Grimm & Co

This is a biggie.

We were asked to help shape the brand for a Magical Apothecary in Rotherham. This project turned into not only branding, but interior design, signwriting, packaging, a huge story mural, window dressing and art directing a large team of volunteers.

Photography by Helena Fletcher & David R. Pritchard.


— Branding
— Product design
— Interior design
— Typographic Mural
— Signwriting
— Tone of voice


— Research & Backstory

The key to this project was ensuring that the final product felt authentic. With that in mind we set about researching every aspect of Apothecary's, typography, signage, packaging, medicinal cures, curses and magical creatures. You can read more about our process here.

Jeremy Dyson (The League of Gentlemen/Ghost Stories) wrote a wonderful back story on the Apothercary's proprietor, Graham Grimm. The story tells the tale of how Graham came to open Grimm & Co, and why it's a very special place. That set the tone for us and we elaborated onto this backstory to give ourselves some visual direction.


— The Identity

Once we had a good understanding on what we were trying to create, we began with a visual identity, which then dictated how the other elements (interior, packaging, etc) would look and feel.

We created a monogram of Grimm & Co, which could be stamped to act as a 'seal of approval'. We sourced endless amounts of typefaces, from old woodblock to letterpress, as well as experimented with every ink pen we could get our hands on to create 'Graham's handwriting'. Throughout the project, we constantly referred back to Jeremy's story, and our own extension to ensure we stayed true to the character.


— The Imagination Room

We loved Jeremy's story, and so decided to write it on every wall in the 'Imagination Room'. This room is the first area humans enter, once they travel through the secret door on their way to the writing center.

It took 3 of us 3 full days and approximately 40 Posca pens to complete - but well worth the effort.


— The Products

An Apothecary is a place to visit to cure a cold, remedy an ailment or purchase herbal medicines. Grimm & Co is no different, and it provides all the above, and more to it's customers: trolls, giants, witches, wizards, goblins, dragons and imps to name a few.

We created a whole range of products – from naming and design – to even helping to source the ingredients. The shop is a useful outlet for the Charity, and all profit made on sales fund the writing centre. In order to give them the best possible chance the products needed to be not only humorous, but something you'd want to keep and use.


— The Interior

The premises of Grimm & Co is an old pub and luckily it featured elements we could re-use such as the old iron chandeliers and wooden banisters. As the building features a mezzanine floor it creates an airy, open space which is the oppposite of what we were trying to create – a dark, mysterious Apothecary. The walls were painted dark grey and dark woods of various shades were used to make the interior feel more intimate.

Furniture was sourced from antique shops and markets, we even found use for some of the old pub furniture we found in the basement (the shelves in the window use old bar stool legs for support). Old wooden crates became a great source for displaying products in the shop/windows and also cladding the counter area. There was even a huge, green helter-skelter slide donated (Jack's beanstalk obviously).

The secret door is one of our favourite parts. Hidden in a 'bookcase' of products, the shelves part to reveal the imagination room as the children go on their quest to the writing centre above.


— The Small Details

We spent a lot of time on the smallest of details. Things which people may not even notice on first glance, all with the mission of creating an authentic environment. All around the space are shop signs, pieces of grafitti and even the odd fairy door. Grimm & Co also features it's own classified ads (less 'Caravan to rent' and more 'Broom for hire').

We created everything by hand, including the signwriting on the outside of the shop.


— The Charity

This project took us the best part of a year to launch and our involvement is ongoing as we look to make Grimm & Co even more special.

What makes it all worthwhile (and without going all Bono) is the difference it makes to the children who use the space. We've seen it with our own eyes – children (and adults) excitedly running around the shop, laughing at the signs and enjoying the creative writing classes.


"Side by Side worked with us and whittled our vision into an authentic personality, which is unique yet classic, no-fuss yet stunning. Their expertise is unsurpassable in holding us to our story – helping us to build our identity into a world-class image beyond anything we had imagined for ourselves... and then they went a step further and created it!  

They brought a maturity of experience juxtaposed with fresh, urban appeal to the interior design and attention to the finest, and even hidden detail. Side by Side's ideas are unique, cliché-free and their professionalism is exemplary, doing whatever it takes for their client with a touch of awe and wonder."

Deborah Bullivant (Founder of Grimm & Co)

"Side by Side are one of the most inspirational design teams I've ever worked with. Their attention to detail, absolute commitment and sheer ability left me completely floored as did the quality of the execution of the finished job.

At every stage of the journey they were enthused, engaged and brought a visionary quality to what they did. Their work on Grimm & Co exceeded every expectation I had and I'd consider it a privilege to work with them again."

Jeremy Dyson (Grimm & Co Trustee & The League of Gentlemen Co-writer)