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Tasting Place: Themes in Food and Beverage Product Logos from Three North Atlantic Island Regions

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Islands have long been romanticized for their potential to facilitate the kind of escape from globalization increasingly sought by neolocalism-driven consumers, and are thus uniquely positioned to emphasize their distinctive environment and culture through a holistic destination brand which targets both the tourism and local product markets. The current study examines the relationship between destination brands and local food and beverage brands in three North Atlantic island regions: Newfoundland, Iceland, and Shetland. Using a blend of content and thematic analysis to identify and analyse prominent themes employed in product logos, this study offers insight regarding food and beverage branding approaches in island contexts and their relationship to regional destination brands. Throughout the content examined for this study, island-based food and beverage producers demonstrated an intense and dynamic connection to place, as exemplified through the themes of place, culture, and environment embedded in their logos. Discussion of the study findings highlights the importance of strong logo branding for entrepreneurial success and regional tourism promotion, and advocates for future research and practical implementation of effective branding and logo design.
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157
Address correspondence to Maggie J. Whitten Henry, Institute of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University
Avenue, Charlottetown, PE, Canada C1A 4P3. E-mail: mjhenry@upei.ca
“spaces of heightened conceptualisability, spaces
that are exceptionally easy to imagine as places
(Grydehøj, 2018, p. 1, italic in original), thus
affording them a heightened sense of connection
to place (Campelo, Aitken, Thyne, & Gnoth, 2014;
Hay, 2006). While some scholars have positioned
islands’ relative size and peripherality as “structural
handicaps” (Baldacchino, 2002, p. 254), others
have found many small islands to have remarkably
Introduction
Islands have long captured the collective imagi-
nation (Baldacchino & Khamis, 2018; Gillis,
2007; Grydehøj, 2018). There are many aspects
of islands and the island experience that contrib-
ute to their allure, perhaps most notably their pal-
pable geographic separateness (Grydehøj, 2018;
Hay, 2006). Their unique spatiality makes islands
TASTING PLACE: THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT
LOGOS FROM THREE NORTH ATLANTIC ISLAND REGIONS
MAGGIE J. WHITTEN HENRY
Institute of Island Studies, University of Prince Edward Island,
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Islands have long been romanticized for their potential to facilitate the kind of escape from global-
ization increasingly sought by neolocalism-driven consumers, and are thus uniquely positioned to
emphasize their distinctive environment and culture through a holistic destination brand that targets
both the tourism and local product markets. The current study examines the relationship between
destination brands and local food and beverage brands in three North Atlantic island regions: New-
foundland, Iceland, and Shetland. Using a blend of content and thematic analysis to identify and
analyze prominent themes employed in product logos, this study offers insight regarding food and
beverage branding approaches in island contexts and their relationship to regional destination brands.
Throughout the content examined for this study, island-based food and beverage producers dem-
onstrated an intense and dynamic connection to place, as exemplified through the themes of place,
culture, and environment embedded in their logos. Discussion of the study findings highlights the
importance of strong logo branding for entrepreneurial success and regional tourism promotion, and
advocates for future research and practical implementation of effective branding and logo design.
Key words: Branding; Islands; Local food and beverage; Logo; Tourism
158 WHITTEN HENRY
thus uniquely positioned to emphasize their distinc-
tive environment and culture through a holistic des-
tination brand targeting both the tourism and local
product markets (Baldacchino & Khamis, 2018;
Grydehøj, 2011a, 2011b).
The current study examines the relationship
between destination brands and local food and bev-
erage brands in three North Atlantic island regions:
Newfoundland, Iceland, and Shetland. By identi-
fying and analyzing prominent themes employed
in product logos, this study seeks to gain insight
regarding food and beverage branding approaches
in island contexts and their relationship to regional
destination brands, using the findings to provide
direction for future research and practical imple-
mentation of effective branding and logo design.
The island regions of Newfoundland (Canada),
Iceland, and Shetland (Scotland) were selected for
the study due to their similar cold water climates,
peripheral geographic situations, and expand-
ing tourism industries. They will each be briefly
introduced below, followed by a literature review
discussing sense of place, brand narrative, and a
review of the relevant logo literature.
The Study
Newfoundland
As with many regions that were devastated by
the collapse of the Northern cod fishery, over the
past two decades the Canadian province of New-
foundland and Labrador has embraced tourism as
a means to diversify and revitalize its economy
(Rockett & Ramsey, 2017; Stoddart, Catano, &
Ramos, 2018). A sense of place—particularly the
coastal landscape and its power of inspiration—is
central to Newfoundland and Labradors branding,
and its award-winning “Find Yourself Here” cam-
paign emphasizes three key aspects of the region:
people and culture, natural landscape, and his-
tory and heritage (Newfoundland and Labrador
Tourism, 2019; Rockett & Ramsey, 2017; Stod-
dart et al., 2018). In line with this, the province has
seen an increase in rural tourism in recent years,
with many initiatives throughout the island focus-
ing on restoration of built heritage and embrac-
ing and rejuvenating local culture and knowledge
(Rockett & Ramsey, 2017; Smith, 2016; Stoddart &
strong economies (Baldacchino, 2005; Briguglio,
1995; Hall, 2012; Hay, 2006). This success can be
attributed in part to the islands’ repositioning of
would-be obstacles as regional assets, highlighting
and capitalizing on the unique environments and
cultures yielded by their relative size and periph-
erality (Baldacchino, 2005; Brown & Cave, 2010;
Grydehøj, 2011b).
