Not that long ago, if you popped into a bakery and asked for a salted caramel macaron, the person behind the counter would have looked at you as if you were speaking a foreign language.
You might have been offered a nice piece of cake instead – and it would have been carrot or chocolate or boozy fruit, depending on the occasion.
Times, and tastes, have changed. Salted caramel macarons are practically passé, and our televisual schedules are saturated with cooking shows in which grown-ups and small children alike cry over burnt milk and the ruination of their dreams. Food is no longer a simple affair.
The current princes and princesses of patisserie embody this change. They have captivated us with their fantastical creations, on our screens and in the many pop-up shrines to cakedom that dot our trendy suburbs.
But despite the fanciness of their wares, these shops are notable for their strikingly simple visual branding.
Take Adriano Zumbo for example. His creations are a riot of colour and imagination. But his brand, from a design perspective at least, is understated. Adriano Zumbo – Patissier. Clean typeface. No flashy logos. A restrained colour palette.
Whatever the exact reasons, he is obviously doing something right. People queued for hours waiting for the opening of his Melbourne shop. And his ready-made delicacies and bake-at-home kits have been conspicuous additions to our supermarket shelves.
Zumbo isn’t the only one taking this approach. LuxBite, Nic & Rocco, Belgian Quarter, Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie and numerous others feature elaborate edibles but pared-down branding.
This makes sense to me. Their graphic designers understand that it’s important to create a recognisable identity, but that it’s also important not to over-egg the pudding, so to speak. Especially when dealing with such a fine product.
When it comes to design, uncomplicated tastes can be welcome.
Tamara Goodings is a graphic designer and Industry Placement Student at Wellmark.