Contributed by Claire Saccoccini of San Francisco-based Noise 13.

Saison restaurant

Chef Joshua Skenes and his business partner, sommelier Mark Bright, launched Saison three years ago as a Sundays-only pop-up before expanding operations to three and then five days a week.

It eventually became permanent and garnered two Michelin stars. In 2013, Skenes moved the restaurant into the 1888 California Electric building, a historic brick structure a block from AT&T Park. At Saison, the most important kitchen tool is the oldest of all: fire. Skenes calls it “the heart of the restaurant.” Nearly every dish at Saison contains something that was smoked, grilled, or roasted by a wood fire. Food & Wine magazine named Skenes one of America’s best new chefs.

Skenes came to Noise 13 to rebrand the restaurant’s visual identity, create a logo to represent the importance of fire in their dishes, and design a new website. After several months of collaboration and explorations gourmands, we finally released a very simple, almost ethereal visual identity that hopefully enhances the grace of Skenes’s cuisine.

Saison logo sketches

Saison brand identity design

Saison brand identity design

Saison brand identity design

Saison brand identity design

Saison brand identity design

Saison website sketches

Saison website

Saison website

Saison website

Saison website

Client: Saison
Saison team: Joshua Skenes, Mark Bright, Rhia Shumway, Patrick Ellis
Web design agency: Noise 13
Creative director: Dava Guthmiller
Designer: Christine Lee
Development: Rachel Bain
Project manager: Claire Saccoccini
Letterpress: Reb Peters Press
Leather work: Taurus Bookbindery

Saison restaurant

View more identity work on the Noise 13 website. Follow Noise 13 on Twitter.

12 responses

  1. The final result is lacking the edge of some of the early sketches and the inherent energy of fire that the vibracy of web saturated pictures selection is bringing back. Love the font choice.

  2. I like it, too. The biggest surprise for me are the colors which I didn’t expect and don’t find to be prominent in the presented materials. What are the roles of Trade Gothic and Helvetica Light, respectively, as they have similar appearance.

  3. I agree, having both trade gothic and helvetica light seems a bit redundant. I really want to see a serif font to contrast the simplicity of the flame. The colour palette does not seem very exciting or appetizing either. I love the colours in the first kitchen picture. After that the rest seem off. Blue is often said to kill your appetite.

  4. The symbol is refreshingly simple and clean, contrasting with the energetic vibrant images. The juxtaposition of typography between the word mark and the primary typeface is also a nice subtle touch.

  5. The Icon is the weakest part for me, I much prefer the concepts shown to the finished article.

    The Flame looks off balance and the curves are a bit clumsy.

    Everything else is lovely, especially the photography.

  6. I agree with Anne.

    The typographic logotype works exceptionally well. Unfortunately the icon and the overall execution of the brand lacks the simple elegance.

  7. The visual identity is effortlessly memorable and appears to work on any texture. I love the simplicity of it. Although, I may have chosen a different flame from the initial sketches.

  8. Love that logo-type, feels appropriate for a starred restaurant, the i lends it a little distinction and the serifs perceived quality.

    The icon however is a bizarre choice. Its rendering is generic, suggests grilling rather than spice. For me it cheapens the logotype and doesn’t really seem particularly sophisticated in either its aesthetic or communicative value, even as an emboss across leather. I’m almost certain that there could be a number of different ways to communicate this particular value through language, image, material or print finish rather than iconographically.

    I do appreciate that there is history in the building but the wax seal and letterpress print finishes – now it seems the default for those with the budget who want to convey heritage / quality / craft – are neither suited to a contemporary eatery or specific enough to reflect the character / history of the location.

    Saying all that, the logotype, absent the flame, across full screen photography on-line is lovely.

  9. Well noticed Bob. It’s difficult not to want to add your own mark, in this case literally and figuratively, but recognising you already have something solid to work with is a skill in itself.

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