Unlike ornery New Yorkers, most Swedes have never had major moral beef with the steady colonization of 7-Eleven in their cities (well, for the most part). In fact, Stockholm was the location of the convenience mega-chain’s first European location back in 1978. So when the Swedish arm of 7-Eleven invited BVD to take on a rebrand last year, the goal wasn’t to tone down the corporate identity of the chain, as it might have been on this side of the Atlantic.
Instead, the Stockholm-based studio dove into 7-Eleven’s 80-year-old graphic identity, embracing and amplifying its most distinctive elements. At the core of their reimagined brand is the company’s green-and-orange pinstripe pattern, which has fallen out of favor in the past decade or so (perhaps because it’s more likely to remind us of Clerks than good coffee). “The iconic stripes are the take-off point of our design,” BVD partner Rikard Ahlberg told Co.Design. “We used them in a new and more modern way, creating a strong recognizable graphic signal that works in a busy environment.” Alongside the new patterns, Ahlberg and his team resurrected 7-Eleven’s old typeface.
Architecturally speaking, many 7-Elevens in America have chosen to tone down the glaring lights and garish colors associated with its gas-station-rest-stop image. Head into the shop closest to my house, and you’re greeted by a pristine white interior, lit by recessed halogen bulbs and decorated with only a few 7-Eleven logos. For BVD, scrubbing the interiors of brand identity wasn’t an issue--in fact, the idea was to turn up the volume. They redesigned the kiosk components to include a gigantic “Kaffe” sign done in the distinctive lettering, and turned everything a deep hunter green. It’s a bold move, especially considering the attendant cultural cliches about whitewashed Scandinavian design, but it works: the interiors look warm and busy.
According to Ahlberg, the new identity rolled out at the end of this year. It’s unlikely that we’ll see it on this side of the pond, given the differences both in corporate ownership and consumer sentiment, but he’s keeping an open mind--a positive public response in Sweden could invite American execs to reconsider.
[H/t It’s Nice That]