A restaurant’s website isn’t unlike other websites in that it needs to serve a number of functions at the same time. There’s a collision of the User’s Wants, Brand Wants, and Functionality/Accessibility.

Flash brings motion to pages and that motion/animation gets people pumped up. Sure, at first brush it’s great, but then you run into the problems of functionality and user wants. I’ll go into detail in another post, but for now, lets list what a user wants from your restaurant website.

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Michel Gorham designed this amazing restaurant brand identity for Bloomingdale’s FLIP burger restaurant. Funny that we have a FLIP already down here in Atlanta, but this was two years ago so maybe Bloomingdale’s didn’t get the memo.

She describes the project:

In 2009, Bloomingdale’s created a new burger restaurant on the men’s level in the NYC 59th St flagship store, calling it Flip. When asked for a logo design, it seemed the perfect opportunity to use a play on words instead of standard cow/grill iconography.

Finding many “flip” phrases surprisingly relevant, I suggested a complete branding system including:
menu, take-out menu, check presenter, coasters, promotional pins, newspaper ad and table top selection.

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I’ve said it hundreds of times, but here is yet another instance where transparency rules. The fact is, if you try to hide the realities and truths about your restaurant, you’ll lose every time. People will find out. We’re natural explorers and discoverers. So, when in doubt about how something should be handled the rule […]

The National, designed by Love and War, recently won a restaurant branding of the year award. It was just featured on Fast Co. design, and it jumped out at me. It’s simplicity is marked by a stark color palate and accentuated by traditional illustrations that nod towards class and taste. The branding for this destination is best described as pleasing and fine.

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Little Chef is a chain of family restaurants in the UK. The branding of this restaurant is brilliant. The iconic “Pillsbury doughboy” has been streamlined and simplified. The execution of the brand takes it to a whole new level. Every detail has been considered and designed from uniforms to interiors and even sculptures that push this brand into a category of its own.

Special thanks to BRAND NEW for bringing this to light. Designed by Ab Rogers Design.

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I always thought this rebrand was on the fence between good and not-so good; however; it’ has grown on me and the execution of the branding is what sells it for me. Allison Newhouse designed it.

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Design doesn’t just have to do with visuals. Design is in everything we do. We design our world the way we see fit from career to spouse to trivial things like cars, clothes, etc. One thing we design is the efforts for which we stand and in which we believe: Charity. I have a problem […]

This restaurant interior design is full of different textures, shapes, and treatments that make it truly twisted, but not overdone. I had to share it. It was designed by Ukrainian architects Serghii Makhno and Vasiliy Butenko. Found on The Inspiration Grid.

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The packaging design for Amelie & Friends’ takeout elements are simple and clean. Semi-nostalgic in flavor, but definitely unique. The design is strongly typographical as it delivers puns in large format. The color palates are soft and approachable. The team at ILOVEDUST have this to say:

West Sussex based Restaurant owners Rowland and Mary Leach asked us to work with them on the branding of their brand new restaurant in Chichester. With 2 Michelin Star chefs in the kitchen and an endless supply of local produce to chose from the kitchen produces some of the finest and most original food and pastries all made fresh daily on the premises.

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Once again I must stray a little bit from strictly restaurants. I found this amazing brand identity designed for an event/product. It’s a good idea that one of my clients a few years back actually had. I guess he never saw it through. If he did, these guys beat him to the punch. Awesome design work. Found it on behance.net. It was designed by David Arias and Corey Gibbons.

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It’s been a really fun ride putting together this handy dandy, super informative book. Now, after about 6 months of development it’s finally available for purchase. Currently available through LuLu.com, but will soon be available through Amazon and other online retailers.

FIRE IT UP: Building Restaurant Brands That Blaze is a culmination of 7 years in the branding and development of over 14 restaurant concepts. It’s a down-to-the-nitty-gritty, in-your-face, and bare bones approach to describing the process, ins and outs and all around theories on developing restaurant brands that actually work. No fluff here.

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Tegut is a grocery store experience redesigned by EdenSpiekermann. The branding is vibrant and bold with bright colors dancing around the many touch points. The entire experience has had the touch of a designer and it shows. It’s fun. It’s bright. It makes me want to shop here. The wayfinding design is natural and organic reducing stress involved in having to find things. Everything down to the fliers with coupons looks cohesive and pulled together.

