Vancouver has no shortage of great food. So when Carlos Rodríguez contacted us about branding for Allium, we had lots of questions. Mainly, we were curious about how he felt he might add to the robust food culture in a unique way.
As it turns out, Carlos did have a unique vision for his restaurant. Before our meeting, he had already settled on the name. Allium refers to the botanical family of aromatics like onions, garlic and shallots. What he had in mind is a restaurant that aims to be your hangout spot. The place where you go to eat and drink on a Wednesday, where you know you’ll feel comfortable—where it feels like home.
As the name implies, he envisioned great things hiding under the casual atmosphere. An obsession with high-quality ingredients to make delicious and thoughtful meals that are all prepared and presented without an ounce of pretense.
We started where we always do: asking lots of questions and using a specially selected set of moodboards and visual references to create what we call a ‘visual translation key’. Once we understood what Carlos’ sensibilities were, we researched his market. We needed to understand what visual cues were familiar and present around the city. What are the signifiers of high-quality? What do neighborhood restaurants and casual pubs look like?
The combination of those three visual references were our starting point. From there, we presented a set of distinct proposals: one handmade, one bold and streamlined, one fancy with a bit of whimsy.
From the three proposals, Carlos selected one direction. We worked on this selected direction to perfect it, folding some concentric elements into the handmade aesthetic, while cleaning up the lines for function. Finally, we expanded the main logo into a highly versatile identity, complete with three alternate marks to fit every size and use.
Taking the economics of restaurants into account was very important. We settled on an organic palette, but understood that a single-color logo set is hugely important: it allows for wide application without bloating production costs. Allium will have the ability to use stamps to produce low cost packaging on the spot, adding to the handmade, informal quality of the brand.
Allium is a living project: its uses and systems are set up to grow with the needs of the restaurant. As their business needs become clear in operations, In-House will continue to add uses to the identity — watch this space for more!