After selling his popular casual taco restaurants, John Ko set out to develop a new restaurant concept that offers a mix of traditional Southern and Korean barbecue, as well as craft cocktails, in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. He approached me to create the brand and design an identity for this new venture – from name, to message and tone, to logo, collateral, and signage.
The logo system features an original logotype that feels classically Southern with inspiration from stencil-like branding irons, as well as a custom-made font, Oakblue Case, created specifically for the restaurant (in which "Kitchen" is set for the logo, and is also used throughout the branding). Hand-drawn illustrations personalize the branding and create vintage-inspired artwork for the space, and a warm color palette ties together all of the pieces.
Rooted in the South, Oakblue Kitchen serves up a diverse menu of high-quality smoked meats and comfort food that take cues from classic Southern fare and hospitality while also inspired by a family heritage of Korean cooking. The finished result is not a stereotype of tired Southern visuals, but something that feels rustic and modern all at once.