Product Design

Looking Back at How Our Five Two Brand Came to Life

There were plenty of cooks in the kitchen (and it was a good thing).

May  1, 2023
Photo by Rocky Luten

Let’s talk about (quiet, serious voice) branding. Yes, the word alone feels like it should be said in a quiet, serious voice but here’s the thing…it doesn’t have to. We can be fun while we build something new—we can work with a great team, eat cheese, rejoice over language quirks together, and then yes, we can brand like it’s our job (because it is, but still).

That’s how Five Two came gliding into the world like the most elegant speed skater—in a flurry of great conversations and snacks we shared with Creech, the NYC-based brand studio we partnered with for our next big chapter. (Incidentally, we were introduced to Creech by Dan Barber, who worked with them on branding for his seed company Row 7.)

If you're not familiar with Five Two, we'll get you up to speed. In 2018, we launched a line of products for your kitchen, home, and life. The idea was to create products our community would love and use, by asking what you folks needed and couldn't find anywhere else. We started with a dynamo of a cutting board—that, ahem, 10,000 of you helped design—and we haven't slowed down since.

Promo from a Five Two bakeware launch. Photo by Food52
Promo from a Five Two cookware launch. Photo by Food52

The business of building the Five Two brand, however, is equal parts a journey of creativity and the stuff of Food52 legend, so we caught up with Griffin Creech, founder and executive creative director of Creech (our aforementioned partners in crime) to get the high points down on paper. Home cooks with your own blogs, Instagrams, or Substacks, by all means, take notes.

How it All Began

Building a sidecar onto a motorcycle is hard enough. Especially if you're building it while that same motorcycle is speeding down a highway at 75 mph. Oh, and did we mention that the sidecar needs to be its own freely moving vehicle as well? It does. Launching a new brand within an existing one—especially when the existing brand is less than ten years old—is a bit like building the aforementioned sidecar. We had an idea that we believed in and wanted to hit the ground running, but first, we had to figure out exactly where we were going.

“We had weekly meetings with Creech for four months, during which time they grilled us a bunch on what we really stand for as a company, what stories we want to tell, what community means to us,” says Amanda Hesser, our co-founder. We had been building our name and reputation as a company and we wanted to open up our world even further: “We also had to consider the fact that there are still millions of people who don't yet know us and we want to make sure when we do meet new readers and shoppers, they immediately feel a connection.” So with Food52 as our touchstone (aka our—cool lingo alert—"mother brand"), we quickly realized our first order of business was naming our new initiative.

The official Five Two icon on the back of our product booklets.

“Five Two was our personal favorite because it felt like the poppy, not-just-about-food, fun and inviting sibling to Food52,” says Griffin. If Food52 is, at its heart, a resource for home cooks, Five Two needed to bust out of the kitchen and get the whole house involved. We like to think we’ve tipped our hat at the classic while giving it a bit of a remix. “Five Two felt universal to us, distinctive, and yet meaningfully tied to our mother brand,” Amanda adds. (There's that cool lingo again.)

Designing The Look

The Pantone-approved palette (with Dusk, our signature color), the exact thickness of the Five Two font, and every last piece of packaging our Five Two products will dress up in were all carefully considered and hand-picked. “We wanted to create something that felt vibrant, modern, and versatile,” Griffin says. Font lovers, to the front: You’ll be happy to notice a Sans typeface. It’s a more geometric choice that, “allows it to sit well with both Food52 proper while still having the flexibility to be applied to many different types of products,” Griffin adds.

As the years have passed since the Five Two launch, our collection has expanded to 30 products spanning from a best-selling drying rack to wool dryer balls that can cut your drying time in half. Regardless of the time that has passed and the developments that have occurred, one thing has remained at the brand's core: Everything we do, create, and dream up is with our community in mind.

A few of the ads Creech designed for us.

Deciding What We Wanted to Say (& How to Say It)

Time to give a big shoutout to the Five Two tagline, “Made by us, made with you.” It really embodies the spirit of what we’re doing here—something the likes of which our industry has never seen—collaborating with our community to create functional, beautiful products. And we’re words people, in case you couldn’t tell. “Writer Nerd Real Talk: Many of our clients don’t like or understand the Oxford comma, and when we found out that Food52 feels as strongly as we do about their use, we cried tears of joy. Or at least I did,” Griffin says. So when you've seen us describe Five Two as “a new line for your kitchen, home, and life,” know that second comma placement was gold.

A 2019 graphic announcing the launch of our Five Two cookware.

Needless to say, we’re thrilled with how Five Two came together and all the cool, new collaborations we had along the way. “The passion that Amanda and Merrill have for making people’s lives better through shared moments and experiences is really energizing,” Griffin says. “They made the whole process exciting and joyful.”

“Shared experiences” being the key—yes, in branding, but also with you. That’s why our hashtag is #f52byyou, so feel free to sprinkle it liberally throughout your social media.

In honor of the fifth year of Five Two and our Five Two community celebration week (tomorrow's May 2, "5/2", get it?), keep an eye out for more content around all things Five Two and on-sale favorites.

What are your favorite items from our Five Two line? Let us know below!

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Written by: Food52