Such strategies are also typical of destination
branding, a marketing approach that focuses on
development and maintenance of assets (Almeyda-
Ibáñez & George, 2017; Brown & Cave, 2010). In a
tourism context, destination branding serves to iden-
tify and differentiate a destination by emphasizing
its unique features (both intangible and material)
that set it apart from its neighbors and competition
(Almeyda-Ibáñez & George, 2017; Campelo et al.,
2014; Grydehøj, 2008, 2011b; Pike, 2005). Desti-
nation branding strategies also have applications
beyond tourism, and can promote many aspects of
a nation or region. Accordingly, a trend is emerging
towards a holistic approach to destination branding,
marketing tourism along with facets such as immi-
gration and local products (Baldacchino & Khamis,
2018; Grydehøj, 2008, 2011a; Leask & Rihova,
2010; Pike, 2005).
Many studies have examined the success of
islands’ asset-based approaches in an entrepre-
neurial context (Baldacchino, 2002; Butler, 2015;
Fellman, Kinnunen, & Lindström, 2015). While
Baldacchino’s (2002) account of “small-island suc-
cess” focused on examples of thriving island-based
businesses that were at the time considered the
“exceptions” (p. 254) to the rule, times are chang-
ing. The desire to escape the homogeneity of glo-
balized society has prompted a shift in consumer
preferences towards more local product. This
renewed interest in preserving and promoting com-
munity identity—neolocalism—is a movement that
is growing steadily, reflecting consumers’ burgeon-
ing appreciation of all things local (Argent, 2018;
Baldacchino, 2010; Flack, 1997; Hede & Watne,
2013; Taylor & DiPietro, 2019). Islands have long
been romanticized for their potential to facilitate the
kind of escape from globalization that some con-
sumers seek—in fact, as Baldacchino (2012) noted,
“islands have been branded long before the concept
found its way into management schools and con-
temporary marketing discourse” (p. 55)—and are
THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT LOGOS 159
classifies its key brand narratives as cultural,
adventurous, creative, sustainable, mysterious, and
pure (Inspired by Iceland, 2018, p. 11). The brand’s
logo (see Fig. 2) features the official brand name
alongside an image of the island of Iceland.
Shetland
Once considered by the Romans to be the edge of
the earth, Shetland is the most isolated archipelago
in the UK (Jennings, 2017). Its main economic con-
tributors are fish and oil; however, tourism makes a
substantial contribution, along with creative indus-
tries (Shetland Islands Council, 2019a). Although
Shetland is a Scottish constituency, its strong
Viking heritage is a “prominent culture marker for
both Shetlanders and outsiders,” (Grydehøj, 2008,
p. 183) resulting in a unique regional identity that
has been described as “Scottish with a clear Nor-
dic twist” (Jennings, 2015, p. 161). In recent years,
Promote Shetland, the islands’ marketing organiza-
tion, has been rolling out an increasingly holistic
marketing approach that seeks to attract people to
live, work, and be educated in Shetland, in addi-
tion to attracting tourists and travelers (Horlings
& Kanemasu, 2015; Shetland Islands Council,
Graham, 2016; Stoddart et al., 2018). The current
study focuses on the island portion of the province,
referred to henceforth as “Newfoundland.”
Newfoundland does not have a distinct brand
or logo for destination promotion, and the tourism
body (Visit Newfoundland and Labrador) operates
under the official Government of Newfoundland
and Labrador logo (see Fig. 1), which features the
name of the province and the country, and a group
of three pitcher plants, which are the province’s
official floral emblem (Government of Canada,
2017).
Iceland
The island nation of Iceland is located in the
far North Atlantic, just a few degrees south of the
Arctic Circle (Íslandsstofa, 2019). First settled by
Norwegians in 874, Iceland was governed inde-
pendently until the 13th century before acceding to
Norwegian, followed by Danish, rule, finally gain-
ing national independence and sovereignty in 1918
(Fullveldi Íslands, 2018). Iceland’s rugged natural
landscape is full of breathtaking vistas featuring
volcanos, mountains, desert, and fjords (Campbell,
2019). Shaped by the island’s relative isolation and
extreme forces of nature, Icelandic culture empha-
sizes resilience and strong connections to family,
tradition, and nature (Campbell, 2019; Íslandsstofa,
2019). The nation’s official destination brand,
Inspired by Iceland, is the umbrella under which
all official marketing activities take place (Camp-
bell, 2019; Íslandsstofa, n.d.). The unique environ-
ment and culture of Iceland is central to Inspired
by Iceland’s branding approach, and the brand’s
2018 “Building Blocks for Marketing” document
Figure 1. Logo of Newfoundland and Labrador. Retrieved
from http://gov.nl.ca.
Figure 2. Logo of Inspired by Iceland. Retrieved from
http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com.
Figure 3. Logo of Promote Shetland. Retrieved from http://
www.shetland.org.
