Established in Southern California in the 1940’s, Baskin-Robbins grew to be a global ice cream giant with more than 7,700 locations in over 50 countries. But this ice cream chain had humble beginnings, building the brand around cheerful circus imagery and an ice cream themed color palette; pink for cherries and brown for chocolate. In the early 1950s, the chain ran a marketing campaign focused on introducing a different flavor for each day of the month, earning this ice cream giant their secondary
identifier of “31 Flavors.”
In 2006, Baskin-Robbins departed from their circus roots with the most recent branding rendition revolving around the camouflaged monogram of “31” hidden within the “BR”. Their color palette changed from the classic Neapolitan to a whimsical pink and blue combo, it no longer included circus themed imagery and they shifted to a more contemporary approach by relying on the playfulness of their typography to convey their adventurous nature.
The Baskin-Robbins 2022 rebrand is the dessert-worthy blend of old and new, paying homage to their original identity by reintroducing the brown and pink color palette as well as the circus-esque typography. Borrowing from their previous monogram success, the new identity continues to center around the pink “31” hidden within the “BR”. Visually, this identity is a big shift for the chain but as a brand their family-friendly sense of discovery is still front and center. The reintroduced colorways churn warm nostalgia and a reconnection to their pop culture-led flavors and fun.
First off, we want to recognize that completely revitalizing a globally recognized brand is no small feat, which is why Baskin-Robbins’ successful redesign is so noteworthy. This new identity takes a timeless and modern approach, while still harkening back to the heritage of a beloved Baskin-Robbins to create visual connections to its design origins. Another great achievement of this rebrand is the flexibility and extendability of the mid-century box style design, which strategically makes for endless possibilities in packaging, merchandising and retail activations. Anytime a visual identity successfully tells the brand story, an ice cream cone somewhere gets its sprinkles.
While one mystery is now gone, another begins. The design of the previous mark made visibility of the “31” monogram less immediate—one had to search for the two concepts in one monogram. While this added to the overall playfulness of the brand identity, it froze off a bit of brand equity. In the new logo, no longer does one need to seek out the monogram, as the “31” has a bold color change, a numerical serif and lacks the white space stencil break, making the “31” more flavorfully prominent. But hang on, did we lose the icy whip?
One noticeable snag with this new monogram is the curve of the “1”. It uncomfortably breaks the visual flow and makes the “31” aggressively obvious. Had the block serif style been maintained consistently, the logo may have better reflected the coy, playful whimsy and mystique core to the historic Baskin-Robbins brand identity.
Overall, the ice cream giant added a level of sophistication to their new look while reflecting their heritage as they continue to aim to expand their reach to a new generation of consumers. Time will tell if reminding these flavor fans of their origins while still appealing to a modern, minimalistic style will allow for a scalable and playful future. We’re thinking it just may call for an extra scoop.