| May I See a Menu, Please? |
Austin’s Best Loved Restaurant Updates its Image on YUPO Synthetic Paper
Money Magazine recently rated Austin, Texas, as one of its Top Ten places to live. Visitors and long-time residents love the city for its lively cultural and arts scene, thriving high-tech economy, and agreeable sunny climate; a small-town metropolis that manages to revere its history without being trapped in backward thinking.
And then, of course, there’s the small matter of food. Mexican food. Favorites abound in the tantalizing shape of tortillas, chile rellenos, enchiladas, flautas, and other mouth-watering specialties (washed down with the requisite margaritas). Perhaps no other restaurant is more beloved than Manuel’s, an Austin tradition dating back more than 20 years and noted for great food and terrific service. According to the Austin City Guide, Manuel’s is “a front runner in regional Mexican cooking. Serving classic favorites…while introducing more venturous culinary diversity from the interior and coastal regions of southern and central Mexico.”
So imagine the dilemma when the owners of this favorite gathering spot approached Austin-based design firm Yellow Fin with a request to redesign their menus and logo.
“Everyone goes to Manuel’s and everyone loves the place,” says lead art director Trina Bentley. “Needless to say, you’d better get it right if you’re going to change the image of a hometown icon.” Her challenge, essentially, was how to update without upending. An innovative menu design, vibrant colors, and a unique substrate make an immediate tactile and aesthetic impression on all customers when they grab Manuel’s Menu.
Manuel’s features an extensive menu offering happy hour specials, lunch, brunch, dinner, drinks, and desserts. “They were looking for an attention getting, flexible and multi-tasked menu solution, encompassing different pages for all of these sections. They wanted them to stand alone yet also be interchangeable,” says Bentley. “I also needed to find a solution that would be both beautiful and incredibly durable.”
From a design standpoint an engaging color palette of fanciful reds, soothing blues, and countervailing yellow-patterned banding formed the perfect backdrop for the elegant and modern sans-serif typeface and bold icon-driven menu sheets. The clients were fond of the previous logo, so it was tweaked and incorporated into the fresh new look of the menu.
Every menu page was designed to a different height so that when stacked, or placed together, they would work as a cohesive unit. From a design perspective they were visually linked through unifying color and typographical elements. Concurrently, an individual page could stand on its own, the brunch offerings for instance, as a discrete menu.
This clean and modern design quickly ran aground against material considerations. With a menu composed of separate sheets of paper, traditional fiber-based substrates wouldn’t be able to hold up against the daily pressures, repeated handling, moisture and staining (“Think Guacamole! Think Salsa!” Bentley intones with a laugh) that’s the bane of a bustling restaurant.
Paper or paperboard could be laminated, but its glossy finish and “tacky” feel projected an image at odds with Manuel’s sleek new look, degrading the nascent brand image so important to the client.
It was at this material impasse that Bentley turned to a material she had worked with on a different project: YUPO.
YUPO is an ultra-white, impossibly smooth synthetic paper that is impervious to smudging, creasing and tearing. The 100% waterproof material, in fact, is nearly indestructible.
YUPO fears no hot sauce-- it can be wiped clean with soap and water.
In addition to its overweening functionality, non-porous YUPO is printable in a variety of weights and grades, rendering crisp and brilliant images as the ink isn’t absorbed into the paper but “sits up” on its surface. In Bentley’s words – “It pops!”
“Manuel’s new menu has been well received by their tried and true customers,” Bentley says. “They are so pleased with the response from their patrons that it has helped them to launch an entire brand-identity overhaul in their advertising and marketing. It started with the menu which just wouldn’t have worked without YUPO.”
About Yellow Fin, Inc.
Yellow Fin, Inc. is a comprehensive design firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2002, Yellow Fin bridges the gap between creativity and business strategy by developing innovative brand identities, print communications, advertising, websites and environmental graphic design.
Yellow Fin’s goal is to communicate its clients’ core values and ideas through thoughtful design. By taking the time to understand its clients, their projects and objectives, Yellow Fin has a proven track record of delivering projects that are responsive to each client’s needs.
For more, please visit www.yellowfinstudio.com