5 Reasons to Make Over Your Fuel Canopy

January 1, 2017

The gasoline canopy: For most of its existence, it has been a function-first structure, there to provide shelter from the weather and lend light at night.

And in the 50 years since states began legalizing self-serve gas pumps, the canopy has largely retained the shape that reflects this practical purpose: the rectangle. Pure economics has bested creativity, keeping this architectural element frozen in time. “In the United States, you have so many legacy sites that have been around for so long that to tear [the canopy] down … it’s easier to repaint, restripe and reclad what already exists,” says Joe Bona, founding partner and president of retail design firm MoseleyBona Retail, Franklin, Mass.

But as fuel’s share of overall c-store profits continues to fall and in-store profitability rises, it’s time to redefine the canopy’s function and reconsider its investment potential. Yes, it still needs to protect customers from rain and sun. But the entire forecourt can do so much more.

“It’s one of first things you see, a piece of communication that really reaches out, grabs people’s attention and signals the business that you’re in,” says Bona, who has designed canopies for retailers such as Wawa in the United States, […]

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A Work of Art?

December 12, 2016

Readers weigh in on Van Gogh Vodka’s redesign.

In an effort to animate and reinvigorate the brand’s connection to art, Van Gogh Vodka has redesigned its packaging. “With this new package, we strove to create a collection of labels that are equal parts artistic and appealing—each one had to be a work of art to match the craftsmanship of the liquid inside, translating the spirit of Van Gogh’s Expressionism and bold vision in an engaging manner,” Norman Bonchick, chairman and CEO, 375 Park Avenue Spirits, the importer of Van Gogh Vodka, tells Package Design.

“It was important that the new package live up to and respect our namesake, Vincent Van Gogh. “By working with an artist who painted through the lens of Van Gogh we were able to have paintings created using our 16 signature flavors as inspiration. Each of these paintings then became one of the labels you see with the release of the new package.”

In this the final installment of Field Notes, we ask Package Design readers if the new packages are stars or if the designs leave 375 Park Avenue Spirits’ branding goals in the fields.

Allison Koller Executive creative director, CBX

There’s no […]

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This Year’s Best-Designed C-store Chains Are…

November 18, 2016

CSNews Store Design Contest honors 10 retailers delivering a unique experience.

It’s one thing to have an attractive store that grabs the attention of motorists driving by. It’s another thing to have an attractive store that delivers an in-store experience unlike anything else consumers have ever encountered at a convenience store. The winners of the 2016 Convenience Store News Store Design Contest achieve both — with flair.

Now in its 11th year, the awards program honors new and rebuilt c-stores whose designs excel in areas such as branding, interior layout, use and effectiveness of signage and logos, and exterior property and landscaping. Construction or remodeling of eligible stores must have taken place between January 2015 and April 2016.  Winners were selected based on innovation, creativity, and the positive impact of the design and/or remodel on the retailer’s overall business.

This year’s honorees, spanning six categories, are:


Winner: Kum & Go LC, Johnston, Iowa Designer: CBX & BRR Architecture

Honorable Mention: Parker’s, Ridgeland, S.C. Designer: api(+)



Winner: Grab.n.Go Food Mart, Marshall, Texas Designer: Paragon Solutions



Winner: All-N-1, Campti, La. Designer: Paragon Solutions

Honorable Mention: Dirt Cheap, O’Fallon, Mo. […]

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Navigating the Sea of Marketing Clichés

November 14, 2016

New York City-based CBX is consumer branding firm providing a range of strategic and creative services. As executive creative director, Allison Koller is responsible for providing inspiration, vision, and strategic guidance for the CBX design team. She has led creative and innovation initiatives for such clients as Kimberly-Clark, General Mills, Burt’s Bees, and The Art of Shaving.

Most recently, Koller led her team to a Platinum Pentaward for packaging work on behalf of U by Kotex (Kimberly-Clarke). And it’s marketing to women that inspires Koller. In a June TEDx talk in Scotch Plains, N.J., Koller described herself as a swimmer, illustrator, daughter, tennis player, and wife who pays keen attention to the content and subtext of brand messages aimed at women.

You said brands need to move beyond the “sea of clichéd visual codes” if they want to connect with real women. Can you give examples of the “tired tropes,” as you call them?

I think the most clichéd codes present women as perfect—no flaws allowed. By presenting women without imperfections, we’ve set up an unrealistic standard where women can’t get real. There’s no sweat or blemishes, no aging, and perfectly run households. There are no individuals with real […]

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CBX Takes Home Two Awards at 2016 LIA Competition in Newly-created Verbal Identity Category

November 11, 2016

CBX, the brand agency and retail design consultancy headquartered here, took home two awards in the newly-created Verbal Identity Category at the 2016 LIA Awards.

Formerly known as the London International Advertising Awards, the LIA is a worldwide awards program honoring legends, pioneers and embodiments of excellence in advertising, digital, production, design, music and sound, and technology. In addition to Verbal Identity, awards are presented in 15 other categories, including billboard, branded entertainment, digital, print, radio & audio, and TV/cinema/online film.

Within the Verbal Identity category, CBX competed against multiple entrants from agencies throughout the world and garnered Silver awards in both the Naming and Tone of Voice sub-categories. Additionally, a third CBX project was a finalist in Tone of Voice.

