Barely there: Brandless is the online concept store going back to basics
Created in Silicon Valley, Brandless is an online concept store founded by Tina Sharkey and Ido Leffler, offering everyday, high quality household, cosmetic and food items, each priced at $3. They can afford the wildly competitive price point thanks to Brandless’ next-to-minimal packaging and lack of branding, which is normally subject to what Brandless has coined as ‘BrandTax™’ – a smart phrase for summarising all of the hidden costs behind owning a strong brand identity.
Brandless products are void of any kind of labelling or naming. Sharkey admits that they ‘saw an opportunity to create a new approach and reimagine what it means to be a brand’, stripping its products of seductive or misleading information. ‘We believe everyone deserves to have access to the highest quality products at the fairest possible price,’ says Sharkey – by carving a neutral identity they are able to offer exactly that.
English Breakfast tea, by Brandless
Of course, creating the right design effect was essential. Bottles, tubes, cartons and packages all stick to the same minimalistic design, using a colour palette which is both neutral and temtping. Sharkey states, ‘We choose the colour of the packaging to reflect that true of the product, its flavour or scent cues.’ This back-to-basics aesthetic is also reflected in the typography. ‘“Neutral” is a timeless typeface designed to be free of stylistic prompts that could distract from the content.’ The result bares the naked truth – it’s a visual system that promotes transparent communication.
The hero design component on Brandless’ products comes in the form of a white square. Found on every product, the square symbolises the clean and honest identity of the brand, purely highlighting the product information and key qualities. ‘Its function eliminates all typical brand clutter,’ says Sharkey, ‘It allows us to use the white space to communicate the attributes we’ve curated.’
Brandless’ policy is simple: superb quality products for affordable prices. In 1913, Russian painter Kazimir Malevich found the answer to art for art’s sake with his painting Black Square – it seems that in 2017, Sharkey and Leffler have found the design world’s answer to product for product’s sake.