ABC Carpet & Home, the iconic New York furniture and home accessories company, wanted to bring the magic of their wildly successfull showroom experience to an online audience. Goods & Services was asked to help capture their unique vision through a new logo design and web presence.
In the early 2000s, no one was marketing home decor products more creatively or more successfully than ABC Carpet & Home. Its huge showroom in the heart of New York City’s Union Square attracted nearly a million visitors a year. People flocked to see the latest highly curated—almost narrative—scenes of carpets and rugs, as well as furniture, textiles, antiques, gifts, accessories, and more. Largely the vision of owner Paulette Cole, ABC’s inventive approach to displaying eclectic offerings became a must see. An immersive, tactile, all encompassing sensory sales experience before those were in vogue. Designers of all disciplines visited to witness the latest hot new object, textile, or pattern. Even Ralph Lauren sent his creatives there to be inspired.
ABC was also one of the industry leaders in promoting a move to be more environmentally conscious, sourcing its products from sustainable wholesalers and adhering to an overall planet friendly ethos. But for as alluring and popular as ABC’s nearly 500,000 square foot showroom space was, that same experience wasn’t translating to the digital world. So Paulette and her team invited us to explore ways to bring the magic of ABC Carpet & Home online.
Paulette and her team shared with us her dream of creating a brand icon for a new kind of store, one that stood for important things, like being good and doing good. To realize that dream we started our exploration of a logo that needed to embrace the idea that the earth is both a place where we are inhabitants and guardians, while at the same time being a source of inspiration and useful materials. We dug into the essence of what ABC stood for, both from a design standpoint and an environmentally thoughtful one, keeping in mind that that ABC wanted to be good stewards of the earth while also creating and selling beautiful products. That there was an urgency to protect Mother Earth while also embracing the notion of being inspired by her beauty and bounty.
We started working with an image of the earth seen from space that tapped into an idea of an overall collective consciousness. Which then morphed into an eye, suggestive of watchfulness and a broader vision. We then introduced the idea of a triangle as a symbol of both connection and protection. Finally, we began exploring unique color patterns which captured mood and conveyed emotion. These striking orbs of varying color hombres were powerful visual tools that, when paired with the triangle form, gave off palpable movement and energy and became anchor shapes for us to develop a design language.
Once we had a logo system that captured and conveyed ABC’s brand essence, we began examining how it might live online and in concert with a dynamic website, one that complemented, and even enhanced where possible, the in-store experience. The ABC site needed to be one part showroom and one part storytelling device. The story angle we found most compelling was focusing on where all these gorgeous, handmade, eclectic products came from. We researched the people who made them, the materials they used, how the curation process worked, and, ultimately, how you, the guest, could make your home feel like you’re collecting the elements around you rather than simply buying them.
We imagined the ABC guest as anthropologists going out into the world and resurrecting ancient techniques for rug making and wood working and other crafts, and ABC as the classroom where they could teach people in various communities how to create these products in the traditional ways. The website became an opportunity to weave those many storylines and lessons together while also focusing on merchandising the product. The result was a new kind of website for a new kind of shopping experience. One that effectively told the rich and layered ABC story, with all its environmental and human centered nuances, while also selling the finest home furnishings and accessories in the country.