160 WHITTEN HENRY
instilled” (Hay, 2006, p. 31) and offers extraordi-
nary potential for human–place bonding (Campelo
et al., 2014; Hay, 2006; Hede & Watne, 2013).
Sense of place “burrows into the heart of the sym-
bolic place-consciousness of [the locality]” (Flack,
1997, p. 49) and, accordingly, can evoke feelings
of belonging in consumers, a quality that the mar-
keting world recognizes and seeks to capitalize on
(Hede & Watne, 2013; Schnell & Reese, 2003).
From a branding perspective, channeling sense of
place through narratives related to a distinct place
enables consumers to connect with both the place
and the product in a way that is meaningful to them
(Hede & Watne, 2013; Schnell & Reese, 2003).
Such brand narratives are, like human narratives,
the product of “a human tendency to . . . project
human-like traits onto external objects and those of
external objects onto ourselves” (Hirschman, 2010,
p. 581)—that is, “humanization.” In addition to
facilitating a connection with place and brand, the
relationship-based nature of these narratives also
serves to strengthen perceptions of authenticity—a
particularly coveted attribute within the growing
neolocal movement (Flack, 1997; Hede & Watne,
2013; Melewar & Skinner, 2018).
A recent study of sense of place in craft beer brand
humanization identified a number of ways that place
attachment can assist in personalizing a brand, most
notably through narratives involving region-specific
folklore and heritage (Hede & Watne, 2013). The
authors suggest that because of the local appeal of
brand narratives, this approach is most common and
effective among smaller, more independent brands,
as these operations tend to have a more neolocal fla-
vor (Flack, 1997; Hede & Watne, 2013; Weersink,
Probyn-Smith, & von Massow, 2018).
Logos
The importance of a strong branding identity is
reiterated throughout the logo literature. Key ele-
ments of visual brand expression include typogra-
phy, color, slogan, and logo (Kim & Lim, 2019).
Logos, defined as the “graphic design[s] that a com-
pany uses, with or without its name, to identify itself
or its products” (Henderson & Cote, 1998, p. 14),
are ubiquitous in the current business and marketing
world (Kim & Lim, 2019). A well-designed logo is
critical to a brand’s communication of its identity,
2019b). Shetland’s promotional logo (see Fig. 3),
at once resembling both the scroll of a fiddle and
the bow of a Viking longship, features the slogan
“Pride of Place” and represents “the sea, music,
pride, determination, and land of Shetland” (Hor-
lings & Kanemasu, 2015, p. 317; see also Shetland
Islands Council, 2019b).
Summary of Island Regions
All three logos are fairly similar in design, each
featuring simply the name of the place or brand and
one graphic element. Despite simple appearances,
all three of these logos are in fact rich in themes
of place, as each has incorporated key aspects of
their destination: Newfoundland emphasizes nature
and, in a way, tradition (with its use of a standard-
ized government logo); Iceland highlights its geo-
graphic situation as an island; and Shetland has
creatively blended music, tradition, and its Viking
lineage and Celtic connections all into one cohesive
icon. The name of the region features prominently
in all three logos and, in the cases of Shetland and
Iceland, additional text contains an allusion to emo-
tional connection (i.e., pride, inspiration).
Literature Review
Sense of Place and Brand Narrative
As discussed in the introduction, one of islands’
key assets is their heightened connection to place,
often referred to as sense of place (Baldacchino,
2005; Hay, 2006; Tuan, 1991). There is no com-
monly accepted definition of sense of place, due
in part to its interdisciplinary relevance and allure
(Campelo et al., 2014; Cross, 2001). In the context
of the current study, the term is used in reference
to characteristics that bestow a place with a dis-
cernible identity that fosters a sense of attachment
and belonging (Casey, 2001; Cross, 2001; Hede &
Watne, 2013). This subjective and experience-based
social phenomenon is considered to be one of many
ways to make sense of the relationships that people
have with the world that they live in (Campelo et al.,
2014; Hede & Watne, 2013). Islands’ geographic
separateness makes them “special places, paradig-
matic places, topographies of meaning in which
the qualities that construct place are dramatically
THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT LOGOS 161
their similar climates, geographic situations, and
expanding tourism industries. All three regions also
had regional promotional websites that highlight
local food and beverage products, either by way of
a tourism website (Newfoundland: newfoundland
andlabrador.com) or a membership organization
that represents and promotes the region’s leading
products (Iceland: icelandnaturally.com; Shetland:
tasteofshetland.com). The logos of 24 food and
beverage products from Newfoundland (n = 8),
Iceland (n = 8), and Shetland (n = 8) were sourced
by accessing said regional promotional websites to
identify leading local producers with established
brand campaigns. A sample size of 24 was chosen
to allow for a reasonable range of products and
product types from each region, while maintaining
a pilot-sized sample. The list of brands included
in the study can be found in Appendix A and the
accompanying logos are presented in Appendix B.
To identify themes within each logo, this study
took an approach similar to those used by Graham,
Campbell, and Henry (2019) and Herbert (2013) in
their recent analyses of island tourism logos, using
a modified Likert-type scale to identify theme(s)
embedded in each logo and the degree to which
they were present. Following theme identification,
a mixed-method analysis was conducted. Content
analysis is commonly used to determine and quan-
tify the presence of certain words, concepts, themes,
or phrases within communication items (e.g., docu-
ments, pictures, audio, video) and then make infer-
ences about the meaning of said content (Berelson,
1952; Busha & Harter, 1980; Graham et al., 2019).
