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Craft Cider Packaging Design: Present and Future

Whose gluten free and rapidly stealing the spotlight? Cider, that’s who. These brands are the up and coming players in spirits, and they’re no exception when it comes to craft cider packaging design. Mint, jalapeno, basil, elderberry, cherry; these are just some of the flavors incorporated in new craft ciders that provide plenty of space for play both in packaging design and on your taste buds.

Current Craft Cider Packaging Design Trends

Cider packaging design has historically focused on apples, orchards, trees, or some combination thereof, which is a huge contributor to the perception of all ciders being extremely sweet. Although some brands still pay homage to the drink’s main ingredient and its roots, the incorporation of new, eccentric ingredients and flavors have opened up a new world of creative packaging design. For example, Seattle Cider CompanyNew Belgium, and Shacksbury all have their own takes on dry, semi-dry, and semi-sweet ciders. This evolution has allowed cider to become a drink to be enjoyed all year round, not just in the summer months, which opens up even more possibilities for the composition of the drink as well as its design. Demographic trends are impacting this industry too. Hard. Although ciders have always been incredibly popular amongst younger women, the results are in, and guys like cider too. Who knew? This has led to a large gravitation towards an outdoorsy, craftsman-like, vintage, and more gender neutral design aesthetic in the cider realm to appeal to all consumers. Perhaps this is cider’s way of sneaking in on beer packaging design territory… Whatever it is, it’s working.

The Future of Craft Cider Brands

As more consumers opt for a healthier, gluten free, and in some cases, organic drink option on Friday night, craft ciders are only going to grow from here. Not only is cider a top choice for the health-conscious and/or calorie-counting population (is cider really that much better? haha), but the spirit is quickly becoming on par with beer and wine as a drink menu staple for all occasions. Craft cider will only become more synonymous with beer as small batches, unique bottles and cans, and targeted packaging design continue to become the norm. The majority of craft cider drinkers are coming from the craft beer world (Perhaps they are also trying to reel in some wine drinkers? Some of the really dry ones are almost champagne-like, have you had?). Bottom line, the same level of quality from the overall brand is expected. They want to know where the ingredients that are in that bottle or can came from, what makes these ingredients special, and they want to know the story behind who made it and why. These are important elements to include in the essence of each craft cider’s packaging design to continue to capture that market and eventually position cider as a premium drink. (People shop with their eyes first, after all.) With a larger emphasis on quality and taste, the relationship that a craft cider brand can create between its product and its consumers is going to make a difference and build strong brand loyalty that will keep them coming back, similar to what has worked for craft beer packaging design. Will, then, brand loyalty shift to the smaller, lesser known, craft cider with a story?

August 03, 2016  |  BY Aleksa Narbutaitis

Food Truck Feature: Boo Coo Roux | Chicago, IL

Boo Coo Roux Food Truck Wrap Design and Branding, Chicago Illinois

We had the opportunity to sit down with Marissa and Matt of Boo Coo Roux, a Cajun & Creole food truck based in Chicago, and learn about their journey. 

How did you decide to go forward with launching your own food truck?

We thought about it for a while and imagined some different scenarios, some in where we would possibly leave Chicago. There was about two years of various research, trips to other cities, getting to know the scene around Chicago, and experimenting with recipes before we decided it was time to go for it. We realized the the food truck scene was growing in Chicago and wanted to jump in before it became oversaturated.

What inspired the branding, logo design, and identity look & feel for your food truck?

We wanted something fun and kind of crazy without going too overboard or looking like a scene from Bourbon Street. In our heads we imagined a clean and sophisticated look that had an edge to it. We initially wanted the design to be colorful without looking tacky. We never imagined black as being our background color or main color, but when we were presented with it we loved it. Nicole transformed our ideas exactly how we imagined it. 

How did you pick the name for your truck?

We originally thought of the name Roux, simple yet an important ingredient in one of our main dishes, gumbo. That name was taken, not by another truck but by another Illinois business so we started playing around with how we could still use the word roux in our name. We researched words and found the slang word "boo coo" which comes from the French word "beaucoup" meaning "a lot" and it all came together from there.

What kind of truck does your food sell in 10 words or less?

Homemade fresh and spicy quality Cajun comfort food with a twist.      

Any quick, insightful or funny story as to how you decided to really go forward with launching your own food truck?

We originally considered moving to Colorado in order to open a Chicago-style food truck with dishes like homemade Italian beef and homemade hot dogs and bratwursts. After some research on the industry in Colorado we decided to stay in Chicago and try it here first. We needed to drop the Chicago-style food since there are already so many options (but we still have an amazing Italian beef recipe on the back burner just in case!). From there we thought about the type of food that was lacking in restaurants and especially the food truck scene and we landed on Cajun. Matt and Louis have strong backgrounds in French cooking as well so it really made sense since so many of Cajun dishes incorporate French cooking techniques. 

How do you use your food truck's website for new business and what features do you think are the most important online?

