Mercà: a new benchmark for civic agriculture

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Naming and creating the visual identity for a one-of-a-kind civic agriculture and direct sales project.

Upon our first meeting with Federico Daidone – a member of the Canedo cooperative – we immediately knew this was a unique opportunity. It was one of those projects that don’t often pass by agencies. A small network of cooperatives and farms in the Oltrepò Pavia area decided to invest in a branding project representing a new model of civic agriculture to its best.

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Brand essence

This is the story of a group of farmers and small entrepreneurs: united under one banner, they created a network to save the Apennines around Pavia. Thanks to our focus on strategic analysis, we could reveal the powerful brand essence embedded in the project. We set up a workshop bringing together Canedo Cooperative members, founders of the project, and the direct distribution network – producers of cheese, honey, wine, beer, vegetables, fruit and more.

Keeping these businesses together is a shared set of values and production processes, beginning with sustainable practices for the environment and the animals. The group cherishes their local territory, and above all, they highly value the direct distribution of their products to ethical purchasing groups (in Italian GAS). This way, workers and farmers – who like to call themselves ‘agrigiani’, meaning conscious and innovative farmers-crafters –  see their fair remuneration guaranteed by reducing the intermediaries in the supply chain.

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Naming e identità visiva

Mercà is the name we chose for this brand. In the local Pavia dialect, the word indicates the market, the ultimate meeting place for producers and consumers. Markets are unique spaces allowing for crucial moments of contact, creating value, exchanges and encounters: the e-commerce of the past. 

Social connections, bottom-up movements, and the market as a meeting place were the driving concepts in developing the visual identity. These elements, in fact, underpin the project’s goal: giving a voice to the territory’s excellencies, the inhabitants who protect it and to unique, sustainable, recognisable products.

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The need to give a voice to the people and their land fuelled the idea for the logo. We inscribed it in a flag, symbolising a banner uniting all while bringing forward Mercà’s values. Tuning in with the energy of the people involved, we identified the tone of voice for both written communication and visual language: straightforward and proud but friendly. 

The strong typography attests to the radical nature of the Mercà network’s shared principles. The condensed sans serif font exemplifies the desire to speak to farther circles, to become a model for everyone rather than remaining in their bubble.

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We condensed the ideas of territory, meeting spots (like the town square) and the products in stencil-like illustrated symbols, consistent with a less institutional and more spontaneous approach.

The colour palette is inspired by natural and vibrant colours, a versatile palette fitting for the digital output. This choice reflects Mercà’s dynamic world and its innovative vision for the agricultural sector.

Coherence across all touchpoints

The fundamental touchpoint for Mercà and its network of producers is the website. The e-commerce responds to the logistical and organisational needs of the GAS (ethical purchasing groups) target group, and, in addition, it features a dedicated page for each producer.

Mercà can successfully organise its weekly deliveries to markets and designated locations, thanks to the new platform. The network’s products are loaded onto their van, which we have customised using the brand’s visual language.

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We supported Mercà across the journey of designing the various communication materials, coherently conveying the project’s values and unique qualities. The output included posters, printed brochures for the farmers’ markets, packaging and the shop sign in Varzi.

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Mercà is an e-commerce website featuring outstanding food and services dedicated exclusively to ethical purchasing groups, including managing logistics. The network believes in direct relationships and the principles of fair trade.

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