Part 3: Branding and packaging

“A family-run café, established in the 1970s by Guido Fratagnoli, is seeking to re-assert itself in a market place that has become saturated by chain and multinational coffee shops. The café was established by an immigrant Italian family and has always valued its cultural heritage, reflected in the coffee, food, conversation and ambience of the venue. The personality of the café is rooted in a belief that what they offer is a social experience in which genuine conversations can take place over cups of coffee and plates of pasta. Rather than ‘have a nice day’ the café owner is more likely to ask how your family is doing and pick up on a conversation you had last time you were there.
The café has a loyal following of customers, but they have noticed that younger customers are tending to opt for chain coffee shops instead. Perhaps this is because of more aggressive marketing from the competition, or because the ethos of chatting to customers is a hurdle for some teenagers.

The family wants you to come up with ideas to rebrand their café to reflect and celebrate the heritage, values and visual language of classic café culture to a younger audience without alienating their existing customers. What visual ideas would you pitch to the café? What values are you going to promote and what do you propose to redesign? Put together your ideas and designs into a format that you can present simply and clearly to your client.”

I had a look at some restaurant branding…

My local restaurants and cafes

If you look carefully, you can see the little fish on the letter ‘Q’

This is the stoned logo (wood fired pizzas)

I noted that the sign above the shop is the same typeface but in a smart grey – the circle becomes a call out: ‘eat in, take out’. this will be deliberate, as the business is very new, and all the branding was designed as a while.

I incuded a pic of the interior just because its amazing!

This Bistro is run by an actual french family – though I think the branding is less strong compared to other cafes – its a bit boring!

Italian design – food and Italian product/industrial design in general

And some Italian themed stuff (!)

The Armani logo is really effective (as you’d expect!) with a very stylish monogram forming a perfect circle.

Italain furniture design – innovative and well made

Screen shots from the Alessi website. This iconic brand started in 1921 – seems to me a good example of a company that is both forward thinking and proud of their heritage. And often with a playful side too.

If you can talk about ‘Italian design’ as an entity, I feel it is often stylish, with a love of good quality materials, a strong sense of history, but often with a nice sense of humour thrown in!

For this brief I could only really guess at what might have an Italian feel based on this research. If my client were real person, I would like to find out more information:

  • Where in Italy is he from? Does the region have any historical links? For example, maybe he comes from a region that is known for a particular dish. Perhaps he hails from an area that is linked to a key ingredient. Or even one that produced a great typeface by a particular designer! (Where did I get that idea?? Just because I was reading that Giambattista Bodoni comes from Saluzzo, Italy. Just a thought)…
  • What dish is he most proud of? And does he have children or grandchildren? What do they like most about the cafe? What do they want to change? What do they think is already working? Do they use social media and do they have a website?
  • And of course it would be useful to know colour preferences and so on…

I have just bought myself a little moleskin notebook with a little dotted grid to try and keep my scribbles a bit neater (particularly if they are typographic). Nice colour eh?

I set about exploring ideas. I was trying to avoid lettering made from spaghetti loops or a fork twirling spaghetti, but I did find it hard not to at least look at cutlery, wine glasses and coffee cups.

I also thought about ingredients such as garlic, pasta, coffee and olives

I thought it might be a bit more original to include somethings different such as the olive tree, but I was a bit unsure how clear this would be – maybe this is more suitable for gardening/products?

The idea of the steaming coffee cup came from my partner (I like it when he makes suggestions as I can pretend he’s the client which is helpful!) I was thinking of the steam becoming the cross bar of the letter ‘t’…

Typefaces – I actually lost the original file for this as my mac decided to crash. So here’s an approximate re-creation: I was mainly looking at scripts, but I wanted to avoid anything too fashionable, which would date too quickly, or anything too classic which might look old fashioned.

I went for the sans serif with the double storey ‘g’ (Seravek), and a slightly informal script (Euphoria Script)

Here I worked on some ideas in Illustrator. Because I chose to pair the coffee cup with the sans serif, it looks unbalanced off to the side, so I centred it. Obviously looking at this again as I’m writing, I could have used a typeface with higher ascenders to get a larger ‘f’.

Colour Inspiration – I was pondering on muted colours and having a ‘mood board’ going in my head… So I noticed an aubergine coloured T shirt that I thought would be a good shade, and also this flyer from popped thought the letterbox.  Isn’t it great? Anyway the point being it has quite a muted matt finish, which I think would also suit the cafe’s style.

I went to for a quick look around, and grabbed a few little screen shots of the sort of colours I was looking for. I wanted some rich colours, such as this aubergine, and I also liked the golds and desaturated lime green. I was hoping for warmth and depth, but nothing too strident! Hot pink does make an appearance tho as its cheeky.

Also a few more pieces of inspiration – if they decided on a circular logo, I think it would look great on a banner like this

Also maybe a striped background with a circular logo might appeal? Something to bare in mind (photos from Graphic Design Essentials by Joyce Walsh Macario)

Logo Designs for Guido Fratagnoli’s Cafe

I have mocked up a number of options:

I can’t argue that the first is very generic, though I do like the typeface. The second is meant to show the knife actually slicing the dot/tittle off the letter ‘i’. I do feel this potentially does the job, as its simple and clean. He is competing against big business chains, so perhaps they need to look sharp – established customers already know they’re friendly – and the audience they are looking to attract probably aren’t so interested in ‘homely’ values. However, may feel quite reasonably that friendliness is his USP!

I still don’t feel this has quite come off, but it perhaps reflects the character of the business better – but I’m not sure how to tweak this to get it to really work?

Again I’m sure someone has thought of pasta shapes before me, but I think they are (hopefully) stylish, friendly and fun. Probably my favourite.

These look a bit retro to me – I think it works, but could maybe be mistaken for homeware? I’ve also read that although its very common to incorporate an image within a wordwork, that it can get lost at small sizes. (I should have reversed out the rim of the aubergine cup!)

Hopefully now Mr Fratagnoli could give me his thoughts and feedback. I’m aware that many designers mock up the logo in context – so if I had a photo of his shop front, I could do just that!




Graphic Design Essentials by Joyce Walsh Macario


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