Contributed by Mike Spakowski of Missouri-based Atomicdust.
During an early meeting, Gerard told us that his approach to Niche grew out of a simple maxim from his childhood: “Be plumb and square.” It’s a guide for good behavior (and good construction) inspired by a carpenter’s tools. Niche’s identity was influenced by the plumb bob, a weight that swings on the end of a string until gravity holds it still, forming a perfectly vertical line. For centuries, this humble tool was the starting point for the construction of great buildings and monuments.
For us, the connection to Niche was immediately clear. Amazing things start simply. Niche takes an uncomplicated approach to the complexities of modern cuisine, starting with a precise balance of ingredients and flavors to create something that transcends its origins.
In that spirit, Niche’s new visual identity highlights good cuisine’s building blocks: colors, textures and shapes. On both the new website and menus, circles of various sizes encompass individual ingredient photographs that come together to create something greater than the sum of their parts.
We designed the menu to slide out of an envelope with a plumb-bob-shaped cutout that reveals a small portion of the interior menu’s textures and colors. When the menu is fully removed from the envelope, guests feel the full impact of the images: bright herbs, chilli peppers, orange slices, radishes and more. A variety of interior menu covers, four in total, makes it likely that the image will be different for each person at a given table.
To add a bit of intrigue, and to acknowledge that Niche can’t easily be defined, the front of the menu has no printed ink — just the embossed logotype.
In the spirit of simplicity, the new Niche website is contained on a single vertical page, where a semi-transparent swinging plumb-bob follows the visitor throughout the visit, guiding the eye with a straight, dividing line that dives underneath certain sections before reappearing above others. The restaurant can share news, new additions to the menu and images via the embedded Twitter feed, and a reservation button will make it easy for visitors to take action if they find themselves hungry for more.
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