"A Graphic Design Agency That Takes The Status-Quo and Eats It."

Print Design: Mustard & Rye

Menus, menus and (somehow) even more menus.


Mustard & Rye

A project that perfectly exemplifies why a strategy needs to be adhered to and in a manner that everyone works with – for this American-style restaurant, that was not the case

As you might have been able to tell, this project didn't go so well for us. The timescales were impossible, the workload was intense and the amendments were non-stop – and we got paid half as much as we should have. The problem was that the client would change his mind frequently, and not just about the designs: The order of the strategy, the addition of new elements at a moments notice and the sporadic focus was what killed this project and the business – which has now gone into administration. But we worked dam hard and spent a great deal of time developing these designs, so there is no way in Hell we're not showing them off!

There first element of this project was to develop takeaway menus. The client wanted to stick to the aesthetic the previous designers had developed, but we quickly drew parallels with the successful rival chain: Hubbox. It was at this point we decided to begin moving the design in a direction more fitting to vintage imagery.

The reverse showed a great deal of information being presented in a short space. This new element of the business could have been very successful, but wasn't promoted nearly enough.

The next element was a string of offers for late night shoppers in the Christmas period which would extend into he next year, but again saw little life outside the restaurant.

We also tried to include "deal days" to boost custom during quiet periods of the week. The focus on these, however, was moved to other things.

For instance, M&R decided to pursue developing a beer range, which at the time seemed like a smart idea, turned out to be just a distraction.

Although the range was good, even the resturant itself did little to advertise it.

What M&R really wanted to do was get it's upstairs 'Speakeasy' back up and running, which had seen little custom since it's inception.

We argued that for upstairs to be successful, downstairs also needed some life. You couldn't see into the upstairs bar and there wasn't all the much attention called to it from the outside. We began promotional cards to be handed out.

With the big launch imminent (too soon, actually) we produced imagery for their social media accounts, which wasn't used like instructed. On opening night, the cleaners were downstairs sorting out the end of the restaurant shift!

The upstairs needed to see a return to class, as it was clear that little places in Cornwall retained to such a standard. We were fully behind this, but the cogs were turning before the strategy for it had been properly realised.

The cocktail menu, another last minute edition, went through dozens of alterations before settling on a final version. The final booklet turned out to be twice the size of the original drink list, containing new spirits and wines as well as entire sections as it went.

This is the print layout, so pages would match up properly when printed with the respective images and content.

Other items, like this grease paper design, were nice touches, perhaps a little unnecessary.

What really stirred the pot was this food menu. The client had decided to change its entire menu on a whim and wanted it produced in a nonsensical timeframe whilst it was still deciding on contents.

Whilst we're rather proud of the design: rustic, raw and striking whilst remaining perfectly legible, the lack of uniformity was beginning to show. Whilst we wanted to create different arms of the business: a raw American diner, a late-night sophisticated pub and a secret-ish classy upstairs the truth was that M&R had stretched themselves too thinly and too soon.

We had also produced a drinks menu for downstairs that could be used at during restaurant hours and late evenings that was clearly meant to differentiate from the food arm of the company.

They didn't feel the need to see this through despite agreeing to the logic and the idea. When this menu was shown, they wanted to apply the design to food menu also, which would not have worked in a flat format, especially as this drink menu was to be tri-folded.

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Change alone is perpetual, eternal, immortal.