I’m researching a longer piece on “plus” in branding, from plus size to Nic+Zoe to all those +-suffixed streaming services. Along the way I stumbled on a couple of new plussed-up brands with unusual naming stories.
DoublePlus Wine Company, in California’s Napa Valley, filed for trademark protection of its name in June 2020 and has two 2020 releases, a rose and a sauvignon blanc.
My brain went immediately to George Orwell’s “doubleplusgood,” a bit of Newspeak from 1984. But winemaker Tom Rinaldi told a different origin story on the wine podcast The Taste. (The episode is undated, but appears to be pre-2021.) From the transcript:
Podcast host Doug Shafer: What’s the name mean?
Rinaldi: Well, it's my symbol for, when I'm going to barrels, and I, I, I'll give them a check if, if that's good enough, a plus if it's really nice, or a minus if I don't think it's all that good, or w- god forbid, X, you know, if it's got brettanomyces or some flaw.
Rinaldi: I'll give it an X. But every now and then I'll find one, ooh. Give it an H, I call it. A two plus.
Doug Shafer: A Double Plus.
Rinaldi had wanted to call the winery Ambassador, but ran into a conflict with another vineyard with that name. So DoublePlus it was. More distinctive than Ambassador, for sure.
Of course, if you rotate those plus signs 45 degrees you get two X’s, as in the universal cartoon symbol for “drunk” or “dead.”
Uniqlo, the global retail chain headquartered in Tokyo, is launching a new active wear collection on June 7 that it’s calling Uniqlo+. But this plus isn’t the mathematical symbol—or not only that symbol.
Here’s how the company explains it:
The designs of UNIQLO+ feature the “+” motif. It takes its inspiration from the Swedish flag, transformed into a plus to signify addition, growth, and connections. It stands for added technology and ease, plus a positive mindset. It’s about going for it. Always moving forward. Focusing on what’s next—a healthier, better life for all.
Uniqlo wordmark with symbol adapted from the Swedish flag’s Nordic-cross design.
The collection is a collaboration with what the company calls Uniqlo Team Sweden; the models are Swedish athletes, including a swimmer with a prosthetic leg and a wheelchair table tennis player.
More from me on “plus” in branding: