This blog post includes a topic that you could say is slightly off-topic. The outdoors, but don’t worry, I’ll be covering some really good outdoor brands.
Here at Canny, we aren’t just office “Monkeys”. We have hobbies outside of work, believe it or not.
Before I dive into one of my hobbies, I’d like to provide a brief introduction to what it is I do here at Canny.
I’m a front end web developer, this means I develop your business websites from designs our designer makes. This means I spend quite a bit of time in front of the computer (as you can probably imagine).
So, wouldn’t it be nice to have some sort of hobby that requires no computer? A developer away from a computer, that’s unheard of!
Well, one of the finer things I enjoy in life is the outdoors. I enjoy camping with a bit of hiking on the side, hiking down to a local pub. Jokes.
If I mention the outdoors to some of my colleagues, they immediately say nope. Why camp when you can have the comforts of a five-star hotel?
Well, there’s quite a bit of small little things to enjoy when staying outdoors. For me, I enjoy every aspect, but some I’d like to mention include:
Organising the trip
- Rounding up the people you are going with
- Going out and buying any hiking/camping stuff I need
- Enjoying the “road trip” to the location you are hiking/camping
- Finding a good bit of ground to set up camp
- Setting up camp (finding a good arrangement of trees to set up your tarp)
- The cold mornings with the sun beaming down onto your face warming you up
- Cooking your meals around the fire or using camping stoves
One area I particularly enjoy is the Lake District here in the UK. If you live in the UK and haven’t been and would like a taste of the outdoors, I highly recommend the Lake District.
But, before all the outdoor activities can happen you need to have the right gear. You need the appropriate clothing, the correct sized rucksack, a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent/tarp, cooking utensils, map, compass and quite possibly so much more!
There is nothing better than investing in good gear that’s going to last you over the years of your outdoor enjoyment. I have a saying I like to say to myself, if you buy cheap you buy twice.
But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy the most expensive gear or have to pay full price for the good gear. You can always meet halfway or wait until a sale is on.
Here is a list of brands I particularly like:
- The North Face
Now, I have mentioned I’m a front end developer, this means I’m not a designer and don’t have the “designer” insight as a designer would have. So, you’ll be hearing about brands from a non-designers perspective.
I think that sounds like a nice little switch up, rather than me talking about all things web/web development related, you are reading things about branding and don’t forget, the outdoors!
The very first brand I’d like to talk about is Fjallraven. This is one of my favourite outdoor brands and believe it or not, some of my colleagues too!
Fjallraven is a Swedish company that specialises in outdoor equipment ranging from clothing to backpacks. Fjallraven was founded in 1960 by Ake Nordin.
Fjallraven’s logo consists of a logo/text type logo. It consists of a fox and the text FJALLRAVEN. Fjallraven actually means “The Arctic Fox”.
The fox part of the logo is a curled up fox. It’s clear and concise and has a small frame meaning it doesn’t take up any unnecessary space.
The fox part only consists of a head and tail, so it’s definitely a minimal logo design. I personally like minimal designs as I find them clean and to the point.
The text part of the logo is all uppercase and uses the font “Frankfurter”. According to Olsson, the person responsible for creating the final design of the Fjallraven Logo said it accompanied the logo in a highly agreeable way.
There has, quite naturally, been an update to the logo to make sure it works on digital formats. The original logo lasted 50 years though.
Here is a design of the original design
Here is a design of the redesigned design.
As you can see it has undergone a bit of polish, but the primary reason was to make sure it would work on digital formats.
But, there’s one aspect worth mentioning about Fjallraven. It’s sustainability.
Because Fjallraven is an outdoor company and all of its products are used outdoors by people doing outdoor activities, the products Fjallraven develops has an impact on the environment.
They are well aware of their environmental footprint and like to keep it as small as possible. So, when Fjallraven is designing their products, they keep nature in mind and use one material over another where they can.
An example I know that they’ve considered the environment from personal experience is from one of their backpacks. The Singi 48L versatile backpack – this backpack as a very good carrying system and is supported with European Birch rather than using meta (like they used to).
Now for Fjallraven’s actual products.
Fjallraven’s range includes:
- Sleeping bags
- Travel accessories
- Rain covers
- Hunting Equipment
As you can see Fjallraven provides a good range when it comes to outdoor equipment.
