immersed herself in screen printing posters for the local music scene. A tutorial in Photoshop at her first real job led her to pursuing another degree, this time for Graphic Design at OCAD.
She created many a marketing sell sheet during a 5-year stint at Time Magazine, but her favourite responsibility was designing huge TIFF events for celebs (most notably attended by one Keanu Reeves). She also spent 7 years as the Senior Designer at the National Ballet of Canada, where the oppressive use of Helvetica really put her design discipline into practice. At CRD she has found her voice creating brand identities and systems, researching, illustrating and seeing through packaging and production jobs. Failed career as an author aside, she has become the studio’s resident copywriter.
Designer / Developer
A native of the picturesque Niagara Peninsula, Jacob attended the York University / Sheridan College Joint Program in Design to earn his Bachelor of Design (Hons) degree, receiving multiple scholarships for academic achievement. As a graduate with honours, Jacob is ready to be a part of the design industry and create award-winning work. In addition to collecting nutcrackers, he is a connoisseur of recipe books.