How do you turn an average brand into a luxury brand?


Branding is important. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to customers just how important it is when it comes to how potential customers perceive their products. To help us explain, we decided to rebrand some common household brands in the UK, giving them the “Apple treatment.” I.e. we applied some of the same principles Steve Jobs and co. applied when branding Apple.

Apple’s branding philosophy has two key pillars:

  • user friendliness is an integral part of the design process
  • simplicity/minimalism (a lot of “white space”/no clutter)

Applying just these two principles we went ahead and redesigned several different household brands.


Tetley is the largest tea provider (by volume) in the UK and Canada and the second largest in the United States. In other words, chances are you’ve heard of them!

As the brand has a long history (it was launched in 1837), it could be considered a heritage brand, which would automatically up their status, but their current branding doesn’t allure to that.

Rebranding Tetley, we decided to go with the heritage feel, while also bringing out various different elements of the products.

Simply using a serif font, we brought out the company’s long history in the logo. Then we used a Japanese print, to bring out the origin of the tea. As for the color palette, we stuck to earthy tones in general, so as to emphasize that it’s a natural product, but we also added a colorful strip to visualize the flavor of the tea. The strip, furthermore, make the different flavors easily recognizable and therefore easier to pick out on a shelf.


McDonald’s branding is legendary. There’s no question about that. However, if McDonald’s wanted to turn themselves into a high-end hamburger joint, or speciality coffee shop (in fact, they’re currently both a hamburger joint and coffeeshop, but in the fast food end of the market), what would their branding look like?

We decided to keep their brown paper bags and logo (a modern and minimalist sans-serif font), as they are stylistically clean and eco-friendly (the paper bag, not the logo, that is). However, we changed the color palette and got rid of the clutter to give them a more mature and sophisticated look. We also added a wooden peg to close the paper bags, as apart from being practical, they add a touch of style. It makes the bags easily recognizable.


Lynx is a cheap household brand, providing body products. They’ve done well for themselves in their market, but to break into the high-end market, they’d need an upgrade.

We changed their branding by, firstly, by changing their logo to one using a clean sans-serif font that’s also masculine (as men are their main target market). Then we added spacing in the logo, which immediately made it look more sophisticated.

Secondly, we changed the packaging around, choosing stylistically clean options. In short, we got rid of “that cheap plastic look.”

Ryan Air

Ryan Air offers cheap airfares, but that doesn’t mean their branding has to be cheap. Their current boarding passes are crowded with information and difficult to read for that reason. Thus, the first thing we did, was adding space and reducing the clutter.

Ryan Air already uses yellow in their current color scheme, but rather than having both navy blue and black, we go rid of the navy blue. This added to the cleanliness of the look. The yellow is great, as it adds vibrancy when used correctly.

To try to make traveling less time consuming and more eco-friendly, we added the return ticket on the same boarding pass as the outbound flight. However, in reality that might be currently impossible as you have to check in to receive your boarding pass…


What would KFC look like if they started serving gourmet fried chicken? We decided to find out!

Garish red is synonymous with Italian restaurants with red and white checkered table cloths, and fast food. As we wanted something representing gourmet food, we went for subtle blue tones instead of the red.

While we kept the logo, we went with a sans-serif typeface for the rest of the text. The packaging itself was chosen for its clean and minimalistic feel.


Heinz is the ketchup brand of all ketchup brands, but what would they look if they were a high-end brand, or simply had one or two high-end products as part of their offering?

Firstly, one would have to get rid of the plastic, as plastic and cheap goes hand-in-hand. We chose a sophisticated metallic tin, with a simple black label.

While we kept the Heinz logo (no need to get rid of the iconic heritage), we ensured that the rest of the text was minimal and sans-serif. This so as to bring people’s focus to the splash of red we added to allure to the ketchup inside. The red attracts attention and also helps consumers get a visual for what they’ll be tasting.


Heineken is a favorite beer brand around the world, but what would a high-end Heineken beer look like?

We kept Heineken’s colors and logo, but we completely redesigned the feel of the product by sticking with minimalism and simplicity. By using white for the entire bottle, the green comes out much more and as green is associated with being a “stamp of approval” this is a good thing. Particularly for an alcoholic beverage.

The logo has a serif font, but for the rest of the text, we went with sans-serif so as to give a clear hierarchy and help declutter the label. It creates a more modern look as well.

A lot of beer bottles look the same on the shelves. This one will stand out from the crowd. Sometimes thinking outside the box really does make a difference.

In Closing

Sophisticated design can often be achieved by applying the same philosophy Apple did — minimalism and simplicity with a focus on user friendliness. At Heue Digital we often favor this approach as reducing the clutter also makes it easier for consumers to actually see what they’re buying. By keeping it simple, information is digested more easily. And, of course, user friendliness should always be in focus as picking up a product it’s difficult to use, puts the clients off using it.