Branding exploration inspired by vintage travel and food posters of the early twentieth century.
While we take our creative work seriously, we also like to make room for fun studio projects from time to time. Self-initiated projects like these are a good way to explore new styles and techniques and also for showcasing our work process and design chops in more detail. This branding exploration was done for an incredible Italian eatery called Paciarino located in Portland, Maine.
The look for this re-brand was born from my obsession with vintage travel and food posters of the 1920s and 1930s. It was an era when design was mostly illustration, letterforms were often hand-rendered and highly stylized, and artists were heavily influenced by the Art Deco styling of the day. I wanted the Paciarino logo to reflect this aesthetic but also have a modern energy and spirit. To accomplish this, I designed it with animation in mind.
I began by compiling an inspiration board for my reference. I researched artists such as A.M. Cassandra, Jean Carlu and Orsi, who was best known for his posters of Josephine Baker. I sketched out some initial thoughts and put together a short-list of fonts that I wanted to use. One in particular, Nougatine by Fabien Laborie (available for free on his Behance page), was a font that I would never normally think of using. But it seemed like an oddly perfect fit for this logo thanks to it’s geometric, Art Deco qualities and eccentric character shapes including an absolutely amazing “R”.
Another font I discovered during my research was Laura Worthington’s, Voltage. It had a calligraphic, hand-rendered quality that I thought would be a good contrast to the geometric Nougatine. Both of these combined with the wonderful slab serif, Roboto Slab Bold by Christian Robertson, completed my font set.
Once I had all of the elements in hand, along with a comprehensive thumbnail sketch of my vision, illustrating the logo was not terribly difficult. The only stumbling block was in creating the Archimedean spiral for the pasta. I wanted the noodle and sauce to work in concert with each other, creating a hypnotic swirl in the middle of the plate. Three small meatballs and a basil leaf would then “pop" into place over top.
While designing the logo, I knew that I needed an alternate version for applications that warranted a simpler, more compact mark. I created a variation without the pasta plate that could be used in one or two colors. This would be perfect for signage, aprons, coasters, etc.
To round out this exploration, I designed a brand resource guide with color palettes, brand typography, and design elements, as well as numerous brand applications including a menu, business cards and stationery and a take-out bag. I also did an animated version that could be used on the website or in commercials.
In the end, I felt I accomplished my goal of creating a brand that embodied the spirit of early twentieth century poster art, complete with a modern twist.
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