I actually found this brand a while ago when looking for a new backpack. I actually really wanted to give this brand a go at the time because I have seen the popular Kanken floating about the streets quite regularly.
If you are reading this blog post and are into hiking yourself, a bag I absolutely highly recommend is the Fjallraven Singi 48L. This is a modular backpack, you can actually buy two different types of pouches to sit on both sides and even the back of the backpack.
This extends the capacity to nearly 70L. It even has a sturdy strap system to attach your tent (or other items) to the outside of the backpack. There are other features so be sure to check it out.
Now, when looking at Fjallraven’s products, the logo seems to just match the products perfectly. The overall style and quality of the products live up to the branding.
So, why do I like the brand and what makes this brand good?
Well, I like this brand because Fjallraven does an exceptional job of creating highly functional equipment.
The thing that makes this brand good is the overall quality of products and the fact that they keep their footprint to a bare minimum.
Osprey is a Californian company that focuses solely on backpacks.
The backpacks Osprey develop are generally very lightweight. I’ll talk more about that very soon.
But firstly, let’s talk about the logo. Just like Fjallraven, the logotype is a logo/text logo. It consists of the word OSPREY in uppercase, just like Fjallraven, with an Osprey Eagle below it. The design of the Osprey looks like a skeleton-like structure because of the thin outline, thin feathers and body.
The osprey’s wings are spanned out and it’s positioned as if it’s coming into land or picking up its prey. But, to me, this seems to represent how light their products really are – a thinly drawn Osprey swooping in to land.
Upon doing a bit of investigation there seem to be two variations of the Osprey logo – an all-black design with the Osprey text and Osprey and a variant with red Osprey text with an oval around the whole design.
Osprey actually makes their backpacks by hand and are specifically designed to flow/work with the human body according to the founder Mike Pfotenhauer. He wants the backpacks to be used and like to hear stories about his products being used.
Osprey actually makes their products because people need a backpack that performs and don’t do it just to make money.
Here is the all-black design.
I actually found the brand years ago when I started getting into hiking. I actually got into hiking through the Air Cadets, a nice little fact.
I was quite small at the time and needed something lightweight so Osprey was actually my first choice. I didn’t see the point in getting a non-branded backpack – I’ve heard stories of straps snapping from the cheaper brands and the last thing I wanted was to hike 8 hours with a broken strap.
I like Osprey because of how lightweight their bags are, on top of being lightweight they feel extremely strong and won’t break if you cram them to the brim with gear.
The thing that makes osprey good is the philosophy behind their products – they want a backpack that works, performs and lasts through countless uses.
Patagonia is a Californian company that sells a range of outdoor equipment. Patagonia actually has a long and complicated history upon doing some initial research – Patagonia has been around since the 1950s.
Just like Fjallraven, Patagonia really cares about the environment. Every year they have undertaken an education campaign on environmental issues.
Because of this Patagonia have undertaken educational events in the past to spread awareness.
The logo design of Patagonia consists of text and background design. The font that makes up Patagonia is called Belwe and is a Serif font.
The background is of an outline of mountains and the night sky with blue and orange stripes.
There are actually two other variations of the logo – one with the Patagonia text and the mountain outline but without the night sky colours and one with just the Patagonia text with no mountains.
Here are the three variations of the logo:
The range Patagonia have include:
- Sleeping bags
One of the products I like the most from Patagonia is their selection of T-shirts – people know about their events so it’s nice to have a T-shirt that promotes Patagonia and it also shows that you are aware of what they do.
I like Patagonia primarily because of the educational events they undertook in the past and the fact that they put extensive research into their clothing. They actually have body-mapped Capilene base layer clothing that wicks moisture more efficiently and allows more freedom of movement.
The North Face
The North Face brand is without a doubt one of the top brands for mountaineering and outdoor clothing. Although I’m no mountaineer myself, I really like the outdoor range the North Face has to offer.
The North Face was founded in the 1960s in San Francisco. The North Face brand is actually named from the coldest side of a mountain – the North Face.
From there it has become a worldwide known brand.
Now for the logo design.
The logo is made up of text and three stripes. The text part of the logo is in uppercase and uses the font and uses the Helvetica Bold font family.
The three stripes are thick and bold and they actually represent the north face of a mountain too.
Now for the colours of the logo – the primary colour of the logo is black. There are two other variants though. One with a black background with white text and stripes and one with a red background and white text and stripes.
