Branding the Indigenous Food of Pakistan
This project is dear to my heart because it gave me the chance to live the village life in the picturesque Hunza Valley in Northern Pakistan. Tamkeen Nadeem, friend and fellow adventurer sought to discover the indigenous farming and cooking practices of Pakistan. Her venture (developed further by the Do School in Berlin) was about connecting farmers in low-income communities to urban markets and to make people aware of the power they have in making better life choices.
The venture is named CHARU- Sanskrit for purity and colloquially meaning someone who loves food- and I was asked to brand the business and document our discoveries.
Within a year of our initial reconnaissance mission, the brand now has a line of products, stocks at 3 major department stores and has done multiple pop-up shops around the country. The dream is to make CHARU a haven for sustainable food practices with a product line that revives farming communities.
Thinking about the Brand
More than a food brand, CHARU is seen as a mindset- to be conscious about making decisions that are healthy, ethical and at peace with the environment. As a mission, CHARU hopes to leave a place better than how we found it. For us, this meant not only exploring communities in a mindful and responsible manner, but also to learn from old wisdom and making sure we do not create disruption and new hardships for these people.
In terms of branding, this translated into script-based nature inspired logo types. However, as our time in the village went on, we found a new approach.
Surrounded by fruit trees of cherries, apricots, apples and walnuts, Tamkeen and I would often paint what we saw around us. Our village was a small, tight-knit community and often our neighbours would drop by, bringing us food, company and advice. One such time as I sat painting, our new friends arrived and together we painted a woman with a cornucopia of the beauty we were enveloped in.
By embodying the ideas of community, nature and harmony, this painting became the focal point of CHARU's branding.