I’m updating our portfolio, and I’m trying to start from as early as I can recall, which mean publishing here some of the Seattle projects that used to be on this blog when it was bigger, longer, and not-stolen. A long story, regarding the laptop that had ‘everything on it, yes, even backups,’ that walked off on one of the many, many places that DK went while we were exploring and traveling and not-doing-design project, which meant, of course, that I wanted to redo the entire website because tat’s just how I am, from time to time.

Okay. All that to say. I want to share an early brand identity design project from our archives, this one’s from 2010.

DK’s design for a Seattle cafe, 2010

A brand identity design project that began with naming consulting, left that arena quickly, and then became its own thing. (A long story.) But I’ll just skim the surface, and give you the designers’ play-by-play highlights.

A query came in by email. From Seattle. We had already moved to the East Coast, but barely, and this blog was optimized at the time for search for Seattle branding. This was swell before everyone in the universe had a blog or microblog, and way, wayyyy before instagram. I think MySpace was going on, back then. So if you were in Seattle or nearabouts, and seeking designers who specialized in branding, then, yeah. We popped up.

Taking the call in Durham NC, we got to talking about it. The identity, the feeling, the vibe.

The concept. I park for a while on Concept, when I’m leading a project, and this one was me on the creative lead, for sure. Because of stylistics: the image, the emotion, all of that, pointed to the aesthetic of a past version of DK. One that liked to play with… paint.

I did this. I played around with paint. Brushstrokes, lettering. It was good.

Design and identity design

So what happened was that I got to the studio, of ours, in Durham, and we set thing sup a little differently. Instead of using the computers so much, we started cutting papers, collaging, I even tried a quilling technique, to see what might emerge. Play. Again, play. I see that now in all our past works.

In the end, I lettered the name of the cafe with a thick brush, going out of my usual style of using a pen, or line art, or vectors. The feeling that the cafe was going for, and this was well before it was starting, I think it was under construction when we were calling at that time, well yeah.

Anyway, it was not the usual style of DK’s (our usual style is often described as ‘clean, modern.’) It was something else. A different mood. Still, the idea of a design brief is to outline that so well that you can make it work out, even if that means researching and learning more and studying and trying things. We love trying things. So this was a chance.

I heard that the Row House Cafe has since closed, but it was an interesting challenge, for sure.

It reminds me a little bit of the time we did the brand identity for a new restaurant in Ireland, will have to fish out those files now, too, from the archives.