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How do you make new feel nostalgic?
Inspired by her great-great-grandfather’s bakery, Chef Kate Williams wanted customers to feel like they were stepping back in time – somewhere between 1940 and 1970. But we were very conscious to ensure that the branding wasn’t made to look old. We wanted to take design queues from vintage nostalgia, and make it modern.
We took inspiration from an old photo of Kate’s great-great-grandfather’s bakery signage for the custom typography used for the logo. Our team scoured the archive (and eBay!) for vintage restaurant memorabilia before designing Karl’s wholly unique look and feel. In partnership with the team from ASH NYC – who designed the interiors – we created a comprehensive brand system, including everything from the neon typography in the windows to the placemat with real Detroit businesses. We even wrote and included a crossword puzzle.
Karl’s has quickly become one of the most notable new arrivals in the Detroit restaurant scene, with Bon Appetit saying that “every detail celebrates the history of the city and the people who lived there.” We love to check in on the tagged Instagram photos to see who can finish the crossword puzzle. It’s also our favorite place for a ham sandwich.