Creative Director’s Choice: Barton F. Graf’s Zoe Kessler on Baboon bag branding

The design and campaign for Baboon bags is the focus of this week's Creative Director's Choice

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Barton F. Graf creative director Zoe Kessler states her love for Baboon’s duffel bag design and campaign.

It was a typical Tuesday morning when I came across a Facebook post from a friend and fellow AD in advertising – “Michael Kushner started a duffel bag brand? Amazing.” I clicked the link and was transported to a colorfully vibrant far away land called Baboon. I was blown away.

The start-up develops travel bags of varying sizes, colors and patterns for millennials with creative backgrounds and versatile lifestyles. The bags seem sturdy and well made, featuring convertible backpack straps for easy wearing. But the design. I mean, my god. The design.

The brand called in the big guns on this one. The branding by Jessica Walsh is some of the most energetic, bold and inspiring design work I’ve ever seen – not that we ever receive anything but that from her. With every new feature I unfolded, I was more and more astounded. The bold, bright colors, the interesting and unexpected use of mixed media and collage, the custom typeface, the color palette, the photography – I understood it all right away and I fell in love.

They’ve developed a beautiful cast of characters that they feature throughout some print work and photography that I may get tattooed somewhere (probably not, actually [mom] but god, they’re good). They’re so weird and perfect. In one of the less weird ones, a fit and flirty chick wearing an astronaut helmet and red boots with blue soles rides an ostrich while carrying a Baboon flag over her shoulder.

Some of the characters make an appearance as the interior pattern of the bags, so anyone who purchases a bag can carry this absurdly wonderful branding with them everywhere they go.

I also want to mention the brilliant lifestyle photography done by Blaise Cepis. Vaguely reminiscent of Maurizio Cattelan’s photography with his use of misdirects and juxtaposing different objects with body parts, Blaise has elevated the brand even further with his photographs of models toting the bags. They double as ad-like objects for the bags but give you a good sense of the target and the sensibility of the brand as a flirtatious, whimsical, youthful force.

Overall, the fresh new brand is my favorite new work right now. It made me feel absolutely inadequate and untalented in the most incredible way possible.

Thanks to the whole design team involved for making my wildest stegosaurus riding monkey dreams come true.

Zoe Kessler is creative director at Barton F. Graf in New York City.

See the work by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you would like to feature a creative director in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Creative Works editor Kyle O’Brien.

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