Heritage Steel: Rebranding a classic American cookware company
Designed in pencil, artworked by computer, stamped in steel.
Today, November 9, 2023, is the official launch of a new range of premium, stainless-clad, professional-quality cookware brought to you by Eater x Heritage Steel – making this the perfect day to showcase some of the design work I created for the Eater series and the core Heritage Steel brand over the last eight months.
Heritage Steel is a storied, family-owned manufacturing company based in Clarksville, Tennessee, making some of the finest stainless steel cookware known to humankind for the last forty years.
Rebranding an American cookware company with such a strong heritage and experience making products that last decades proved to be the perfect antithesis to my previous work in the ephemeral world of digital media. It has been the epitome of "measure twice, cut once;" there's no going back to adjust the line spacing or fixing a typo once a logo is stamped on a metal pan handle or printed on hundreds of packing boxes; these finished designs are literally set in steel. This permanence made this project equally exhilarating and terrifying.
The starting point was to look for ideas and inspiration from the heritage of Heritage Steel and use them as the creative foundation for the design work. For example, the line art "wallpaper" on the packing boxes incorporates the actual design drawings of the pans and handles; the crossbar on the H logo is the shape of the state of Tennessee – in full disclosure, this was a brilliant idea that came directly from Danny Henn and Bobby Driggs at Heritage Steel – and the spiral pattern cut in the bottom of the pans inspired the "vinyl record" graphic used on the packing boxes.
Of course, no creative director can do this work alone; this has been a truly collaborative project, and all the better for it.
In addition to the creative support from Danny and Bobby at Heritage Steel, I also have to thank designer Shawn Willis for his work on preparing the packaging artwork and Danielle Atkins's superb product photography. And, of course, last but certainly not least, a massive heartfelt thanks to Eric Karp at Vox Media, without whom none of this would have happened in the first place.
Below is a small sample of my logo and wordmark design for the Heritage Steel brand in general and the Eater series in particular. And, of course, you can learn more about the Eater series products themselves on Heritage Steel's website.