Monday, 8 April 2013

How the donkey came about...

Did you see the identity material for Maltby & Greek  we have recently published on our website?

Then you might have asked yourself: Why this donkey, and what does it have to do with Greek food? Read our feature about the identity work we did for Maltby & Greek and you will know more…

Our Head of Design and General Manager of the UAE studio, Jon Digby, was overseeing this project – in a conversation with Yannos Hadjiioannou, founder of Maltby&Greek, he lets us into some secrets…

(Interview conducted by Charlotte Kuechler)

CK: Let’s keep this simple Jon – what is a brand, and what makes it successful?

JD: A brand works by connecting with its audience on an emotional level. A number of factors help make a successful brand - having a good product or proposition; being able to guide its growth from inception; and being honest to its inherent values.

CK: Right, and how do you and your team find out about these values?

JD: Taking the time to listen to the client about what their business is about, having that information helps inform the creative process.

CK: So it all started with a chat, right Yannos?

YH: Indeed – more to the point it was a departure from talking purely about the name and concentrating on the business and the way we envisage building it up.

CK: How did the idea with the donkey originate, was that something Assembly came up with or did you have the idea beforehand Yannos?

YH: It all started as a joke – we talked about few ideas and then we discussed this approximation of the carrot and the stick – don’t ask the context, you have to trust me on this – then the idea of the donkey came up with someone riding and holding a carrot and a stick – we dropped the rider but loved the donkey!

JD: Design shouldn’t be complicated. Maltby & Greek is Greek food with an English twist; the donkey is our ambassador for Greece, but he certainly had to wear an English top hat!

CK: What is the secret message behind the top hat, or, is a rabbit hidden in it?

JD: No secret, it’s just how a gentrified Greek donkey would look.

CK: Did the name Maltby & Greek already exist before you started your journey with Assembly Yannos? If so, is there a story behind it?

YH: Maltby Street is where we started selling our products – we thought long and hard about giving the business a Greek based name but thought that we wanted a name linking our hearts and minds which are all about Greek food and wine and our humble origin from Maltby Street Market – hence we ended up with Maltby & Greek.

JD: We went through the naming process with Yannos - it’s usually the most challenging part of an identity program but can be invaluable to help define the visual concept of a brand and create something unique.

CK: That’s original indeed and it’s lovely that the name conveys your history! So Maltby & Greek is a premium purveyor for food and wine. Yannos, can you tell us a bit more about your products, who are your suppliers?

YH: We work exclusively with small producers of premium food and wine from around Greece. The idea is to bring the very best of Greek products to an international audience – not only the usual olive oil and olives but products such as Avgotaraho (bottarga – grey mullet fish roe), traditionally smoked eel, wild boar sausages, unusual honeys, sweet spoons (!) and many more. On the wines we have concentrated in working with producers who cultivate indigenous Greek grape varieties such as the white Assyrtiko, Malagouzia and Moschofilero grapes and red varieties such as Agiorgitiko, Mavrotragano, Mandilaria and Xinomavro.

CK: That sounds delicious! I’d imagine for such a wide variety of products you needed a lot of distinct material then? What did Assembly create?

YH: Assembly took a pragmatic view of our needs – rather than working out of a script of marketing collateral – kind of “one size fits all” – they visited the market, researched the industry and came up with the type of collateral needed for the purposes of our business. As the donkey furthers his reach, Assembly is working on items such as packaging.

CK: Alright, so we can look forward to seeing more and more exciting material for Maltby & Greek! Well, thank you both very much for your time! And where can we taste some Greek delicacies after this mouth-watering interview?

YH: At the moment you can visit us at Maltby Street every Saturday and find some of our products in places such as the Fat Duck restaurant and Fortnum & Mason. Get in touch with us on Twitter (@MaltbyGreek) and Facebook ( for seasonal delicacies and tastings or drop us an email – we would love to hear from you!

CK: We’ll see you there! Thank you!

If you have just started your business or have been around for a while – we can help you just like Yannos and his team to find your unique voice.

Assembly Studios create all things identity related – from branding and visual language to logos – and much more than that. We are striving for innovative, clever solutions and tools that make your brand stand out from the rest.

Get in touch with and let our multi-disciplinary team do the rest!


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