We use the website to advertise our menu as well as catering options. I think the most important feature is keeping an updated menu. Most people want to know what is available if they are going to make the trip to the truck. We don't use the website yet to post our schedule but hope to in the future. Without going into detail, the food truck parking scene is no joke and there are days where it can be hard to know where one will park. We post our locations for lunch both on Facebook and Twitter.

What's been the hardest thing to date in the whole process of launching your food truck?

Everything. It's an emotional experience when you own your own business, you become invested in every aspect. However, if I have to pick one area that was the most difficult it was probably the initial startup and build of the truck. It seemed like it would never end despite being organized and doing everything in our power to move things along.

What's been the most surprising (success or tip)?

We are not from Louisiana so we were very cautious to pursue this style of cuisine and wanted respect the food while making it our own. This involved a lot of R&D and some trips to New Orleans. That being said, it's an overwhelming success when someone from the region compliments our food. We always create food that we hope pleases the masses but a compliment from a native is always the icing on the cake.

What is/are some of the most helpful resources you found in researching how to launch a food truck?

Matt knows the owner of the Fat Shallot from his days at Everest and he was lucky enough to work on the truck. He got to see first-hand what operation on a truck was like. His experience gave him a good foundation of where to begin the process and what to think about. They were and still are a helpful resource.  There are so many details to think about with startup like insurance, propane, vendors, food cost, website, design, etc.

Words of wisdom do you want to leave us and any fellow aspiring food truckers across the country with?

It's tough. Any cook or chef in the food industry already understands the demands of that world, and a truck is no exception, especially when you approach it with the intention to create everything from scratch like we do. 

What's your personal favorite thing on the menu?

The gumbo! We went through many batches and minor changes to come up with a recipe that we feel best represents the dish.

Favorite part about working with Design Womb on the food truck branding?

Nicole! Throughout the entire startup process she was one of the best people that we worked with. She never missed a beat. We are still obsessed with the final design and could not be happier. I don’t even think we had to make any changes on the design option that we picked because it was so spot on, in fact we had a hard time picking from the options that she gave us because they all were so great!

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June 21, 2016  |  BY Nicole LaFave

Communication Arts 6th Typography Annual Competition Winner – Boo Coo Roux Food Truck

Boo Coo Roux Food Truck Branding and Design in Communication Arts Typography Annual 6 Winner 2016

Boo Coo Roux Food Truck Branding and Design in Communication Arts Typography Annual 6 Winner 2016

Boo Coo Roux Food Truck Branding and Design in Communication Arts Typography Annual 6 Winner 2016

The judges have spoken! Design Womb's branding and food truck identity work for Boo Coo Roux is one of 142 winning projects selected out of 1700 entries for this year's 6th Typography Annual. Grab a copy of the annual this month in print.

January 05, 2016  |  BY Nicole LaFave

Client News: Chicago Restaurant Branding

Chefs John Shields & Karen Urie Shields Chicago Restaurant Branding & Design – West Loop

Chefs John Shields & Karen Urie Shields Chicago Restaurant Branding & Design – West Loop

We're very excited to announce Design Womb's resturant branding and design collaboration in the works this year with chefs John Shields and his wife, Karen Urie Shields. We'll be working alongside the duo for the launch of their highly anticipated Ada St. location, which is split between two floors, and the chefs envision opening two restaurants.

John worked at Charlie Trotter's, and was part of the opening team at the hot Chicago restaurant spot, Alinea. Karen spent two years at Tru working under Gale Gand, then six years at Trotter's, the last three as head pastry chef. As a husband-wife team, they opened Town House in 2008 in the tiny town of Chilhowie, VA, where they quickly acquired a monster reputation; John was a 2011 James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.

Check out their Chicago Tribune feature.

July 29, 2015  |  BY Nicole LaFave

Style Check-In

Style Check-In Web Design & Development, Chicago Illinois, Fashion Clothing Subscription Service – Craft CMS

We’re excited to announce and share the launch of Style Check-In this spring. Style Chck-In is a Chicago-based clothing subscription website service – fashion at your fingertips.

February 23, 2015  |  BY Nicole LaFave

Lemonmade Style & Snips for Kids

We just wrapped up the logo and branding for Lemonmade. Those of you cool parents in Chicago with little ones, you want to watch for this one in spring of 2012. More to come.

January 20, 2012  |  BY Nicole LaFave

Featured Client: Taryn Bickley

Taryn Bickley is a Chicago based freelance stylist, shopper and writer. She needed something that reflected her personality, but remained simple and sophisticated to showcase her portfolio of work. The results were a simple brand, website and stationary collateral that I designed to help market and grow her freelance business. You can view my work for Taryn here. Taryn is playful and whimsical with a modern twist. You can view her styling and writing work at TarynBickley.com and follow her more recent endeavor at her new blog Sage & Style. Need to find the perfect set of glasses or trying to find that perfect tray for the party you are throwing next week? TB is the go-to-girl for those types of questions and her new blog helps out. Thats not all! Taryn is currently working with me on a styling for a new branding project for Chic by Design, a new spin on upscale and smart gifting. She is styling the shoot and working closely with photographer, Cybelle Codish.

April 28, 2010  |  BY Nicole LaFave

Branding & Packaging Design