Davidson Restaurant

This hypothetical rebranding project was a complex multimedia production for my Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design. Competitor, client and customer research informed the campaign. The primary masterbrand seeks to evoke notions of contemporary with just a hint of the old. It is based on mountain pepper shrub native to woodlands and the cool temperate rainforest of south-eastern Australia.

The geometric shapes, specifically the two triangles embedded in the typography, reference a sense of contemporary stylistics. The triangle is an important shape in the culinary world as an efficient kitchen is often designed in this way positioning the three main work areas at its intersections. These are the sink, the stove and the refrigerator. The number of leaves is 7 and the berries, 8 representing the year 1978 when the Davidson Restaurant was established.

Concept

The general idea behind this solution is to have a creative identity branding that addresses the distinct communication needs of the client. The design solutions composed of the art, the design advertising, branding and supporting collateral requirement should stand the test of time but simultaneously be able to relate to the target demographics. The Gordon’s Davidson’s Restaurant is a cooking and training venue that endeavours to increase its lunch and evening dining patronage by improving their commercial profile awareness and brand to consistently increase the numbers of people dining there.

Audience 

The target market comprises of the new influx of staff coming to Geelong employed by the new Government headquarters of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), WorkSafe, Transport Accident Commission (TAC) as well as its Melbourne & interstate visitors, contractors and families. These government agencies estimate that they will employ over 1000 new staff most of which would be professionals. Furthermore, the primary target market is a much younger, dynamic, professional clientele from these closely located organisations. A secondary target market is composed of families and students near and at the Gordon.

Two customer personas were created for this campaign. (See presentation for details). The use of customer persona profiles allowed me to create the campaign with a clear idea of the target market.

Competitors

The Gordon is situated very closely to the Geelong CBD. Its location has its benefits and liabilities. If people wanted to avoid the crowd, they can choose to go to the Davidson. However, the area at the Gordon is notoriously known for horrible parking. As for the offerings, the Davidson has the most reasonably priced buffet and three-course dining around the area. Competitors are at a higher price-point and offer a much wider range of choices in various cuisines. Their branding is mostly contemporary and artsy relating well with a younger crowd.

Design Issues

My main design issue was producing a solution that respected tradition and the progressive. An earlier ideation looked ultra-modern and did not seem to encapsulate the organisation’s personality. A succeeding solution was too organic and feminine with a retro-looking font.

My final design solution ultimately involves the use of just the sans serif font maintaining the geometric and contemporary design for the brand be it the print ad, vinyl vehicle wrap or the website.

It is important to be reminded that the overall aesthetic of a brand relies on multi-faceted aspects visual and otherwise. Keeping the overall image modern depends upon the consistent use of contemporary and trendy elements in all branding collaterals, not just the logo.

Symbolism

The primary masterbrand seeks to evoke notions of contemporary with just a hint of the old. It is based on mountain pepper shrub native to woodlands and the cool temperate rainforest of south-eastern Australia. Its stems are red in colour; its leaves and berries are used as spice. It has most recently become popularised as bushfood condiment (Wikipedia 2020).

“Earthy, peppery, cinnamon-like taste on the front palate with herbaceous, spicy notes and developing heat on the back palate. Aroma: Distinct spicy aroma of pepper and the Australian bushland, resembling dry paperbark, cinnamon and herb.” (Australian Super Foods 2020)

The choice of pepper is fastened on the idea that it is such an important spice in the culinary word. As Plato put it, “pepper is small in quantity and great in virtue.”

It was important to choose image references that respected this land and its people. As an historical jewel of the Gordon, the Davidson Restaurant’s menu choices are often a reflection of fresh Australian produce whilst having the classic cuisine at the fore.  

The geometric shape specifically the two triangles embedded in the typography is meant to evoke a sense of contemporary stylistics. The triangle is an important shape in the culinary world as an efficient kitchen is often designed in this way positioning the three main work areas at its intersections. These are the sink, the stove and the refrigerator.

The number of leaves is 7 and the berries, 8 representing the year 1978 when Davidson was established (The Gordon 2020).

A secondary graphic element is the Davidson stamp designed for stationery, postcards, vouchers and numerous other relevant uses.

Style

The style used for the Davidson restaurant is sophisticated and contemporary with just a hint of traditional. The illustrative style of the logo relates to the organic and warm quality of the brand. We used this approach to relate to the young as well as the more mature target market. The contemporary feel will mostly be emanating from the rest of the logo including the typography used. This look will be used in the design of various multi-media branding such as the website, brochures and print materials.

Typography

The typeface used is Regulator Nova which is a geometric sans serif typeface. This sans serif font and its various weights (Light, Medium, Bold) is to be used in all branding collaterals to maintain a contemporary look and feel. Moreover, the geometric minimalistic look aims to balance the vintage quality of the organic symbol.

Colour

The colour palette adopted gives the brand a unique and consistent look and feel that enables the Davidson Restaurant to be recognised instantly.

The main logo has three colours all stemming from the new architectural renders of the Davidson’s future interior renovation. More importantly, the colour choices for the main logo are consistent with the natural and organic aspect of the brand as the organisation uses local ingredients and produce. For this same reason, natural names such as Ebony Clay and Earth were used.

The secondary palette colours (Sand, Clouds, Woody Brown and Wine) are chosen for their darker tones that complement the primary palette.

Relationship

Davidson Restaurant has a planned renovation in late 2020/early 2021. This rebranding concept is designed to sync with this renovation.  As a training venue, its personality as reflected by its community of trainers, apprentices and trainees is still very much about offering the classic whilst providing patrons the opportunity to experience fresh seasonal cuisine at a competitive price.

Process

The design process employed in this project included design thinking as the main framework which encompasses defining the client’s current challenges and exploring human contact. During the briefing, the client was able to present all the communication challenges that they had. The next important step of the process is ideation or brainstorming which allows for the designer to look at all the possible design ideas no matter how sublime or incredulous they may be. Next was development of the shortlisted ideas followed by exploration of the main choice in various colour formats and modalities. It was important to choose photographs that were professional, clean, contemporary and bold. Client feedback was provided at several times to ensure progress was being made. The final approval was given after client presentation.

Works Cited

Australian Super Foods. 2020. mountain-pepper-lea. https://austsuperfoods.com.au/native_ingredients/mountain-pepper-leaf/.

The Gordon. 2020. What The Gordon Offered. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://www.thegordon.edu.au/about/history/what-the-gordon-offered.

Wikipedia. 2020. Tasmannia_lanceolata. 19 April. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasmannia_lanceolata.

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