Responses by Carpenter Collective
Background: The Brass Onion is a modern American restaurant with low country flare and traditional family favorites. Located in Overland Park, Kansas, this eatery has become an everyday favorite for locals. The goal was for the branding to feel somewhat elevated yet approachable and lighthearted—paralleling the menus’ diverse, refined comfort food offerings. These brand attributes also influenced our design decisions when trying to appeal to our clients’ very broad and diverse target demographic.
Reasoning: The Brass Onion is refined comfort food. We needed a similar harmony created with the identity. We played with a balance of sophistication and whimsy to set the tone for the identity. Each icon incorporates the onion in a simple and clever way—allowing this slightly elevated identity to also have a subtle whimsical wink for a larger, more inclusive demographic.
Challenges: The project had specific budget restraints that we had to consider when working with signage fabricators and printers. We needed to make sure our design was easily updatable by the staff and could be printed in-house on an affordable, easy to acquire paper stock. We created menu shells where the patterning and illustration elements were pre-printed—allowing the menu items to be printed internally and evolve with updates. We selected French Papers, not only because the colors and quality is good, but also because it is affordable and easy for our client to reorder in large and small quantities.
Favorite details: Throughout the identity, the elegant characters were made more playful with our Brass Onion twist. It was fun to incorporate an onion in everything we did, just as many of the dishes do at the restaurant. In every type of design application we create, we always put concept first. Whether we are designing a book jacket, brand identity or experience space, concept is king.
Visual influences: When the restaurant owners and chef brought us on board, they showed us the space they would be taking over. One distinct aspect was a mosaic, bold blue tile used throughout the restaurant. Our clients did not plan to update it and seemed to really respond to this flooring. When we began design concepts, we were influenced by the existing blue floor tiles. This influence is evident when you see our patterning on the back of menus, business cards and various other materials.
Specific demands: As we started this project, the naming of the restaurant was still being decided. When the team landed on “The Brass Onion,” visuals instantly popped in our head. We truly feel that a unique name can help drive the identity concepts as it did with the restaurant. We really played up the onions and incorporated “brass” colors throughout our identity.