How to brand a restaurant – think.

So I’ve been working more on Gordon’s brief. This is the MPA Roses project, which I mentioned earlier, referencing Nando’s in terms of branding and advertising a restaurant, with the objective being getting people to try new foods, and to experiment more with unfamiliar kinds of food. And it’s proving to be quite a difficult brief indeed.

I decided to take the idea of experimenting with food with very literal imagery. The restaurant would be themed like a laboratory, channeling the themes of discovery and innovation, giving the impression this food is a new discovery, never produced before. This would influence a campaign taking advantage of the interest in unique and unusual food inspired by Heston Blumenthal and consequent news articles on his exploits proving this public interest. The advertising campaign would consequently be aimed at educating people of this new and exciting food, proudly displaying preparation methods and the sourcing of ingredients. The branding of the restaurant would follow the title: Brain Food, and would be permeated with the imagery of test tube cutlery. Other imagery used within marketing could relate to infographics made from food, to simultaneously suggest a fun attitude within the brand and educate people about the restaurant.

Continuing this theme of education customers could be welcomed into the restaurant to classes on how to prepare this unusual food. Not only would this create a community around the ideals of the restaurant it would encourage more interest in food, and encourage people to start making food, which in itself pushes people to try new foods. Additionally people could take these newfound recipes home and use ingredients sold in the restaurant, in a ‘home chemistry set’ package. Additionally people could suggest recipe ideas once being involved in this class, increasing the interaction between the restaurant and the customers, empowering them and enforcing that sense of community. As for the function of the restaurant itself meals would be made up from different ‘elements’, chosen from the menu to create the perfect compound of a meal, with an almost tapas-inspired system of ordering food.

I presented this to Gordon today and his feedback was surprisingly opposite to his typical advice.

I presented this to Gordon today and his feedback was surprisingly opposite to his typical advice. He said it depends almost entirely on the visual style of the execution. He said that it might come across as too clinical and could lack that tempting, sensual quality restaurants use to tempt people in their doors. He actually suggested that a possibility could be to utilise a 1050s inspired style of animation, to lighten to tone of the entire piece. Odd, somebody else suggesting I make my project more 1950s. But it’s a good enough angle to approach it from, almost taking the advertising campaign’s aesthetics as old information ads or educational films which have a more colourful personality and make the brand inherently easier to relate to. My only worry is that this might miss the initially targeted audience of 18-30 year olds which was identified early in the brief. But I think it’s possible to take the 50s style of animation and keep it relatively contemporary to keep that age-group interested. After all, how many gig posters have adopted this kind of illustrative style. It might attract, more specifically, a the ‘innovators’ of the customer life-cycle, mentioned in my advertising and branding module.

I finally need to summarise and decide on the deliverable I’m going to provide for this project. I had a suggestion today that the test tube cutlery, shown in the potential logo above, could be mocked up, if I could source a test tube and old knife or fork and somehow attach them. It’d make the icing on the cake, especially if I could have coloured liquid trapped in the test tube, but this is all detail, all collateral to support the main idea. I need to define the visual style on top of everything else, and then define the advertising campaign and initial promotion. After that all the in-restaurant material can be produced, to reenforce the overall concept.

As for the advertising campaign I’ve been trying to think of where to distribute the adverts to get to the initial target audience. I originally thought that the advertising campaign could be disseminated through newspapers, advertising the ‘scientific discoveries’  found in the lab, or just ‘facts from the lab’ generally. Infographics built from food would once again play a big role in building the visuals of this campaign. How these would tie with the 1950s vibe I’m still not quite sure, perhaps in colour and texture? A consistent colour scheme is going to be important to establish early on within the brand development. All of this will hopefully be decided within the next few days as well as a more definite logo. The only thing I want to be cautious of is to not produce “minions” like I did for the last Creative Graffix campaign. I love a little bit of character design, but it’s all too easy to abuse it. But then again, what else would make it bubbly, cartoony and 50s? I’ll wait and see exactly what I can produce and see if I can vary the design a bit to put a twist on my usual style in some way.

Alternatively I could almost utilise a science fiction aesthetic, but once again, it doesn’t have enough of a fun and organic aesthetic to it to be applied to food at all. As I said, I don’t want to take the same approach as I did with the Creative Graffix billboard campaign. Adding a cute character can’t fix everything! Just realising how much that is applied to my projects, but I digress. Onto actual execution now!


On a side note my gig that I designed those posters for is on this Monday at Beat Generator Live, behind the Overgate. You should come along! Here’s the band we’re playing with, all the way from Canada.

Listening to: Oh No! Yoko


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