Reveal your genius design self!

Who designed this awesome Hot Sauce bottle? Like, seriously, who is the person who actually sketched out this bottle design and said – “This would be cool.”?

Three of the most saturated categories in grocery are SALSA, COFFEE and SPICES.

As a package designer, I’m always so excited when a new product breaks through in one of these categories because it must have a really good brand position.

 In order to actually make it to a grocery shelf it takes so much work. If you’re a startup, this means probably years of thinking about your product, tinkering with the recipe, giving to friends and family, selling at a farmers market before you ever find a buyer who is willing to pull another product to put yours in. Once you get there, it takes a lot of marketing and money to stay there.

I’m a member of the DFWCPG (Dallas Fort Worth Consumer Packaged Goods). They host in-person and virtual events and it’s free to join. These events are where I meet people on their entrepreneurial journey to get their product on the shelf. The buyers will tell you that nothing is more important than a unique product offering and a great founder story. I’m getting off-topic, sorry. The reason I’m writing this post is because I purchased a new hot sauce last month. Granted, this product is made by Herdez, a well established brand with many products. I’m sure it was a little easier to get this product in the store but it’s the BOTTLE and the DESIGN that made me buy it. Scratch that – its the BOTTLE that made me buy it. The label design is nice but it’s this adorable, fit-in-your-hand-size avocado shaped glass bottle that I’ve never seen before. The lid even has a pebbly texture like the outside of an avocado from Mexico (not a California avocado). A first, I thought it was their guacamole salsa in a new package but it turns out that it is a new product that Herdez launched in October .

POM, Truff, Mrs. Butterworths Syrup, Method Soaps – all products with unique bottles. Here’s the thing – you can’t go buy unique bottles somewhere and just put your product in them. They have to be designed and prototyped and then commissioned to be made – and in large volume. A glass company is not going to make you 1,000 custom bottles for your locally famous hot sauce. That opportunity is reserved for the established and the rich. I got to go to the Pepsi Innovation Lab in New York a few years ago and while I was there, I saw that their team of designers was working on new bottle shapes and they were making their prototypes with 3-D printers. That is the stuff that package and brand designers dream of right there.

What’s my point again…right – Herdez hot sauce.

So many topics that I could spin off of this but I’ll wrap it up by saying to the person that designed this bottle for Herdez Hot Sauce – “Please comment on my post – reveal your genius design self!”


Inside the Dallas Morning News, literally.

Dallas Morning News staff writer, Maria Halkias gave me a personal tour of the DMN offices last week in Downtown Dallas. Maria wrote a front page story about my client, Wicked Bold Chocolate founder, Deric Cahill, last year and she offered to show me around the news room. Maria interviewed me about how my company transformed Deric’s brand and package from a farmers market start-up special to a professionally branded line of chocolates on the shelves of Whole Foods, Sprouts and thousands of Walmart stores.

The Dallas Morning News has won nine Pulitzer Prizes and is the oldest continuously operated business in Texas, dating back to 1842 where it began publication of The Daily News in Galveston.

Designed by Gensler, DMN occupies the historic Old Dallas Central Library next door to the Statler Hotel. My favorite feature is a running ticker that you can see from the street level windows. Check out the pics of the office here.  

Are you interested in how to build a restaurant brand?

With countless dining choices, how do you grab the attention of potential customers and turn them into loyal patrons of your establishment? Well, my friend, it all comes down to crafting a remarkable restaurant brand.

In the digital age of 2023, your restaurant’s online presence is crucial. Having a well-defined and easily accessible online brand can be the difference between a thriving night and a slow one. A memorable brand doesn’t just catch people’s eyes; it keeps them coming back for more, all thanks to your branding strategy.

Now, here’s a little nugget for you: 65% of a company’s business comes from its loyal regulars. But let me tell you, creating a beloved restaurant brand is no walk in the park. It’s more than just a fancy logo; it’s a labor of love that pays off handsomely.So, what exactly is a restaurant brand, you ask? Well, it’s not just about appearances and sounds; it’s the complete package. It’s the impression you want to leave, from the moment guests step through your door to when they’re Googling you late at night. It’s in the ambiance your diners soak up and the posts on your social media.

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of crafting your restaurant brand:

Step 1: Dream Big

Begin by painting a crystal-clear picture of what makes your place exceptional. What sets you apart? What’s the mission that drives your eatery?

Step 2: Know Your Playing Field

Figure out your place in the foodie landscape. Who’s your competition, and what’s your unique flavor? This isn’t a one-size-fits-all gig.

Step 3: Find Your Voice

Nail down a voice and tone that perfectly represents your brand’s personality. It’s like describing your brand as a person in three words – and then delving into each word’s vibe.

Step 4: Looking Good

Dress your brand to impress with exceptional design, logos, colors, and all the visual elements. Make sure your brand exudes personality, from your menu to your decor.

Step 5: Consistency is Key

Maintain your brand’s vibe across the board. Create a brand book to keep everyone on the same page.Why does this whole branding thing matter, you ask? Well, it’s all about building a loyal fan base. Brand loyalty is the name of the game, especially in the competitive restaurant world. When your regulars become your brand’s biggest advocates, word spreads like wildfire.Think about industry giants like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Despite the fierce competition, folks keep coming back for more. Why? Because these places have strong branding that tells a story, defines their mission, and solidifies their position.

So, how do you build a restaurant brand with that kind of strength? Let’s break it down into five straightforward steps:

Step 1: Craft an Exceptional Mission

Create a mission statement that serves up your eatery’s unique flavor, purpose, and why it’s a cut above the rest. Hire a professional branding studio to help.

Step 2: Find Your Sweet Spot

Determine where you fit in the foodie landscape. What’s your pricing, what’s your cuisine like, and how do you communicate your value effectively?

Step 3: Let Your Voice Shine

Describe your brand as if it were a person in three words, then dive deeper into each word to define your brand’s character.

Step 4: Hire professionals

If you want your brand to look professional, hire a professional! Done right, your brand can look like a multi-unit franchise with only one location. Strategic design includes the logo, the colors, words, and interior design package.

Step 5: Keep the Brand Book Handy

Keep everybody on the same path by following the brand book that outlines the brand’s voice, colors, style and vibe.Remember, your brand isn’t set in stone – it’s a dynamic entity that grows as your customer base does. So, let it evolve with your business. Building a restaurant brand isn’t just about appearances; it’s about crafting a memorable experience. So, start serving up a brand that stands out, and watch your restaurant flourish! 🍔🎨🔥

Restaurants of the future – let’s talk crazy!

Restaurants of the future

Two large restaurant brands asked us to design their restaurants of the future. No rules, no limits to creativity. Areas to address were restaurant design, technology and customer trends. The ideas might seem crazy – they might work, they might not but at least you’re looking forward. If you can get yourself acclimated to being uncomfortable with what you don’t know, you’re doing it right!

What’s Cash?

Obviously there won’t be cash in the future. Will there be human servers? Just imagine – order accuracy could be, well, accurate! Will the restaurant ever close? Will restaurants invest in a physical space or just exist in digital kitchens like oomi? That’s all happening already.

Unbranded food might as well be those jello bricks on the last train car in Snowpiercer.

Ultimately, food without unique, brand-based features or restaurant brands without experiential features will become commodities. A taco made by a robot, delivered by a drone and left on my porch is just a taco.  Now, if I ordered a #3 Spicy Chicken Tikka taco in the metaverse, paid for it with cryto currency and it’s delivered to my house in a heated drone every “Taco Tuesday” at 7pm… that’s a brand experience!

If you’re not planning your future now, you’re behind. Reach out, let’s talk about something crazy for your brand!