For our 65th anniversary, Grado Labs had its first major redesign since being founded in 1953.
Saying that our family puts sound first has never been just a marketing phrase. As long as the headphones and cartridges we design sound like we want them to sound, it never really mattered what the box looked like. The box doesn’t change our sound, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve some thought after six decades. For our 65th year, we decided to give our branding and packaging some attention with the help of the local High Tide.
“We’ve spent 65 years perfecting our sound, let’s spend some time polishing up our edges.”– Jonathan Grado and the sentence that convinced his dad to let him do this
The source of every main wordmark from 1953 to 2010 has become stuff of legend in our family. Over the decades, we have had our logos and branding come out of different places out of pure convenience. For example we needed new envelopes at some point 30 years ago, and the envelope company typed out our name. Well, that’s that and we’ve had the same envelopes ever since. Now imagine that but for almost everything except the headphones.
Our main goal was to polish up our edges and bring some cohesiveness to our packaging, while keeping the heritage of our company and family intact. Being our first branding project in 65 years there was a lot to oversee, but there were a few points we made sure to keep in mind.
The first and most important is we wanted to make sure that someone who might’ve been listening with us since the 1970s, 60s, or even 50s, could see our new logo and still know it’s our family. As it stood though, you could look at all our different boxes and not know they were from the same company.
The second is that the boxes had to be the same for all our products due to storage. After we assemble a pair of headphones it goes right to their box and then right to the listener. We simply don’t have the room for a unique box for every type of headphone. We needed detailed labels that not only worked well with the box design, but were easily customized for their respective pair.
Our regular, wide, and in-ear Grado boxes now have a soft-touch material with black foil stamping. The wide boxes, saved for higher-end headphones, also have a magnetic flap.
A highlight of this project was being able to include other Brooklyn locals, so after bonding over music, we had High Tide come in to help us bring it all together.
We started assembling our phono cartridges on a kitchen table in 1953, and while we didn’t think we’d still be shepherding them all these decades later, we still love them just as much as day one. The cartridges haven’t had a packaging update since the 1970s, so we’re happy to see them in a new home.
Grado hasn’t advertised since 1964, so most people’s first interaction with us is either through a friend or our website. Our new site combines white space with large imagery, while putting our new Suisse font family to good use. High Tide designed the homepage, and we designed the rest of the site from there with development done by Jones Studio Limited.