The North Face has a wide range of products:
A good selection of accessories from scarfs to helmets
One of the reasons I like “The North Face” comes down to the quality of their fleeces. I have one called “wind wall” and it literally does what it says – it blocks the (cold) wind.
That’s the thing I like about the north face, whatever the description says their product does, it does just that and really well.
You don’t have to worry about performance issues when it comes to The North Face.
So, the thing I really like about The North Face (the performance) is what makes The North Face brand good.
MSR stands for Mountain Safety Research and was founded in the 1960s. MSR originally started to test the safety of climbing equipment and revealing any concerns. The results were published through an MSR newsletter for the local climbing community. It then started its own range of products that fell in line with safety in mind.
So you can be sure anything that you purchase from MSR is completely safe to use and has the absolute if not, no safety concerns.
Not only is MSR’s equipment safe, but it performs too.
MSR’s logo has actually undergone a few iterations.
It originally started off as a basic sketch of a maintain with the text MSR inside the mountain.
Then there are currently five different versions from there.
Over the years the iterations have added polish to the logo design. However, the most recent iteration has the addition of “Global Health” underneath it.
Some of MSR’s products include:
- Cooking equipment
- Water Filters
- Snow shoes
- Poles (walking sticks)
I actually came across MSR when looking for a good quality lightweight durable tent that’s easy to erect and dismantle.
If you are looking for such a tent, I highly recommend the Hubba range, if this is a bit steep for you, my next recommendation would be the Elixir range. These are just a little heavier than the Hubba range.
The reason I like MSR is the fact that they have safety and performance in mind.
The thing that makes MSR great is the same reason I like the brand – the safety and performance.
The fact that the MSR logo has been reiterated a few times and is a successful business, this goes to show you should not be afraid of a rebrand.
If you are in need of a rebrand check out what we can do, here’s a project we’ve completed for a startup called My Orchard.
Rab specialises in mountain equipment and was founded in Sheffield in the 1980s. The company is named after the creator “Rab Carrington”.
The company originally started making “no-nonsense hardwearing gear” and they still stand by that today.
One of the original products they developed include the Andes jacket, this jacket is still part of the range today.
The Rab logo consists of text and two “mountain” contours. This is what I and interpret from looking at the logo.
Underneath the Rab text and mountain contours are the words “The Mountain People” in uppercase.
The range of products Rab offers includes:
- Sleeping bags
- Accessories ranging from belts to liners
The thing I like most about Rab is their philosophy “no-nonsense and hard-wearing gear”.
This is what makes the Rab brand to me.
Craghoppers is a British company and was founded in West Yorkshire in the 1960s. The idea behind the company was to create a range of clothing that keeps you warm, dry and comfortable whilst doing your outdoor activities in any location and weather condition.
The Craghoppers’ logo consists of the text Craghoppers and an outline of the famous Mouffie ram’s head. This is because Craghoppers’ clothing is designed to be resilient and to protect you from the elements whilst travelling.
Craghoppers’s range of products include:
- Small backpacks
Accessories ranging from hats to walking sticks
One of the reasons I like Craghoppers’ comes down to the fact that it was actually the first brand I discovered when looking for outdoor stuff during my air cadet years.
As a matter of fact, one of the first Crahopper products I purchased was the Bear Grylls survivor pants by Craghoppers.
I was super excited at the time because I enjoyed watching Bear Grylls and still do.
Now that the brands are out the way, let’s touch on the outdoor stuff before this blog post ends.
I’d like to list out a few different locations that are worth visiting in the UK, particularly if you like the countryside.
So here goes:
- The Lake District
- The Peak District
- The Yorkshire Dales
Before we close, there is one important thing worth mentioning when it comes to branding. It’s all well and good having a good brand, but you need a marketing campaign to go along with it – you should have a plan in place .
If you’d like to read more on what marketing campaigns can do, here’s a blog post on some scarily good marketing campaigns.
Conclusion: The Outdoors and Outdoor Brands
As a developer, it’s good to get out and about when not at the computer. I also appreciate what goes into branding, not just web related things.
After all, I do create websites from branded designs.
The list of brands from this article for a reminder (if you would like to look further into the mentioned brands) include:
- The North Face
There are of course many other brands out there, but the ones mentioned are up there with my favourite, with Fjallraven being my number one.
If you are starting up a business, or are in need of a rebrand be sure to check us out.