The following article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of HOW magazine.
Phoenix the Creative Studio’s brand refresh for Montreal’s Vallier Bistro earned them top accolades in the HOW Logo Design Awards.
Local ingredients. Seasonal dishes. Exemplary branding. All of it works together to create memorable customer experiences at Vallier, a decade-old bistro nestled in the heart of Old Montreal.
When Phoenix the Creative Studio took on the challenge of refreshing Vallier’s identity, the bistro closed its doors to the public for two months—and that’s essentially how much time the creatives had to complete the project, says firm founder and CEO Fouad Mallouk.
With so little time, the team worked on multiple pieces concurrently, and came up with a few unorthodox solutions along the way, Mallouk says. And with so many applications, formats and scales to consider, Mallouk emphasizes how important it is—for any designer working on a project like this—to keep sight of the brand as a whole. “Sometimes one particular application becomes the brand’s centerpiece, and it isn’t necessarily the logo,” he says. “We find that starting the creative process from the application that inspires you most helps the creative flow and generates very articulate brands.”
[Psst! Did you know Phoenix the Creative Studio designed a unique winners certificate template for this year’s awards? Enter today for your chance to win!]
The firm succeeded in updating Vallier’s look in accordance with the restaurant’s high-end, but friendly and affordable feel, and customers are charmed. The bistro’s website traffic has doubled every five weeks since its first-month accumulation of more than 15,000 visits—with an increase of more than 1,000% in number of sessions compared to the old site.
“If time was initially an important problem, the solutions we found to compensate for it yielded results that went beyond our expectations,” Mallouk says. Those results led to recognition in the 8th Annual HOW Logo Design Awards, and when all 20 winners went head-to-head in an online Reader’s Choice voting, Phoenix the Creative Studio’s work received 39% of HOW readers’ votes in the identity applications category.
In light of their win, the team at Phoenix the Creative Studio has a few takeaways worth sharing: First, food photography makes you hungry. Second, Mallouk says you just “never know where a creative flame will spurt from”—so be sure to consider all design opportunities. And third, be careful not to follow the easiest path. “Clients probably know their industry better than us, but never forget, we know our industry better than them,” he says. “Therefore, challenging them when challenge is due and getting them out of their comfort zone is crucial.”
Title Vallier Bistro | Design Firm Phoenix the Creative Studio, Montreal; www.phoenix.cool | Creative Team Fouad Mallouk, account manager/founder; Christopher Nicola, art director/designer; Louis Paquet, creative director; Clement Piganeau, illustrator; Alexis Malin, photographer | Client Vallier Bistro
[Related: Check out all 20 winners of the most recent HOW Logo Design Awards.]