My thesis work this semester has been about branding a fictitious restaurant. Growing up, eating out was a special treat for my family and something that we did only on birthdays or special occasions. That being said, the restaurant experience has always fascinated me. It’s a chance to be social and to eat great food with great people.
I created the idea for this restaurant as a representation of the type of restaurant I’d like to dine in and focused primarily on a theme that would inspire others to eat there as well and enjoy a unique atmosphere. The theme is the night sky.
The restaurant, Dirigo Dining Company is based entirely around vivid memories that I had as a child while camping, watching for shooting stars and satellites.
I decided to design a logo, dining menu, a drink menu sign, coasters, a take home box and a bar for the purpose of this project.
I was really excited about the menu. The menu gave me an opportunity to research food vocabulary and decide what kinds of food would be appropriate for the restaurant. It actually felt a lot like I was making a real restaurant because the types of food and rink on the menu became almost as important as the design of the menu.
I’ve designed the coasters to be collectible. They’re all slightly different and include unique numbers on the back out of 48. There are a lot of coaster collectors out there and it’d be a great marketing opportunity to appeal to that crowd and encourage them to collect my coasters. Plus, if they show their friends and family, there’s a word-of-mouth advertising for the restaurant.
The bar drink sign is a visual companion to the drinks listed in the folding menu. I wanted bar-goers to have something to look at while eating or drinking. It’s not meant to be something you’d necessarily have to order off of because the folding menu has more drink options.
My goal for myself throughout this process has been to push the form of each item so that it challenges the viewer’s familiarity with the piece all while functioning the same. The bar is designed to project light through star-like holes in its surface.
The inspiration behind the name Dirigo Dining Company came from the Maine state flag. Dirigo, a term used on the flag, means “I lead” or “I direct” and is used in reference to the North Star, which led mariners and other travelers and seemed fitting for a night sky themed restaurant.