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Colette

A Mostly French Restaurant

Chef & Concept

Formerly of the beloved Italian restaurant, Sotto, Danny described an approachable French-ish restaurant that eschewed Michelin pretense in favor of something visceral and homey, while still feeling special and lively. Our inspiration crossed the Atlantic; a paean to the cobblestone streets and hearth-warmed neo-bistros that challenge the inaccessible center of fine dining while cherishing its almost religious dedication to foundational cooking and the elevation of ingredients. Danny sought soulful cuisine re-invented and prolific in Paris but mostly missing from Cincinnati’s culinary scene.

To give an identity to this burgeoning bistro was an exercise in subtlety and restraint; a rejection of the fussy. We rallied around themes: Beauty in Simplicity, Reverent Irreverence, Impressionism, and Humanity.

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Identity

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To achieve these themes in our identity, first and foremost, we developed a design aesthetic that included hand-drawn, sketch-style assets. We referenced early-to-mid twentieth century sensibilities imagining artists sketching on napkins at cafés where time stood still. We commissioned a frequent collaborator—the artist and illustrator, Joe Walsh—and briefed him on the style we wanted to achieve, scenes we wanted to depict, the world we wanted to build. As the characters, border systems, and gestures of our brand took shape, colors were deeply considered: the shade of blue you’d encounter on a classic French textile, pink reminiscent of a sunset on the Cote D’Azur.

With a system in place, we set to work designing and producing the printed matter, digital properties, and physical objects that would carry the identity. Our scope of work, at its heart, was defining the creative spirit and artistic direction of the restaurant; to give wings and a roadmap to its stewards, which included a village of creators and purveyors. The artist Blake Lippert produced thematically aligned original works. We had the joy of working with friends and frequent collaborators, Michelle Pinales on interiors and FF&E, as well as Ivy Costa on staff uniforms and apparel styling. We worked with Colette’s GM, Gabby Larsen on marketing and technical operations, including Public Relations efforts, CRM setup and ongoing website management. We continue to support Colette as Cincinnati falls in love with its every moment.

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Menus

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Collateral

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Environmental

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Style Guide

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Social Media

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Website

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Identity Guidelines

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Photography throughout the case study is by Jon Medina