To enable this meaning to be extracted and studied
in a holistic manner, the current study also incor-
porated thematic analysis, which clusters data into
categories and themes based on observed patterns
(Braun & Clark, 2012; Scherl & Smithson, 1987).
The content of each logo was systematically
reviewed to identify features and embedded
themes, drawn from explicit or implicit images,
symbols, patterns, shapes, and text. The researcher
conducted supplementary investigation to help
clarify the presence or meaning of a theme where
necessary, for example searching the internet for a
translation of any non-English words or phrases in
order to determine their direct meaning and identify
any relevant theme(s). Once content and thematic
analyses were completed for all logos, the results
providing a visual cue which helps consumers to
identify and differentiate a brand from its competi-
tors, while also increasing consumers’ recognition
of (and affinity to) the brand and, in turn, increasing
brand equity and financial performance (Henderson
& Cote, 1998; Kim & Lim, 2019).
Many scholars emphasize the importance of care-
ful logo selection to ensure that the visual represen-
tation aligns with the brand identity (Henderson
& Cote, 1998; Kim & Lim, 2019; Medeiros,
Horodyski, & Passador, 2017). A great deal of lit-
erature seeks to assist with this critical decision-
making process, exploring the psychological
mechanisms behind logo perception and how cer-
tain design elements and dimensions can influence
consumer responses (Henderson & Cote, 1998; Kim
& Lim, 2019; Schechter, 1993). In one such study,
Schechter categorized logos by form (e.g., picto-
rials, abstracts, wordmarks, letter symbols) and
measured consumers’ perception, recognition, and
association of the logos. Pictorial logos were found
to be most effective, while abstract logos were the
least effective (Schechter, 1993). Relatively little is
known about the effects of logo element interaction
(e.g., color + shape) on consumers’ perceptions and,
although many such studies have attempted to cat-
egorize logos and their elements, there is no unified
method of classification (Kim & Lim, 2019). This
poses challenges for researchers and practitioners,
as it may restrict the ability to produce broadly valid
and reliable results and limit the practical applica-
tion of findings. That said, the challenge of clas-
sification can also be seen as an indication of the
richness of the themes being examined. Schnell and
Reese (2003) summarize the counterintuitive nature
of categorization perfectly: “What renders such a
methodology useless is precisely what makes many
[brands] such powerful evocations of place—the
rich, interconnected web of meaning that is the
essence of sense of place” (p. 56). That is, the inter-
connected nature of the themes in question, while
challenging to analyze in a traditional and binary
method, is what makes them so powerful.
Method and Procedure
Three island regions were chosen to be the focus
of this study: Newfoundland, Iceland, and Shet-
land. These three regions were selected due to
162 WHITTEN HENRY
include “The original from Iceland” (64° Reykja-
vik Distillery; emphasis added), “Made of Iceland”
(Reyka Vodka; emphasis added), and “Wild ber-
ries of Newfoundland and Labrador” (Dark Tickle;
emphasis added). It is worth noting that of the nine
logos identified in this category, seven originated
from Iceland.
Culture
Language. A selection of logos (seven) featured
a regional language (Iceland) or dialect (Shet-
land) in the product name and/or additional text.
Examples of this range from simple incorporation
of local spelling, as in Ícelandic Glacial, to use of
local dialect terminology, as with Mirrie Dancers
Chocolatier (“mirrie dancers” is the local name for
the Northern Lights) and Shetland Sea Salt’s subti-
tle “SaatBrack” (meaning “the spray and foam from
the breaking surge of the nutrient-rich Shetland sea
water” [Taste of Shetland, 2019, para. 1]). A num-
ber of logos (four), all originating from Iceland,
incorporated Icelandic words in the brand names:
Brennivín (“burning wine”), Einstök Ölgerð (ein-
stök meaning “one of a kind”), Himbrimi (“great
northern diver”), and Reyka Vodka (derived from
the Icelandic word for “smoke”).
Heritage. Heritage was a prominent theme in
many (eight) logos, with six “main themes” identi-
fied, one “one of many themes,” and one “implied.”
The majority of these (six) included references to
Viking heritage (one from Iceland and five from
Shetland) while legend, music, and the fishery were
also represented.
Environment
Nature. A total of 10 logos featured an aspect of
nature in their design. Six aspects of logos featured
flora or fauna as a main theme, while four incorpo-
rated references to specific aspects of the natural
environment.
Flora/Fauna. One logo (Island Botanicals) featured
a tree, while five logos featured animal images
(e.g., raven, horse, loon). Of those five, two were
directly related to the brand name and/or product:
were consolidated both qualitatively and quantita-
tively. Themes were identified and then clustered
into higher-level categories, as will be discussed in
the following section.
Results
Comprehensive review of the selected logos
identified many thematic trends. The most promi-
nent emergent themes will be discussed below.
These themes are considered prominent because
they appeared in five or more logos, and/or were
primarily identified as a “main” theme. For the most
part, these prominent themes can be categorized as
relating to place, culture, environment, and design.
