‘We’re big in Japan’ isn’t meant ironically when it comes to Vermicular. The brand’s overwhelming success in its home country can be traced to its rich, pioneering history. Crafted from over 80 years of cast iron mastery from a family factory,
Vermicular became the centerpiece of Japanese kitchens by combining craft with a desire to elevate the natural deliciousness of ingredients, resulting in cookware that has empowered chefs of all levels to make masterful meals, effortlessly.
Character needed to pilot this Japanese success stateside for the cookware’s U.S. launch. We quickly realized Vermicular would have steep competition in a country where kitchens were teeming with similar appliances. We needed to carve out a place in the market that conveyed Vermicular’s unique cooking value and why its premium price was worth the investment.
Our strategy centered on the artistry of home cooking and the social community it inspires. It gives the brand a positioning beyond cookware, conveying the lifestyle the brand enables—the memorable moments with friends and loved ones that sharing a great meal creates.
“We had to craft every touchpoint of Vermicular’s visual and verbal story for the U.S. consumer, which required us to reimagine every part of brand—that level of ownership and challenge is every designer’s dream.”
Rishi Shourie / Principal + Creative Director
The Vermicular site experience might have eCommerce aims, but it balances those leanings by immersing visitors in a rich narrative of design, heritage, and cuisine. The site design itself is inspired by a simplified, clean Japanese aesthetic.
The Musui and Kamado are presented without distraction, highlighting the minimalist craft of the products. Throughout the site, each content module is precise in its purposefulness, using a visual dichotomy between light and dark hues to highlight the rich features and benefits that make Vermicular come alive.
“At the forefront of our considerations for the website, we seamlessly melded a deeply engaging mood with a sense of lifestyle while including an intuitive and advanced approach to an e-commerce shopping experience.”
Micaela Brookman / Designer
As a new brand in the U.S., it was paramount that the Vermicular logo contribute to a greater understanding of the products. Since the full Vermicular experience can only really be achieved when you have both the Musui, the cast iron pot, and the Kamado, the innovative warming structure, we wanted to convey their meaningful union by having both names present in the logomark, using an en dash to connect them to signify their relationship.
Considered. Patrimonial. Dichotomous. Natural. These are the brand attributes we crafted for Vermicular, attributes which define both our verbal and visual expression. However, ‘dichotomous’ rose to the surface and really became the thread that tied the Vermicular brand identity together. With black and white serving as our primary color palette, we leveraged opposing colors and textures throughout the identity to reflect the natural juxtapositions inherent in the Vermicular products, brand story, and cooking experience.
Cookware as singular as Vermicular necessitated a packaging solution that was just as memorable. Inspired by the identity of the Musui–Kamado symbols, we wanted to showcase how the products interlock to create something even more momentous.
However, we also wanted to give of the products their own personality, so we leveraged textures to emulate the tactile grit of the cast iron, for the Musui, and a high-gloss sheen, for the Kamado.
“Photography was a key ingredient in bringing Vermicular’s brand to life. We considered every detail, from the naturally pebble surfaces, to the hand-thrown pottery a meal nestled within, to the way light trickled across a pot of steaming rice.”
Brooke Willis / Creative Director
The photography direction for all touchpoints of Vermicular’s U.S. launch, including site, cookbook, and brochure center upon the Japanese concept of Yugen, “a profound and mysterious sense of the beauty within the universe.”
It evokes a sense of allure and mystique through dramatic shadows, textural styling, harmonious compositions, and painterly color palettes. It celebrates Vermicular’s ability to enhance the flavors of each ingredient while intriguing the audience to dive deeper into the brand.
Vermicular’s brand story extends beyond the majestic meals. To immerse the audience in the full experience of the brand, Character crafted a film which centers on the idea that the Musui–Kamado captivates the full range of senses, culminating with a sixth sense—one unique to Vermicular—sharing.
Showcasing each of the six senses through a pairing of natural scenery and close-up details of a meal being prepared, the film heightens Vermicular’s reverence for natural ingredients and celebrates the idea that a meal is best when shared with those you love.
With a treasure trove of recipes and cooking techniques, we were honored to craft the first edition of the Vermicular cookbook. Along with crafting the design, pagination, and photography art direction of the cookbook, we also developed all romance copy.
Copy which included Vermicular’s brand narrative, cooking techniques, and all recipe introductions. Our goal of the book is to highlight the versatility of the Musui–Kamado and serve as an inspiration that Vermicular owners can turn to for inspiration, time and time again.
Photography by Laurie Frankel