DJ Stout and Barrett Fry developed a colorful, fun identity for the local restaurant.
Although the word is a bit fancy for describing the no nonsense Texas version of Mexican food—characterized by melted cheese, meat, pinto beans, spices and tortillas—Tex-Mex is the official “cuisine” of Texas. There’s no such thing as Tex-Mex in Mexico and no one makes better Tex-Mex than Maudie’s in Austin. What started as a hole-in-the-wall café in a strip mall has now grown to six locations. When it tapped Pentagram Austin to brand the newest restaurant in its chain, Maudie’s Hill Country, partner DJ Stout (who started eating at the restaurant 25 years ago) and his lead designer Barrett Fry developed a colorful, fun new identity for the local icon.
Inspired by the typography and imagery found on old street posters and the vernacular of badly designed cantina menus found in border towns, the free-form system of hand-painted letterforms and distressed fonts, combined with layers of cheap clip-art, create a distinctive identity that’s intentionally under-designed. While it may look random and uncared for, it took a lot of effort to get that messy, accidental look just right. The new identity, originally created just for just the new Bee Cave location, was such a hit that it was rolled out to all six locations and eventually included food and bar menus, table-tents, T-shirts, posters, gift-cards banners, packaging, a Web site, silk-screened artworks for the dining rooms and bar areas and this series of print ads.