Place
Place in Name. A substantial portion of logos in
the sample (14 of 24) featured the place of origin in
the brand name. Eight of these featured the region
in the name, while six featured the community in
the name. References to the region of origin in the
brand names overtly incorporated the name of the
region (i.e., Newfoundland, Iceland, Shetland) in
their name, such as The Newfoundland Distillery
Co., Icelandic Lamb, and Shetland Sea Salt. All
regions were fairly evenly represented within this
subcategory (Shetland: three; Newfoundland: three;
Iceland: two). References to communities ranged
from general vicinity (Baccalieu Trail Brewing
Co.; Dark Tickle), to village (Quidi Vidi Brewing
Co.), to town (Bonavista Coffee Company), to city
(Lerwick Brewery). One logo was even so precise
as to include a latitude reference along with the city
name (64° Reykjavik Distillery).
Place as Source. Nine logos identified the
region (i.e., Newfoundland, Iceland, Shetland) as
the source of the product. This theme differs from
“Place (region) in name,” discussed above, because
of the nature of the identification of the region.
While this was usually identified as “one of many”
themes, often in the accompanying text, three logos
did incorporate place as source as a main theme:
Ícelandic Glacial, Icelandic Lamb, and Thule
Ventus Shetland Air-Dried Salt Cod. Some exam-
ples of place as source as “one of many” themes
THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT LOGOS 163
Horizontal Strip. Eight logos were horizon-
tal strip format. These logos were for salt-related
products (three: Thule Ventus Shetland Air-Dried
Salt Cod, Saltverk, Newfoundland Salt Company),
alcohol products (four: 64° Reykjavik Distillery,
Reyka Vodka, Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., The New-
foundland Distillery Co.), and one water product
(Ícelandic Glacial).
Other Prominent Themes
Product Identified in Name. In eight logos, the
product was identified in the brand name itself,
thus constituting a “main theme.” Examples of
this include Shetland Sea Salt, Reyka Vodka, and
Bonavista Coffee Company (emphasis added for
all). This theme was fairly equally represented by
all three regions (Shetland: three; Iceland: two;
Newfoundland: three).
Quality. Six logos were identified which all
incorporated a reference to quality, either in their
name or in the accompanying text. Some were quite
overt, as seen in the logos of Saltverk (“hand har-
vested sustainable sea salt”; emphasis added) and
Himbrimi (“Pure, Icelandic gin”; emphasis added),
while other were implied, as in the cases of Dark
Tickle (“wild berries of Newfoundland and Labra-
dor”; emphasis added), Icelandic Lamb (“Roam-
ing free since 874”; emphasis added) and Ícelandic
Glacial (emphasis added).
Regional Trends
Several regional trends emerged within the
observed themes, wherein one region was heavily
represented within a particular theme. The theme
categories of place as source, language, and quality
all featured predominantly Icelandic logos. Heritage
comprised primarily logos from Shetland, while
place in name (region) and emblem were largely
characteristic of Newfoundland-based logos.
Discussion
The current study identified rich themes relating
to place, culture, and environment throughout the
sample of food and beverage product logos from
lamb (Icelandic Lamb), and loon (Himbrimi). The
remaining three were not directly related to the
brand name or product; however, they were related
to the region of origin, featuring drawings of a
horse (Lerwick Brewery: Shetland pony), a Nordic
Urnes-style dragon (The Shetland Fudge Company:
Viking heritage), and a raven icon (Viking Mead
Ltd.: Viking heritage).
Natural Environment. Two logos incorporated
waves as dual images: Shetland Reel’s logo fea-
tured a stylized wave that also resembles a fiddle
scroll, and Shetland Sea Salt’s logo featured a
wave that also resembles a part of a Viking long-
boat. A further two logos included imagery relat-
ing to nature, which relate directly to the brand
name: Mirrie Dancers Chocolatier’s logo featured
an image of aurora borealis (‘Northern Lights’),
for which “mirrie dancers” is the local term (Mir-
rie Dancers Chocolatier, 2019). In a similar vein,
Landwash Brewery gets its name from a local term
used to describe the beach and shoreline, and their
logo featured drawings of items you might find
washed up along the shore, such as shells, bottle
caps, seaweed, and feathers (Oliver, 2018).
Place-Specific Imagery. Three logos featured
imagery specifically depicting their place of ori-
gin. The background of Saltverk’s logo is a pho-
tograph of landscape that is typical of their region
of origin as indicated in their logo tagline (“from
the Westfjords of Iceland”). The Baccalieu Trail
Brewing Co. logo features a drawing of the hilly
coastal landscape of the region and a hiking trail,
while Dark Tickle’s logo is a stylized drawing of
the small harbor community (“tickle”) for which it
is named.
Design
Emblem. Nine logos employed a variation of a
traditional emblematic design: two from Shetland
(Mirrie Dancers Chocolatier, Viking Mead Ltd.),
two from Iceland (Brennivín, Icelandic Lamb), and
five from Newfoundland (Baccalieu Trail Brew-
ing Co., Bonavista Coffee Company, Dark Tickle,
Newfoundland Cider Company, The Newfound-
land Distillery Co.).