In Naming, the firm was honored for the development of the brand name Yesway, for a new Des Moines, Iowa-based convenience store chain. “Across America, you either find run-down, old-school gas stations or newfangled artisanal c-stores with made-to-order menus, but nothing in the middle,” said Rachel Bernard, CBX Vice President, Verbal Strategy. “That began to change when Brookwood Financial started acquiring a number of stations in the Midwest, looking to capture a more middle-of-the-road market. The result? Yesway – […]

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Faster to market

November 1, 2016

Retailers should better leverage dedicated own-brand teams, consumer insights, and new technology to streamline the branding process.

During a time of negligible population growth—with millennials slow to have children but eager to try new and exotic products—retailers cannot propel private brand sales simply through low-risk line extensions.

“Because there’s not a lot of population growth, retailers are looking to innovation, and we’re seeing an enormous amount of what’s called ‘rapid prototyping,’” says Todd Maute, a partner with New York-based design consultancy CBX.

How could retailers be more innovative in the store brand space? Although the national-brand equivalent tier still resonates with many consumers, market research has shown that millennials—many of whom still live with their parents and have considerable discretionary income—care about transparent sourcing, corporate social responsibility and the avoidance of ingredients they consider to be harmful. These priorities and misgivings, coupled with millennials’ more adventurous, multicultural food and beverage preferences, create opportunities for retailers to develop new must-have premium brands, lines, and SKUs. And with any luck, some of these new products will go viral on social media.

Among private brand owners, “there will always be the ‘fast followers,’” observes Doug Baker, vice president of private brands for the […]

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Scrap the stale female clichés

October 30, 2016


Benefit Cosmetics strikes a tongue-in-cheek tone that doesn’t take beauty too seriously.

Women are looking for products and packaging that go beyond the tired clichés of femininity. CBX’ Allison Koller explains how brand owners can create more authentic packaging for female consumers.

Allison Koller, Executive Creative Director of CBX, recently gave a TEDx talk on the clichés used in packaging for products geared toward women. Here she answers some questions on the topic and provides examples of how brand owners can convey a more authentic story.

Packaging World:

How do female stereotypes and clichés currently manifest themselves in retail product packaging and branding?

Allison Koller:

Representations of women in packaging and in store displays cue off many of the same clichéd codes present in advertising, where women are depicted as perfect, without flaws. This sets up an unrealistic standard, where women can’t get real. No sweat, no blemishes, no aging, perfectly run households—no individuals with real thoughts or feelings.

Common codes include: “Magic”—products that promise to make you flawless, or forget any challenges you may face; “The Ingenue”—an innocent (usually blonde) who never ages; “The Goddess”—either perfectly sculpted from a sweat-free workout or wearing a sparkling […]

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Verbal identity on show for first time at London International Awards

October 19, 2016

The London International Awards is claiming an award-show first by announcing the shortlist for its new Verbal Identity category.

2016 marks the first time the awards has appointed a standalone jury for Verbal Identity (pictured), led by Chris West, founder of Verbal Identity Ltd.

The Awards says the introduction of Verbal Identity was a reaction to the ‘What About Naming?’ campaign launched by New York-based brand agency CBX in 2015. As major awards programs continually ignored the role of naming in the brand-building process, CBX believed that more should be done to honour the most creative and successful naming and verbal identity projects.

With West, jury members included Rachel Bernard of CBX New York, Sean Doyle of Panic London, Steve Martin of Eat Creative Tokyo, Laurel Sutton, senior strategist and linguist at Catchword Oakland and Ben Zimmer, language columnist at the Wall Street Journal.

Read the full article in Marketing Mag Photo Courtesy of Marketing Mag

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Nan Richardson Joins CBX

October 7, 2016

New York-based brand and retail design consultancy CBX has added Nan Richardson to its team as the engagement director of branded environments. Based in Newport Beach, Calif., she will seek out new relationships and development opportunities across numerous industries.

Richardson holds more than 20 years of experience in the field, previously serving as the West Coast director of business development for Core States Group. She has also held senior marketing and business development positions at prominent firms such as Perkins+Will, IA Interior Architects, and H. Hendy Associates. A graduate of the American Institute of Interior Design, Lucerne, Switzerland, Richardson is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Urban Land Institute, and the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association.

Originally published in design:retail

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Richardson Joins CBX as Engagement Director, Branded Environments

October 4, 2016

Veteran architecture/design/commercial real estate business development, marketing and public relations professional Nan Richardson has joined brand agency and retail design consultancy CBX as Engagement Director, Branded Environments.

From her base in Newport Beach, Richardson will work to connect with prospects, build relationships and develop new business opportunities for CBX in the retail, restaurant, hospitality and commercial real estate industries, reporting to Vice President, Branded Environments James Sundstad.

Richardson brings a diverse background to the New York-headquartered CBX, with over 20 years of business development and marketing experience, primarily in the architecture, interior design and commercial real estate industries. Prior to joining CBX, she was West Coast Director, Business Development at Core States Group, a fully integrated architecture, interior design, engineering and general contracting firm specializing in the hospitality, retail, restaurant and corporate sector. From her base in Newport Beach, she had direct responsibility for client relations, public relations, marketing, and business development functions.

Previously, Richardson held senior marketing and business development positions with such other prominent firms as Perkins+ Will, IA Interior Architects, and H. Hendy Associates.

She is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Urban Land Institute, and the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association. Her […]

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