SMAKK Identity For Tabu Rejects Taboo

Artfully Unapologetic About Sexual Wellness

Sex remains a taboo subject when discussing women over 50. It is reported that up to 90% experience pain or discomfort during sex due to hormonal and lifestyle changes, but only 25% seek medical help for their symptoms and nearly 50% give up on their sex lives. Tabu founder, Natalie Fretwell, set out to improve these statistics with a solution that would provide a sexual wellness routine with real benefits. She then partnered with branding and marketing agency SMAKK for a new identity that seeks to emphasize how optimal sexual health — with or without a partner — isn’t just a means to pleasure but an essential piece of long-term well-being.



The SMAKK agenda included brand identity, packaging and ecommerce website for Tabu’s sexual wellness kit as well as upcoming product launches. This meant reshaping the brand to be more approachable, dignified and credible in order to deconstruct the notion that sexual health has an expiration date. “We saw the potential to bring sophistication, discretion and credibility to a product category known for being anything but – typically marketed by way of brazen eroticism and cheeky innuendo,” explains SMAKK Founder Katie Klencheski. “So, when it came to shining a light on an important but often overlooked piece of the wellness puzzle, we knew it was right in our sweet spot.”



Aesthetically, the identity is “artfully unapologetic” in the way that it illustrates and talks about sexual wellness, with a bold wordmark as well as icons and illustrations informed by textbook-y scientific diagrams. Leveraged together, the elements are intended communicate complex topics and ideas in a way that feels necessary and credible rather than taboo or shameful. Typography finds a similar balance, using a headline style that has a beautiful femininity, paired with a more utilitarian monospace. The brand messaging is meant to balance a science and health-centered lens with a touch of irreverent attitude.



SMAKK drew insights from their previous work with sexual products boutique e-tailer Wild Flower, a project which required an inclusive understanding of diverse audiences. “With Tabu, we realized that there was a similarly wide range of people we had to engage — those in relationships and those not, those who have used a personal massager before and those who haven’t, those who are embarrassed at the mere mention of one and those who aren’t, and a range of life stages where one would need to use a sexual wellness kit,” adds SMAKK Chief Strategy Officer Anna Kavaliunas. “We had to take into consideration things like accessibility in design elements and typography, discrete packaging that still felt premium, and a strong science story to support the health aspect. We also had to think about women who had just had a baby, were going through a dry spell, or even cancer treatment.”