164 WHITTEN HENRY
metropole and whose livelihood revolved around
harvesting and processing local produce for export
to the metropole and its trade partners (Kurlansky,
1997). Such imports and exports would have borne
emblematic brands similar to those identified in the
current study. Further research is of course required
to accurately explain the observed preference for
emblematic logos in the region, but this is a note-
worthy trend nonetheless.
Place, Culture, and Environment in the Context
of Regional Theme Clusters
Across all three regions, place played a central
role in branding, with many logos overtly citing
places within brand names and identifying them
as sites of origin. Culture and environment, them-
selves deeply connected to sense of place, were
also prominent themes throughout the sample, with
product logos embodying key aspects of the cul-
ture and environment that make its region of origin
particularly unique. In most cases, these regional
theme clusters reflected those that had also been
observed in the corresponding region’s destination
brand logo, demonstrating a regional commitment
to marketing that which makes them unique.
Can it be concluded from this that the prominent
regional themes are indicative of what the region
brands itself on as a whole? Based on the findings
of the current study, is it reasonable to infer that
Shetland trades on its heritage, and Iceland on its
name, unique language, and reputation as a desti-
nation and a source of quality goods, while New-
foundland trades also on its name and pays homage
to its heritage with use of traditional emblems?
While further investigation is required, parallels
between the regions’ thematic clusters and themes
identified in the corresponding destination brand
logos are compelling and certainly indicate some
element of intentionality.
When consulting the literature, discussions of
the characteristics of a successful branding strategy
abound, with much agreement that it should be “an
amplification of what is already there” (Almeyda-
Ibáñez & George, 2017, p. 15) and “succinct and
focused . . . in a way that is both meaningful to the
stakeholders and target audiences and differentiates
the destination from competitors” (Pike, 2005, p. 4).
Most importantly, an effective destination branding
Newfoundland, Iceland, and Shetland. Eleven
prominent themes (appearing in five+ logos, and/
or primarily identified as a “main” theme) were
identified and organized into five clusters: place,
culture, environment, design, and other. Discus-
sion will begin with consideration of the observed
design-related themes, followed by a discussion of
central themes relating to place, culture, and envi-
ronment in the context of the regional clusters.
Design Elements
Horizontal Strip. Eight logos were shaped in a
horizontal strip format in the current sample. In
their review of logo literature, Kim and Lim (2019)
remarked that strip-shaped logos have been corre-
lated with consumers’ perception of temporal prop-
erty “when the temporal property is important for
the product, such as wine or batteries” (p. 1303);
that is to say, a strip-shaped logo, when used for
a product that the consumer expects to last some
time, increases the customers’ perception of the
longevity of said product. Interestingly, the prod-
ucts with strip-shaped logos in the current study
comprised mostly sea salt and alcohol products—
two types of products that are associated with tem-
poral duration, both in terms of production time
and their anticipated shelf life. While not central to
the theme of the current study, this is certainly an
interesting trend that warrants further investigation
and consideration.
Emblem. Emblems, a classic design compris-
ing text inside of a symbol and varying degrees of
intricate detail, are one of the oldest forms of logo
(Daly, 2008). Typically chosen to convey a sense
of tradition and/or longevity, this style of logo may
also be referred to as a “seal” or, in some cases, a
“crest” (Daly, 2008; Morr, 2018). While all three
regions were represented within this theme, logos
for Newfoundland-based products made up the
majority of emblematic logos in the current sam-
ple. One could speculate that this theme in logo
design relates in some way to the island region’s
colonial history, being occupied by seasonal work-
ers and settlers (primarily from Ireland, England,
and France) who for centuries relied heavily—and
entirely, at first—on imported supplies from the
THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT LOGOS 165
2010; Medeiros et al., 2017). There are several
aspects of local food and beverage products that con-
tribute to their success as souvenirs, including “qual-
ity, taste, place of origin, production place, history,
authenticity, practicality (including customs barriers,
size, durability, and shelf life), price, and packaging”
(Medeiros et al., 2017, p. 350). Another key con-
tributor to the success of a food/beverage souvenir
is its identity: “the elements that certify the product’s
belonging to a specific territory” (Medeiros et al.,
2017, p. 351). As such, place-based food and bev-
erage products wield a special experiential power
as souvenirs, serving as an extension of place. In
the local tourism context, they produce a sense of
belonging to the insider and provide ways to share
this distinctiveness with visitors and newcomers
(Baldacchino, 2010; Schnell & Reese, 2003). That
same product, when later consumed as a souvenir,
offers the traveler the means to extend and even
enhance their experience, strengthening their newly
acquired sense of belonging and sharing that connec-
tion with friends and family at home (Baldacchino,
2010; Medeiros et al., 2017). This powerful embodi-
ment and conveyance of connection to place affords
such products the ability to tap into both the tourism
and diaspora export markets with great success (Bal-
dacchino, 2010; Hede & Watne, 2013; Medeiros et
al., 2017). After all, who can resist a taste of home?
Future Considerations
As a pilot project, the current study has many
limitations, particularly the small sample size and
potential for subjectivity on the part of the singular
researcher. That said, critical consideration of the
design of this study has identified ample opportu-
nity for future and further research.
