The changing neighborhood called for some new thinking around the cafe’s brand. On one hand, big-money restaurants are moving in and bringing great design with them, raising the bar. On the other hand, there is a lot more competition opening up. As the Daily Dose becomes The Alley, we were interested in how a clearer, authentic connection to the history of the neighborhood could lift them up as the wave of new development rolls through.
Brand & Storytelling
Our first step on every project is a deep dive into what makes a place / thing / brand special. We look at the food, culture, culinary philosophy, but also the history of the place and the area, and start to find overlaps or points of friction that can inform our design decisions. We’re looking to create a brand narrative that can tell a story and weave together many smaller parts: a logo, a custom typeface from old train letters, a color, a design grid and menu that references archival street maps, and, notably for this project, photography.
One of the most inspiring discoveries was finding Robert Smaus and his photography of the area from the late 1970s, early 1980s. The one-of-a-kind images of the alley as a functioning train pathway anchors the restaurant’s brand identity, invoking a special sense of purpose and place. Important for us: it’s authentic and unique, but also provides an onramp for conversations about the past and future of the neighborhood and community.