Inside The Studio: Creature

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While up in Seattle, I stopped in to visit our friends at Creature, a global ground of thinkers, makers and "creators of things". Creature is a multi-disciplinary firm that does, well, a little bit of everything. Recent notable projects range from the fall Truvia campaign, the Nuun identity and packaging, Seattle's Best Coffee identity and packaging, to projects for Expedia, HBO, Nike, and Starbucks.

Their motto says it best:

"With our strategy and ideas we choreograph brand experiences across the media channels that best service the business' problems and ideas. And tomorrow we expect to be a slightly different company than we are today.”

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They have many ongoing client projects, as well as their own creative endeavours. One of their coolest projects is "The Safehouse” – an old concrete and steel vault (set tucked away in a basement corner of Creature). This vault is now home to The Safehouse, an agency watering hole and hideaway. It was designed to feel like a place you would go to on the lam (after committing a crime straight out of a made-for-TV movie). It harkens back to a circa 1970 hipster cabin in the woods. It is a place where busy agency workers can take refuge from their creative woes, have a mug of whiskey, summon spirits on the Ouija board, flip through vintage smut and listen to one of the 3,000 LPs that line the Safehouse Wall.

There is only one rule in the Safehouse: You can’t do any work.

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The front windows at Creature give them a unique opportunity to create for himself or herself and for anyone who happens to wander down 12th Avenue in Seattle. Over the past year, they have created all kinds of displays — provocative, colorful, personal, and interactive — and they are proud to show them off on their blog. Here is what I saw on display:

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Some of Creature's recent packaging projects:

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Seattle's Best Coffee Relaunches With New Level SystemClick here to view full feature.

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Seattle’s Best was a neglected company: withering sales, generic image, irrelevant. The only way to get them out of their decade long slump was a total, comprehensive reinvention—not just of themselves, but they had to challenge how the entire industry, and culture, thought about coffee.

"Together, we saw a huge gap in the coffee industry between premium, complex products and cheap, low-brow products. On top of that, American culture viewed coffee as utilitarian, brown, serious and masculine." Defining that upscale middle ground—the blending of premium and mass appeal, making the shift from masculine to feminine, from complex regionalism to fun and easy-to-understand experiences—would take massive transformation of the corporate culture, business model, products, retail presence, image and messaging.

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Before & After: NuunClick here to view full feature.

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Nuun had a small following of hardcore athletes, but it was time to expand. They had to examine how they would grow without getting sucked into the sports clichés of hyperaggressiveness, or overly complicated science. Their identity now focuses on the positive, energizing side of sports and the simple great flavors of this hydrating beverage, with just a tiny hint to the powerful science inside.

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A special thank you to Creature for letting me wander in their wonderful space.

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