To sell good food responsibly – this was the principle Theo Gutberlet had in mind when he opened his first grocery store in 1947. Today the anthroposophic-oriented family business is one of the leading suppliers of healthy foods, with over 300 tegut… outlets.

The house colour remains orange but all other elements of the corporate design have been carefully modernised and express the company philosophy: lively, meaningful, simple. The chief visual element is the superellipse, a figure halfway between a circle and a square, invented by the Danish scientist Piet Hein. In the new markets it creates a cheerful and functional means of orientation and is a unique feature for tegut….

The new look will be introduced in renovated stores starting in mid-March 2010. Edenspiekermann has also designed advertising and printed material, and documents all updates to the corporate design in a style guide.

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Grain and Gram, an excellent site by the way, have posted 5 questions with Ben Runkle (Ben Runkle’s Company Site.) It’s a quick little intro to Ben and his excellent butchering skills.

Many traditional, once thought lost, crafts have been sprouting back up again. I think this is due to the “hipster” movement as it has become cool to take on traditional trades like butchering, hand crafting shoes and apparel, etc. Say what you will about “hipsters” it’s pretty damn cool to have assets like these come around again. I find that a lot of these new craftsmen (and women) are sprouting in what I call B-level or C-level cities–Cities that aren’t large enough to be a metropolis, but are cities nevertheless.

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This nods back to when gin was made and tubs and Jazz was at its prime. Men were men and women were women. A simpler time when if you got caught sneaking a drink, you’d be arrested. What an amazing study in classic, retro design. The Landing’s marketing and advertising were designed by Jamie Stolarski. […]

Fresh from the farm is a concept that’s been trending and taking off. I think as gas prices increase, this will become bigger and bigger as it will be more cost efficient, not to mention it’s already healthier and tastier. The Barn is a restaurant whose brand was designed by And Smith. The vibe is rustic with old-style illustrations and wonderful leather-bound menus. The layouts are simple and black and white. These elements keep it classy without going full luxury. Here’s what he says about the work:

An informal restaurant at Coworth Park, The Barn offers exceptional seasonal fare courtesy of acclaimed chef John Campbell and his team. The identity we created for The Barn distinguishes it from the hotel’s fine dining restaurant whilst retaining the Coworth Park look and feel. A bold logotype in a rectangular frame evokes a rustic, traditional tone reminiscent of agricultural ‘brands’. This was combined with eccentric illustrations (animal heads attached to human bodies), sophisticated typography and warm, organic materials such as wood and brown leather.

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Again, not necessarily a restaurant, but food related nonetheless. The branding and packaging design for Burgen, all natural bread, nails the target dead on. The golden colors bring forth imagery of grain and natural ingredients that stand out on a shelf. Designed by Ziggurat Brands, they have this to say:

Burgen bread looked like you needed a prescription from you doctor to buy it. Worthy and dull, it was ‘healthy’ in the sense that if it’s painful it must be doing you good. Truth be told, it’s really delicious and by giving it vitality, highlighting flavour and revealing how it harnesses the power of natural ingredients, we made it look both mouth-watering and good for you…

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When you start talking to a social media guru it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. The epicenter of any social media marketing effort lies with Facebook. It’s proliferation is immense and not up for argument (although some try.) Just posting your facebook page for your restaurant is the right move, but, like anything else, you can always do better and more to interact with your customers. And that’s exactly why you should be using social marketing: to interact with your customers.

Beyond commenting and posting, facebook has other ways to kick up the marketing a notch or two. One of my favorite is based on FBML which stands for FaceBook Markup Language. It allows you to create custom tabs on your facebook page for promoting different items. These tabs can be used as landing pages to do many things. First you have to install it. Here is a great tutorial on installing and using FBML.

Once installed, you need to figure out what to promote. Here are a few suggestions on promoting your restaurant and its features using FBML and other facebook apps.

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I stumbled across this coffee shop design for a small coffee roaster and retailer in Tokyo, Japan. There wasn’t a ton of information on who designed the actual quaint location, but it’s an amazing study in how minimalism can speak so much louder than bright colors and graphics. The coffee stand is simply designed with black and white typography and lines. It’s simplicity lets the textures, shapes and lighting do the work. Less is more and this is prove. Very zen-like.

If you’re the designer, please comment with your information.

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