Loco over Logo
October 8, 2013
I am having a crisis of nostalgia as we discuss a logo for Bread Furst. Help us, please.
When early in 1990 I decided to open Marvelous Market I stumbled upon a graphic artist to whom I confessed my favorite food code words – traditional, simple, rooted; and he produced the sparse logo of a carrot rising from the ground, a wisp of green and orange with the outline of a yellow sun.
That became the logo of Marvelous Market and remained so until I lost the company to a bank and two young men who sadly never understood the business. That’s another story that will come up here sometime.
When I decided to open my second bakery and was obsessing about a logo, my son Philippe one evening handed me a piece of paper on which he had typed The Breadline. He and my old Smith and Corona portable had produced lettering faded and irregular. That suited something called The Breadline.
When I was looking for a logo for my consultation work, Jay Jung a graphic artist friend with a small and successful firm in Greensboro, NC, someone who had helped me before with wonderful designs, responded to my wish to allude in design to Marvelous Market produced this logo for Remarkable Breads:
I am once again thinking about a logo, something simple and memorable for Bread Furst.
Bread Furst. How about a baguette? Too trite. What about some other recognizable loaf of bread? Too much like a World War II poster.
Logos are probably not worthy of obsessing. They may not be important at all. But I have had it in my mind that people attach images to places. Perhaps it is just I who do that.
I told, Brad Ireland, the local graphic artist helping us that he need not be constrained by my wish to have a symbolic representation of this new bakery and he tried to reach back, taking inspiration from the signage of early Twentieth Century neighborhood bakeries. Those bakers, of course, unlike me, didn’t have graphic designers applying their imaginations to the task; and they created logos of simplicity. They meant that simplicity to help communicate the simplicity of bakery foods.
Brad took me literally. Here’s one he produced that I liked:
But I still couldn’t help thinking that there ought to be some symbolic representation of our neighborhood bakery, a figure of some kind that goes well beyond mere letters.
At our design meeting last week, Dean, one of the Hapstak-Demetriou architectural staff, took issue with me pointing out that plain, simple lettering has worked quite well for Dean and Deluca and he named others too. Then I began to think about Kleenex, Heinz, and Frigidaire. But then I thought of Old Dutch Cleanser with its wooden shoed woman too and Morton’s Salt with the girl trailing salt behind her.
After the meeting broke up I remembered a little argument I had perhaps ten years ago with Thomas Keller. I was helping him then open the first Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, California and sometimes in the evenings he and I sat to chat in his yard of his little home behind The French Laundry.
One evening he asked me what I would think of his giving to his New York restaurant the name Per Se. I hope I thought a little before telling him it was a terrible name.
What will it mean to people, I asked? Who would understand the subtle little joke? And later in the evening I wrote a two-page letter to him making (brilliantly) the case against name Per Se.
And of course he ignored me and of course the name confusing to people for perhaps ten minutes had no affect on the immediate success of Per Se.
What’s in a name? What’s in a logo? Does it really matter?
At the end of our design meeting, Heidi, another young member of the HapstakDemetriou team, a Floridian with degrees in art and marketing and a graduate of the Corcoran College, moved over into the chair next to me and show me this:
How does that strike you? Does that work? What do you think?