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.

Breadline Logo

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:

Remarkable Breads Logo

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:

Bread Furst Logo Option 1

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.

Heidi Ruesswick Guerard

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:

Bread Furst Logo Option 2

How does that strike you? Does that work? What do you think?

  1. Aglaia says:

    I DO like the second (last) logo. I think it is simple, clean and old-fashioned enough.
    I am so thrilled with your fast progress!!!

    • Jr. says:

      I also like Brad’s Logo. The bold black type has an industrial look that connotes strength and permanence. It reminds me that baking is as much about blood sweat and tears as it is about art and craft. If you think it’s too harsh, try a different font. Perhaps something a little bit more rounded like Bauhaus, or maybe a stencil styled typeface.

  2. To capture the concept “traditional, simple, rooted” I think either something Mesopotamian or Egyptian themed, perhaps something iconic like the small terracotta figurines of women rolling bread or a photo of hands only kneading floured dough.

  3. Marion Nestle says:

    I like it. It’s elegant. I can’t really decide about these things until I actually see them and I’m wondering if the nameless designer (put a name with the photo!) would be willing to try a couple of tweaks. Would she be willing to show me what it looks like with more space between Bread and Furst (do you really want this to be one word? It sounds too much like breakfast), and, to indulge, with a baguette underneath.

    *From:* Bread Furst [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Tuesday, October 08, 2013 12:08 PM *To:* marion.nestle@nyu.edu *Subject:* [New post] Loco over Logo

    Mark Furstenberg posted: “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, roote”

  4. Booss, John says:

    Does it depend at all on the setting in which it will be used? Will it be a swinging sign over the sidewalk to announce your location and draw customers? Or would it be used principally on bread sleeves? Both the above and more? I’d think that an over-sidewalk sign would need to be assertive to announce itself in the clamor of competing stimuli, whereas a sleeve logo can afford to be a bit more subtle, keeping the customers eye after bringing the bread home. I think that the proffered logo is assertive. Could it be made a bit more subtle as well, by fiddling with the style of letter design? Apologies for rattling on, it’s been a morning of reading or drafting manuscripts and this has been a welcome diversion.

    John Booss, MD Professor Emeritus Departments of Neurology and Laboratory Medicine Yale University School of Medicine Formerly National Program Director, Neurology Service Department of Veterans Affairs ________________________________

  5. Charles Negaro says:

    Sorry no suggestions. But wanted to commend the effort.

    Charles Negaro

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. Frank Furstenberg says:

    I like it! But, of course, it is the food that matters.

  7. Joe Cameron says:

    To me Brad’s offering, though probably memorable, is too “in your face” for an artisan bakery. Heidi’s design, on the other hand, speaks of tradition, finesse and simplicity. But though I favor the name Bread Furst, like Marion I question the wisdom of running the two words together. As one word they seem to lose their meaning: “bratwurst” comes to mind, not a great image for a bakery. I do think names and logos matter, and the obsession a worthwhile one.
    Thanks again for involving the community.

  8. Larry Kilbourne says:

    I think Heidi hit a home run, Mark.



    ________________________________ Larry Kilbourne LK Associates Web: http://www.lkphd.com Office: 703.622.6369

  9. Martha Halstead says:

    I really like Heidi’s option!

    Sent from my iPhone

  10. Joe Cameron says:

    My apologies, but I must amend my previous remarks. The more I look at Heidi’s design, the more I like it……as is!

  11. trudy turvey says:

    I like the last one-the more serious one is just that, too serious.

  12. Caroline Anstey says:

    I like logo 2 and not just because the lines are refreshing and simple, but because it added a new twist: not just the play on words with bread first/ furst, but now an additional optical reference to breakfast/ breadfurst which hadn’t struck me before.

  13. Mary Ann Booss says:

    I think that the last one is excellent. It is a play on words and is visually easy on the eye, curves being nicer than lines.

  14. Marchesa says:

    I like the last one. I have a comment about bread. Of late, most bread i find, even oven or hearth baked, contains sugar. Please say your bread won’t be sweet unless it’s meant to be, like raisin bread.

    • Sugar is put into bread for one (or both) of two reasons: First, to create a sweet bread and second, to speed fermentation. We won’t have any fast fermentations as fermentation (rising) is what gives flavor to essentially flavorless ingredients (water, flour, and salt). We will have some sweet breads — a raisin bread, perhaps, or brioche and challah. But when we put a sweetener into bread — honey or malt — it will be because the bread as you say is meant to be sweet.

  15. sarahannefurstenberg says:

    One of us votes for Brad’s logo– it your logo should look like. I like it too but think it’s a little too hard and cold– you will be selling handmade loaves bread, not dry ice. 

    I actually think you should go with a handwritten caligraphy logo. Think Thomas Jefferson with quill and ink, writing a manifesto for the right to bread.  A light brown kraft paper background with dark espresso brown ink. It evokes hand crafted as well as wheat and pumpernickle colors.

    Sent from my Galaxy S®III

  16. Vicky Borden says:

    Heidi’s is very pretty on paper, but Brad’s will draw attention to your bakery.

  17. Sarah Furstenberg says:

    Perhapsthe first option is a little too proletarian and too generic, as in the 1970’s generic labels. Perhaps you should get a 1940’s wings style sign, with neon and a clock, to signify what time the freshest baguettes will be available.

  18. Theroux, Gene says:

    Mark, I like the bold, black BREAD FURST

    …but I think the rectangle enclosing that text is too severe. Instead, I suggest placing the BREAD words within a softer shape, either the shape of a common slice of bread, or the silhouette of a baker’s hat. FURST

  19. Sue Hemberger says:

    I really like Brad’s. To me, the vibe it gives off is “demand that the basics are done right.” What I take away from Heidi’s is “we’re old-timey.” That, and/or “it’s for breakfast.” (BR-F-ST).

  20. Linda deCastrique says:

    Brad’s. Definitely. Memorable. Distinctive. Simple. Traditional yet Current.

  21. Emily says:

    The first logo looks like Sullivan Street Bakery’s logo.

  22. Nancy says:

    Brad’s is good, but it needs a graphic and/or a curly que or something to break up the “hardness” of the font. Remember, as you succeed, you’ll want to sell T-shirts with your logo on it too! Imagine a T-shirt logo…….that might help expand on ideas. What about adding a baking/bread themed silhouette?

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