Cody and I graduated from college on May 10, 2009 and founded CODO the following Monday. While that makes for a fantastic soundbite, it’s not as heroic as it sounds. We graduated college, lucked into finding a small 10′ x 10′ office (that we were able to rent via trade), and spent the next year or so “running” a “design firm.” I use both of these expressions in the most liberal sense possible. We’d show up to work at 8am, drink three gallons of coffee, and reach out to local organizations who we thought were doing cool work in an attempt to drum up business.
One of those early attempts netted us a wonderful relationship with the Indianapolis City Market. We worked with the Market on branding, farmers’ market design work, and environmental design—it was a perfect gig. That partnership was crucial for us as we went on to meet and work with dozens of bars, restaurants, breweries, festivals, and food artisans over the next several years.
Two of those food artisans were the husband and wife duo, Laura and Corey Beatus, AKA Natural Born Juicers. Hailing from New York, and the famous ‘Lucky’s Juice Joint,’ they cut their teeth in the heart of Soho, slinging juice to Madonna, Leonardo Dicaprio [LEO!!!], John Frusciante, Russell Simmons, Dave Chapelle, and Daniel Day Lewis, among others throughout the late 90’s / early 2000’s. During their tenure in New York, they collected cats, tattoos, and stories you wouldn’t believe. They also fell in love behind the bar at Lucky’s and eventually ended up moving back home to Indiana to be closer to family.
Corey and Laura were the first of many people we’ve had the pleasure of working with who are not only deeply passionate about what they do, but are over-flowingly creative and willing to be involved in the design process. So in 2010, we began discussing their story, Indianapolis, and how the Natural Born Juicers would stand out from the rest of the juice industry.
An important step in our process is analyzing a given industry to identify patterns, clichés, and tropes, all to define opportunities for differentiation. That isn’t too hard with juice. Almost everyone uses the same bottles. Almost everyone uses some variation of a clear label with white, overly-contemporary sans-serif typography spelling out ingredients. Almost everyone aligns themselves with a healthier lifestyle (yoga, meditation, pseudo-spirituality, small dogs named ‘Kale,’ and all that). And on and on.
The clean, positive look is attractive in a “health nut mumbo-jumbo” sort of way, but unique it ain’t. So from the start, we had a clearly defined visual canon to work with, and against. And what better place to begin that process by naming your juice bar after a fictional pair of young serial killers? I wish we could take credit for that: alas, it was all Laura & Corey. These two hold zero desire to blend in with anyone on the planet, let alone a bunch of Stepford Juice companies. Our initial conversations echoed this sentiment, centering on dime novels, pulp fiction, Burning Man, ‘Dexter,’ Zef culture, and Quentin Tarantino. This was all thrown in a blender to create a gritty, aggressive “unjuice” juice brand.
After wrapping up their brand identity, we spent the next few years tackling larger and larger projects as their business continued to grow. We designed and redesigned their packaging. We designed their first juice truck (a staple at local farmers’ markets and food festivals). We helped them with environmental design in their new Mass Ave. location, and handled a bevy of fun merch. Looking back, we now consider all of this “CODO Phase 1: The early(ish) years.”
Our latest batch of work came with the very deliberate goal of positioning Natural Born Juicers as a ready-to-be-franchised operation. This included new packaging, a new delivery vehicle, and an immersive eCommerce website.
The packaging itself builds on their approach of completely eschewing industry trends. We were able to use a sexy spot varnish effect across a murdered-out label system that spans over thirty unique SKUs. We’re proud of the pull between the gorgeous, colorful juice itself and the striking black-on-black label.
Their new sprinter delivery truck was, well, just look at the damn thing.
And finally, we built Laura and Corey a responsive website (on WordPress and WooCommerce) geared to handle complex online orders. Beyond simple eCommerce functionality, they can now offer customized cleanse orders and deliveries that better integrate with their daily workflow (meaning they can focus on growing their business).
Their new site showcases their updated packaging and features a modular, behind-the-scenes framework that will grow with them over the next several years as new locations come online. And maybe our favorite component would be the Energy Save Mode designed to turn the site from day to night mode (saving electricity). Check it out at www.naturalbornjuicers.com