By: Tony Huey
As the start of our truffle farm and business was progressing, I started designing a website, and we had just finished the selection process for our business name. Our farm and truffle business would be called Truffletopia. Box checked. Next, we needed a logo. We wanted to do something different, something to stand out from the rest – we don’t want to be the standard truffle farm or truffle company – so having a brand identity was important.
During a call, with all three families who own the business, we discussed what was important for the identity of Truffletopia. Since we are a family farm, being family friendly was extremely important. The utopian vision of our families living on the farm together was something we valued greatly. Other ideas that we all agreed upon were being sustainable, animal friendly, having Italian and French ties (a homage to where it all started), being relatable, being luxurious, and being unique and different from everyone else. We had a much larger, different vision for our farm and truffles in general, so we needed a way to convey this.
Ideas were running though my head, and one of my first thoughts that stuck was that we could do something with diamonds. Truffles are expensive and have long been afforded the title, Diamond of the Kitchen. I thought we could combine the concepts of truffles and diamonds and have a couple diamonds with one cut open where the inside of it would resemble the gleba, or the veiny inside, of a truffle. My wife, Brittany, went to the drawing board, literally, and came up with the below concept.
Josh identified that he had seen another business using diamonds to represent truffles, so we went back to the drawing board, figuratively, but all I could think of were tree roots, trees, trees with truffles on the roots, truffle dogs, truffles themselves, and nothing seemed to stand out as different. This was a lot harder than expected, and my brain needed a rest.
I started looking at logos of major brands. Some were simply the word or name of the brand. Others had animals or images which represented them, but many of them had one thing in common, they were relatively simple. They stood out from a mile away, and because of their notoriety people seeing the logo in passing would instantly know what brand it was associated with. These things changed my thought process. I wanted something that would be easily recognizable.
Eventually, I had an epiphany, “What about a unicorn?” I started searching the internet to see if I could find any other brands that were represented by a unicorn, and I couldn’t. Unicorns are unique, rare, and majestic, all qualities that made me think of truffles. At the same time, we wanted our company to be different and stand out from the rest, so I thought this was very fitting.
I continued down my rabbit hole of research to find that unicorns had been a part of Greek, Babylonian, Persian, British, Native American, Chinese, and African cultures. If we were to choose a unicorn logo, it would be recognizable to people from all over the world. To top it off, the unicorn had many positive and symbolic meanings, including but not limited to magic, health, purity, harmonious sovereignty, desire, happiness, power, fate, good fortune, irresistibility, pride, glory, freedom, and uniqueness. Many of these descriptors either fit with or have been associated with truffles throughout their history. “This is perfect,” I thought to myself.
As Brittany and I got ready for bed, I went back through my phone, looking at some of the things I had read, and I said to her, “What about a unicorn?” She seemed a little apprehensive at first, and I asked, “What words do you think of, when you think of a unicorn?” She replied using words like magical, majestic, beautiful, and different. I started telling her about everything I had read about unicorns, their symbolism, and how I believed it could be related to truffles, and not long after, I think she was buying in. Later, I would come to find out that her apprehension was she was unsure what the other families might think about a unicorn representing our brand.
The next morning, I opened an email from Josh with some concept logos he created using online images. The first logo incorporated diamonds, a utopian scene coming out of a truffle, trees with truffles, and a truffle hunter with his dog. The next logo was a little simpler with the truffle hunter, his dog, a tree with a truffle, and a moon.
Both concepts were great ideas and hit on the things we talked about as a group, but in the back of my mind, I was still thinking about the unicorn idea. I closed the email, and I realized I had a second email from Josh. The subject line read, “concept 2 - for Lily :)”, and when I opened the email, Josh wrote, “This one is for Lily when she takes over the business.” When I saw the logo concept, I couldn’t believe it. This truly would have been Lily’s choice for a logo if you showed her all three. This is what I saw.
Our daughter, Lily, absolutely loved unicorns. Before we moved to North Carolina and were planning to buy the land, which would become our truffle farm surrounded by each family’s home, Lily asked Brittany and me, “Can we name our neighborhood Unihood? Like unicorn and neighborhood put together.” I immediately knew this was the route we had to take. It was meant to be! Our logo had to include a unicorn.
I saw Josh doing some work outside, so I went to lend a hand, but I also had to discuss his logo concepts (really the unicorn one). None of us had spoken of a unicorn as a logo prior to this conversation, so I was a little unsure if his unicorn concept and email were more of a joke, but when we got to talking, we discussed the branding of the unicorn and being able to dress it up or dress it down for luxury or for fun, essentially for everyone in a family. We talked about the unicorn’s symbolism and the fit with truffles and how it also fit the vision of our farm. We both thought this was a great idea, and now we just needed everyone’s thoughts.
As we contemplated the unicorn idea, keeping the logo simple and easily recognizable, and dressing it up from a traditional unicorn image, we thought about merging a unicorn with a knight chess piece which is traditionally represented by a horse’s head and neck. Knight chess pieces are quite unique. They are the only piece that can move from the back row on your first turn, and they move in the shape of an “L”, with the potential for 8 moves during a turn. Knights in general are known to represent ideals like strength, honor, loyalty, and integrity as they served as warriors and protectors of royal families, countries, or kingdoms in medieval times.
Once everyone agreed and bought into the idea of having a unicorn chess piece as our logo, we contacted a local graphic designer and artist, Myke Williams, who was referred to us by one of Brittany’s friends. I sent Myke our ideas and thoughts of what we wanted to incorporate into the logo, but I also wanted to give him the freedom of being an artist. I attached a few images I found on the internet for inspiration.
Myke started with the font type and sent us multiple options. We choose our favorite fonts before our next meeting with him, and during the meeting, he shared his thoughts and inspiration for the ones we liked. That day, we settled on the font that we use today. Within the next two weeks, Myke sent us a presentation using two different logo concepts, to display what each option would look like on luxury style packaging, branded clothing, and on our social media accounts. Our families fell in love with one of the options, and we all agreed to make one minor adjustment to the design. Myke got our approval for the final rendering, and Truffletopia as you know it was born.