Sample Size and Selection
Several minor themes were identified in the con-
tent and thematic analyses that were not discussed
in the current article as they were not deemed
“prominent” (appearing in five+ logos, and/or pri-
marily identified as a “main” theme) within the cur-
rent dataset. In a larger sample, however, themes
that appeared minimal in the current study may in
fact be far more prevalent and provide valuable
added insight.
strategy should “begin by understanding what con-
stitutes sense of place as experienced by local resi-
dents” (Campelo et al., 2014, p. 154; see also Pike,
2005; Vogt, Jordan, Grewe, & Kruger, 2016). In a
visual context, an effective brand requires strong
alignment between the brand’s visual identity (in this
case, as represented by the logo) and the stakehold-
ers’ perceptions (Abratt & Kleyn, 2012; Kim & Lim,
2019). In employing themes that align with stake-
holders’ (e.g., locals, tourists, diaspora, export buy-
ers) existing ideas of the regional brand, the minds
behind the logos examined in the current study are
capitalizing on—and further bolstering—processing
fluency. This phenomenon, defined as “the subjec-
tive experience of ease with which people process
information” (Kim & Lim, 2019, p. 1298), can be
perceptual, when visual features are associated
with a brand, and/or conceptual, wherein meaning
becomes associated with a brand (Bossel, Gey-
skens, & Goukens, 2018; Kim & Lim, 2019). An
example of conceptual fluency that emerged in the
current findings is the theme of quality, which was
present primarily in product logos originating from
Iceland. Icelandic products were identified as “origi-
nal,” “pure,” and “sustainable,” and quality was also
inferred through reference to production method
(“roaming free,” “hand harvested”) and time (“since
874,” “glacial”). The use of “Iceland” and “Icelan-
dic” in product names and taglines could be seen to
further enhance conceptual fluency, with “Iceland”
as a place and as a place of origin (i.e., Icelandic)
being synonymous with quality. This observation
is in line with Inspired by Iceland’s 2018 directive
specifying “pure” (Inspired by Iceland, 2018, p. 11)
brand narratives as one of their central messages.
Fluency has been positively correlated with con-
sumer attitudes and market performance and has
been found to increase food purchase and even
improve the taste of wine (Bossel et al., 2018;
Gmuer, Siegrist, & Dohle, 2015). As such, process-
ing fluency, both conceptual and perceptual, is a
critical aspect of effective food/beverage branding
and logo design.
Tourism and Export Implications
Souvenirs are key features in the tourism expe-
rience, and food and beverage products are becom-
ing increasingly popular as souvenirs (Baldacchino,
166 WHITTEN HENRY
Jurisdiction and Geographic Location
The current study explored the themes of logos
from two subnational jurisdictions (Shetland and
Newfoundland) and one nation (Iceland). While
all three regions each have very distinct histories,
and considerable differences exist between even
the two subnational jurisdictions, future research
incorporating a larger number of regions could
explore similarities and/or differences in brand
logos between—and even within—jurisdiction
categories.
The three island regions highlighted in the cur-
rent study are relatively peripheral, and are widely
viewed as “cold water” island regions (Baldacchino,
2006). These characteristics can have implications
for tourism in terms of visitation numbers, cost
to travel, and maintenance of the attributes that
attract tourism (e.g., hiking trails, archaeological
sites, sense of authenticity), making peripheral cold
water islands a very different destination category
compared to their more accessible “warm water”
counterparts. Future research taking these differ-
ences into consideration could provide insight into
the demands that this peripherality may place on
brand visibility and reputation.
Branding Motivations
An important aspect of branding that was not
investigated in the current study is brand motiva-
tion. Future research would do well to incorporate
interviews to determine companies’ motivations
behind their use of sense of place in branding and
to what degree these were deliberate on the part of
the company and designer. Additionally, such inter-
views with brand representatives could provide
valuable insight regarding the brands’ ethos and
place in community, which could be particularly
instructive when considering the companies’ influ-
ential roles in community development, tourism,
and product export in their region, and the broader
implications for entrepreneurship and social enter-
prise in island communities.
Conclusion
Steeped in emotional geography, exuding sense
of place, and host to some of the most idealized
Logos for the current study were selected from
sources that promote leading regional products.
This approach was chosen in order to establish a
sample of relative convenience; however, as the
products listed on the source websites are being
promoted for tourism and export, it is unsurprising
that the selected logos’ branding aligns so closely
with that of their corresponding regional destina-
tion brands. While this aspect of the sample selec-
tion was unintentional and is thus a limitation of the
current study, this rich thematic linkage between
product and destination brands could be taken into
consideration and worked into a more strategic
sampling design in future similar studies.
Logo Elements and Interactions
Two key elements of logos, color and typogra-
phy, were not quantified or analyzed in the current
study. Their influence on consumer perception and
behavior are well-documented in the literature, and
investigation of these facets would be a valuable
addition to similar future studies. Additionally, as
mentioned in the literature review, there is much
to be learned about the interaction between logo
elements. Take the example of The Newfoundland
Distillery Co. from the current study: their logo (see
Appendix B) is both emblematic and strip-shaped.
