Word of Mouth
Three short years into my freelance business, I still answer my phone when an unknown number rings. Most of the time, it's a bot or a cold call, but I still hold out hope that it's a direct referral from another client (yes, if you're trying to hand me new business, feel free to give out my number). Last Thanksgiving, that coveted direct referral popped up in my inbox.
"I'm a restaurateur based in Chicago. I'm working on a new opening in the west loop and was looking for a little bit of help on the graphic design front."
Please, tell me more.
Slightly Toasted planned to open in early January 2017. They're located right next to Ogilvie Station so they're anticipating serving mostly commuters and folks out for a business meeting. They'll offer a full coffee bar and gourmet toasts in the morning, then move to a short, but considerate, entree menu and lengthy whiskey menu in the evening. They've got you covered both on your way to and from work.
On Your Mark
My client was ready to go, and so was I. When a client comes to the table with a clear vision of the final product, the excitement is contagious. By the end of our introductory call, I was already jumping in; I found myself sharing my next steps and assigning the client homework before we'd even officially decided to work together. It was a little naive and presumptuous, but effective.
Using the sketches above as a launching point, I got to work. I immediately imaged the two words working together, utilizing contrast and placement to make them feel different, but naturally connected.
About half way through the logo development, the option to the far right came together (logo 4 of 6). It was love at first sight. If that look had jumped off a cliff, I absolutely would have followed.
However, I was alone in my adoration. Slightly Toasted isn't my brand.
The first batch of looks helped foster a critical conversation to move the project forward. The client really wanted to up the contrast between the two words. "Slightly" was to be scaled down, look more hand-written, and utilize a heavier tilt off the baseline.
Branding Starter Kit
Given our tight deadline, the scope of the project was limited to exactly what the client would need to open their doors: a logo package, a food and beverage menu, and a simple set of brand guidelines. We covered three logo variations, sizing, spacing, colors, and font use. Next steps would include additional print materials, brand voice, and image styles.
I stopped by Slightly Toasted for their soft opening. Good news, y'all; the food was delicious, the cocktails were amazing, and the service was lovely. It will definitely be a regular stop when I'm in the city. If you swing by, make sure to tell Tyler I said hello!
Portrait by Krissy Platt.