I had the great honor of being featured on Top Chef Season 16 on the Restaurant Wars challenge as their Bluprint Expert - Graphic Designer. The challenge was to create a restaurant in 48 hours which included a fully functioning restaurant, brand identity, interior design and a full-course meal created by our chefs.
The Bluprint team consisted of James Worsham, from Handy Dandy Productions , who directed the interior design of each restaurant. Kristen Johnson, from A Girl and Her Glitter, who headed the table-scape and overall art direction of each restaurant.
My role was logo and brand creative direction, and I lead the creation of 3 unique brand identities complete with logo and application across different mediums. We sat down with each team for no more than 10-minutes to hear about their proposed restaurant and then we were off to work!
Direction: The gray team was creating a restaurant that highlighted fresh foods and earthy flavors.
Keywords: Earthy, organic, fresh, veggies — delicate but not garden looking.
I was inspired by the restaurants that I have visited in Los Angeles and took note of their brand identity — very light and whimsical. I went with the same direction as Thistle and overlaid an earthy tone typeface on a thistle vector illustration. When it came to the application, we took the whole image as a whole and created pieces of vinyl to place on the menus and restaurant.
Direction: “Pretend you just walked into Forrest Gump’s mom's house.”
Keywords: New Orleans, seafood, antebellum, navy, comfortable
This was equally my favorite and most challenging logo to create. The team wanted a New Orleans vibe but didn’t want to make it so apparent with brass instruments and seafood. They also mentioned that they wanted this logo to serve as a “sticker” or “stamp” for their beignet bags. I knew that this logo would have to live in a frame whether circle or square for its application. After spending lots of time researching and exploration, I decided that I would focus less on illustrating a “third coast” and hitting it home with a New Orleans inspired typeface.
*Restaurant War Winner!*
Direction: The team wanted to emphasize that they were all from the North East and wanted to bring a vibe that was sophisticated yet low key enough that you’d go there for happy hour after a long week of work.
Keywords: City, gray, young professional, skyline, modern
You would think with a name as simple as “North East” I would have first gone with a GPS/Map/Arrow, but I got hung up with a cityscape and wanted to create a logo with buildings. However, after a few trial and errors, I felt that the brand would be best served with a simple arrow similar to what we’re used to seeing on Apple/Google Maps.
The typeface I chose was similar to what you would see on a map when looking at coordinates and directions.