Both of these design aspects infer longevity, but
what is the effect of both being employed in the
same logo design? Future research in this area is
certainly warranted, as findings would inform inno-
vative and effective logo design and implementa-
tion across many fields.
Method of Analysis
While the current approach, using a blend
of content and thematic analysis, was certainly
effective for the purposes of the current study, a
more scientific approach incorporating consumer
responses and regression analysis is warranted in
order to accurately ascertain the elements, themes,
and meanings embedded and observed in product
logos. Such an approach, particularly a multivari-
ate multiple regression model, may also assist to
gain further insight into the interactions between
logo elements, as mentioned above, which has been
highlighted as a relatively underdeveloped field.
THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT LOGOS 167
& Slawinski, 2019, para. 9), and the emergence of
neolocalism presents a huge opportunity for local
entrepreneurship in the food and beverage indus-
tries and beyond. Effective branding is critical for
the success of such ventures, and central to this is
a well-designed logo that aligns with stakeholders’
perception of place (Baldacchino & Khamis, 2018;
Grydehøj, 2008; Kim & Lim, 2019). The current
findings support this view, further suggesting that
alignment between a local product brand and the
regional destination brand may serve to strengthen
both parties as well as the connection between
the two, and advocating for further research and
practical consideration regarding processing flu-
ency of brands and logos. A more comprehensive
understanding of logo elements and design serves
to further augment effective branding implemen-
tation for island-based products and thus plays an
instrumental role in entrepreneurship, tourism, and
product export in island regions and communities
and beyond.
Acknowledgments
This study was conducted as part of self-directed
graduate coursework under the supervision of Dr.
Susan Graham, Faculty of Business, University of
Prince Edward Island. The author would also like
to acknowledge the feedback and insightful com-
ments received from the reviewers and from her
thesis supervisor, Dr. Laurie Brinklow.
natural environments of the Anthropocene, islands
are “powerful brands unto themselves” (Baldac-
chino, 2016, para. 6) and uniquely equipped to
employ strong destination brands, identifying and
differentiating an island region by highlighting its
distinctive features (both intangible and material)
that set it apart from its neighbors and competition.
The three island regions explored in the current
study share many attributes, including relatively
peripheral geographic locations and challenging
climates. Such qualities may prove troublesome
when attracting tourists to these regions but, as
Jennings (2015) remarked, “wild landscapes and
poor weather have their devotees” (pp. 158–159).
By focusing on what makes them unique, the island
regions of Newfoundland, Iceland, and Shetland are
establishing successful holistic destination brands
for themselves and leading by example with strong
branding approaches, which is, in turn, carving the
way for entrepreneurial success in the local food
and beverage community.
Throughout the content analyzed for this study,
island-based food and beverage producers dem-
onstrated an intense and dynamic connection to
place, as exemplified through the themes of place,
culture, and environment embedded in their logos.
This embodiment of place through local prod-
uct branding has important implications for com-
munity development in island and rural regions
alike. The “primary condition for rural renewal
[is] a deep and abiding love of place” (Schouten
Appendix A
Brands Whose Logos Were Included in the Study
Brand Product
Shetland
Island Botanicals Herbal teas
Lerwick Brewery Beer
Mirrie Dancers Chocolatier Chocolate
Shetland Reel Spirits
Shetland Sea Salt Sea salt
The Shetland Fudge Company Fudge
Thule Ventus Shetland Air-Dried Salt Cod Salt Cod
Viking Mead Ltd Mead
Iceland
64º Reykjavik Distillery Spirits
Brennivín Spirits
Einstök Ölgerð Beer
Himbrimi Spirits
(continued)
168 WHITTEN HENRY
Appendix B: Logos Included in the Study
Appendix A (Continued)
Brand Product
Ícelandic Glacial Water
Icelandic Lamb Lamb
Reyka Vodka Spirits
Saltverk Sea salt
Newfoundland
Baccalieu Trail Brewing Co. Beer
Bonavista Coffee Company Coffee
Dark Tickle Condiments and teas
Landwash Brewery Beer
Newfoundland Cider Company Cider
Newfoundland Salt Company Sea salt
Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. Beer
The Newfoundland Distillery Co. Spirits
THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT LOGOS 169
170 WHITTEN HENRY
THEMES IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE PRODUCT LOGOS 171
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... As a result, destinations that use less well-known or more implicit themes in their logos may not connect with potential visitors for whom those themes have no meaning (Katz, 2018). That said, as effective tourism branding aims to connect with the place's identity and ideals as experienced by local residents, it is critical that the brand identity aligns with those upheld by operational and community stakeholders representing the brand on a more micro level (Almeyda-Ibáñez and George, 2017;Bonn and Brand, 1995;Canavan, 2017;Grydehøj, 2008;Whitten Henry, 2020). ...
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... As a result, destinations that use less well-known or more implicit themes in their logos may not connect with potential visitors for whom those themes have no meaning (Katz, 2018). That said, as effective tourism branding aims to connect with the place's identity and ideals as experienced by local residents, it is critical that the brand identity aligns with those upheld by operational and community stakeholders representing the brand on a more micro level (Almeyda-Ibáñez and George, 2017;Bonn and Brand, 1995;Canavan, 2017;Grydehøj, 2008;Whitten Henry, 2020). ...
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