Pair Eyewear began in 2017 as a children’s brand with a unique vision: to offer affordable, high-quality eyewear that could be customized through the addition of snap-on Top Frames, available in a range of colors, styles, and patterns. With frames priced at just $60, including prescription lenses, and Top Frames available from $25 to $30, it offered greater inclusion and creativity than provided by more expensive, mainstream eyewear brands.
By 2021, Pair’s product selection had expanded to include prescription and non-prescription optical glasses, sunglasses, blue light glasses, Top Frames, and accessories for both children and adults. With this change in its customer base, Pair saw the need for a change in its branding, as well.
“Prior to the brand refresh, our packaging reflected our original, children’s-centric brand identity,” shares Pair Eyewear Vice President of Marketing Grant Goldman. “As our customer base evolved, there was a clear need for updating our brand image. What’s more, our original packaging did not fully accommodate new frames, accessories, and other products we were in the process of launching.”
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Enter creative company Mrs&Mr, which was tasked with evolving away from the more child-forward, kid-centric design system to a more grown-up system, but without losing the sense of joyfulness and fun that had always been a part of the brand. Shares Daniel Wadia, chief strategy officer of Mrs&Mr, “The challenge was evolving the brand from being joyful, bright, and effervescent for kids into something that could be joyful, bright, and effervescent for adults, as well.”
According to Wadia, one rich source of inspiration for the rebrand was Pair’s Facebook community. “That’s where we really started to uncover how much their community not only likes to express themselves and their personalities through eyewear and through this changeable top, which is core to the product, but also how they like to share their looks and validate each other’s looks and comment and like each other’s look,” he says. “So there’s a sort of social element to that you don’t typically get in eyewear, which tends to be a little bit more solitary.
“Engaging with Pair’s customers, through their own community on Facebook, was really helpful, because it was almost like watching a live focus group happening in real time. And that resulted in a wealth of information and insight that helped to inform the rebrand.”
Through its research, Mrs&Mr also found that the solitary and serious aspect of traditional eyewear brands also extends to their branding, which is often expressed in monochromatic or two-color systems, resulting in a sea of sameness. “In our case, since the brand is all about self-expression, and variety—the variety of different frames, the variety of different moods and personalities that you can project—one of the core elements [of the rebrand] was to have a design system that would have multiple colors.”
Another core element of the rebrand was the use of illustration—a nod to Pair’s heritage as a children’s brand—but sophisticated illustration that could transcend demographics and age groups, something that would resonate with men, women, and children.
Another strategy of the design was to make it approachable and accessible. “Pair Eyewear is not trying to position itself as an exclusive brand,” says Wadia. “On the contrary, it’s designed to be incredibly inclusive, all the way to that price point. So the typography we selected and the entire graphic system was really intentionally designed to be inviting, welcoming and, to an extent, inclusive in a category that can oftentimes feel a little bit exclusive and standoffish, a little bit overly elevated.”
Underlying the design is a mid-century modern influence, inspired by multiple mood boards and design exploration. “Mid-century modern made the design feel modern, but also have this sort of warm and inviting quality to it,” Wadia explains.
The style guide for the rebrand—which includes all customer touchpoints—includes a selection of bold typefaces, swatches, colors, doodles, patterns, and designs that can be combined to create a custom Pair look. Patterned backgrounds featuring bold designs resembling fabric swatches can be used alone as a frame for an image, or combined to create a stacking effect.
While there is just one box design for Pair glasses, Wadia says the package was a crucial part of the redesign because it’s the first tactile part of the experience for the consumer—everything else to that point is essentially a digital experience. “It was a really critical and fun piece of the whole rebrand,” he says. “So, while we had to work through the logo, the colors, the fonts, and all the various components that go with the rebrand, the box was sort of the cherry on top.”
Pair Eyewear’s selection of products is available exclusively on its website and includes 1,000-plus Top Frame options, including limited-edition monthly drops—November’s comprised Holiday, New Year’s, Carnival, and Harvest designs—and licensed designs from brands such as DC and Marvel comics, Coca-Cola, the NBA, Harry Potter, and Sesame Street, among others.
|Read this related package design story on Seventh Generation’s largest rebrand ever.|