Banyan Bar + Refuge: Distinctly Different Identity Design

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With its Victorian-style homes and cobblestone streets, Boston’s South End has the touch of the Gothic about it. Little wonder, then, that one of designer Adam Larson’s favorite haunts (his word) is The Gallows gastropub. When the owners opened Blackbird Doughtnuts a few doors down from him last year, he created the identity design under his company name, Adam & Co. This summer, The Gallows Group went in a slightly different direction with the opening of Banyan Bar + Refuge; Larson crafted the identity design for that, too.

Banyan Bar + Refuge Identity Design

Banyan Bar + Refuge Identity Design

“I was inspired by a number of different factors while developing this identity: The restaurant concept itself, which was a modern Asian gastro-pub,” he says. “The physical space, which boasts a large outdoor patio protected by a large tree, inspired the name. And the client’s design aesthetic, which leans toward a light-hearted macabre. My goal was to combine these sources into something that presented a vibe for Banyan, but was also distinctly different within the landscape of Boston’s vibrant restaurant scene.”

He transformed some stock photography and the leafy logo he created into a whole host of comps, from menus and placemats to coasters, postcards and business cards.

Banyan Bar + Refuge Identity DesignBanyan Bar + Refuge Identity Design

The 8.5”-14” menus, mounted on bamboo boards, were first “printed offset as a template on an 80 lb. Text sheet, and are frequently customized with updated laser outputs,” he explains.

Business cards and postcards were offset printed, too; the former on 120 lb. uncoated Cover, the latter on “standard coaster paper.” The postcards’ blending of Asian images and textured backgrounds with Banyan’s trademark Bar + Refuge in a circle and exotic logo make these postcards you’d actually want to send to a good friend… after pinching a few for your own collection, of course.Banyan Bar + Refuge Identity Design

Sadly, timing curtailed the number of pieces that could actually be produced. One piece that DIDN’T make the cut: a gorgeous drinks menu. “The intention was for it to be stitch bound using a thin twine,” says Larson. “But with regular updates to the menu it would have become too costly to maintain, so in the end they chose a more practical route.”

Says Larson of the whole experience, “I always present a minimum of three options in the initial design presentation. The other two were slightly more reserved while this was my ‘wild card.’ So in the end, I learned that it pays to always push yourself and create at least one concept that you feel the client may ‘never go for’ because they might just surprise you.”

Creative Director, Designer: Adam Larson
Photography: Stock
Printing: NorthPoint Printing

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