Chuck & Blade
Chuck & Blade is a collaborative senior project between myself and my classmate Jenna Josepher. The two of us set out to create a restaurant with a different take on meat consumption. In addition, we also set out to go beyond the traditional "fictional restaurant branding" project, and actually make the physical context for the design work to exist within. We realized that, with most design projects, the work is seen and enjoyed by the viewer, but never fully understood without seeing it in its true setting. There are many facets to this project, which grew almost out of our control by its completion. We have a complete viral marketing campaign, package design, print design, identity work, interior and lighting design, and much more. So enjoy the proceeding work as it is some that the two of us are unbelievably proud of.
The idea behind the Chuck & Blade logo was to represent the restaurant’s attitude toward meat consumption, but still hold the same style and class that one would come to associate with a fine dining establishment. We decided on the decapitated head of a cow as the main focus of the mark, playing off the traditional animal silhouette so often used by steakhouses and other fine restaurants. The drip of blood falling from the slice represents the freshness, as well as the reality of the meat. The mark in its current form is usable also as three separate parts: the head, the type and the drop.
For the show itself, the room we were using was divided in two parts. One half was to be a clean and simple area to display all of the project's designed elements, wine bottles, apparel, etc. The other half was to be the restaurant interior, and the context which all of the elements on the other half of the room would actually "live." Everything in the room was under our control: from the purchasing and alteration of certain items of furniture, to the customized lighting design and the hand picked elements from our college's (SUNY Purchase) props department. The faux-brick wall in the photo was hand painted over a series of several days and even all of the meat-related monoprints were created especially for the project.
Bottle Labels and Other Show Elements
To create a completely believable experience for the viewers of our show, we chose to control as many elements of the project as we possibly could. We decided that we would not have any real name brand wines or liquors in our show, but instead create all of our own brands and package them ourselves. Every wine that we had on display also coordinated with our wine list, which had these and several more brands all of our own creation. In addition, we created drinks that were supposedly comprised of all our imagined wines and liquors to create an even more believable atmosphere. We also customized all of the table settings to go along with the bloody motif we had created for all of the print materials. We used red enamel paint to create a bloody effect on the plates and also screen printed the drop element from our logo on each one of our napkins.
(An homage to our four professors who helped us along the way.)
(A shot of one of our table settings, complete with real cowhide place mat.)
We decided early on in our process that we were also going to create a sort of viral marketing propaganda campaign for our restaurant to get buzz going before our show actually opened. Starting about 6 weeks before our show, we started screen printing posters with very confrontational statements about meat. We felt that since organizations, such as PETA, use in-your-face tactics to get their anti animal slaughter messages across, we would do the same, but pro-meat instead. Each time we made a series of posters, we would place them around our college campus in the very early hours of the morning, so as to keep our identities hidden. We also simply put "A Friendly Message from Chuck & Blade" on the bottom of each poster as the only possible clue as to what the posters were actually for.