Responses by Jason Rothman, designer/illustrator
Background: The purpose of this project was to create a brand for Range Life, a new restaurant in Livermore, California, opened by two couples that decided to leave the city behind and move to the hills. The brand needed to represent them and capture the feeling of their new life on the range. The target audience is anyone who enjoys delicious food and drink in the Bay Area.
Reasoning: Range Life exists because the owners decided to quit their jobs in San Francisco and Brooklyn and opt for a simpler life in the hills of Livermore—to take what they learned from the industry and apply it to a simpler place. I wanted to capture that feeling, to create something elegant and refined, but also approachable and textural.
Challenges: Creating a layout that can be easily updated by people who are not designers. You need to have restraint on some of the details, as they need to be replicated every single day. The more complex, the more likely I’m going to sit down and cry onto the menu I spent so much time finessing because the spacing or kerning is not exactly as I left it. I needed to design a system that was easily adaptable by Range Life’s in-house team.
Favorite details: That I was able to bring form and function together. For example, the “Employees Only” sign that ran up the stairs used type that also stepped upward, and the “no smoking sign” is an illustrated plume of and an arrow runs all the way down the hall and wraps around the corner to lead you to an additional restroom outside. I’m also a sucker for a blind embossing and those lil’ egg cartons are so cute!
Visual influences: The hills of Livermore surrounding the restaurant. It was nice to have something pure and majestic to pull from. I was also inspired by the people that started the restaurant. As someone who also recently left the Bay Area for a new beginning, it takes a lot of guts to open a place like this outside of the city. I loved the idea of them upending their lives for this simpler range life.
Specific demands: This project proves that if you get on the same page with your client upfront, it can yield great results. This being said, a ton of work goes into opening a restaurant and that includes the branding work. Do not underestimate the amount of time and energy it takes to do it right.