It’s one thing to rebrand an existing company and freshen up its image. It’s an entirely different thing to purchase a landmark and try to find a way to honour its history while also sending the message that things are going to change – hopefully for the better. This was one of the many challenges Jim Caiola and David Salama undertook when they won the right to operate the famous Tavern on the Green in Central Park.
New York Times Magazine recently followed Caiola and Salama around as they chose silverware, wine glasses, and soup bowls for their new restaurant, detailing just how much pressure these two were under to get it right. One of the things they needed to get right? The new logo.
The Tavern on the Green’s previous logo was outdated, but again, when you’re rebranding something familiar, you need to tread lightly. The entire feature is fascinating, but as designers, we were most interested in their process as they chose a logo design. Caiola and Salama let New York Times Magazine into their conversations about the logo, providing little snippets of what they liked and what they didn’t like as they worked with designers on the new logo.
We thought that our readers might enjoy seeing some of these early design ideas and why they weren’t chosen. As designers, we work through many different variations of a logo before they are even presented to a client and critically assess each colour choice, line style, and overall imagery. These little peeks into the journey of the Tavern on the Green logo show how carefully they are considering every single step of their rebranding.
David Salama: “Tavern on the Green was originally built as a sheepfold. The sheep were actually held there at night and let out on Sheep Meadow during the day to graze and mow the lawn. Since we were going for this farm to table concept, the sheep really were a good vision for that sort of food.”
Jim Caiola: “The idea was to contemporize the Tavern on the Green brand. But we always knew we were ode-ing to the sheep.”
Jim Caiola: “I loved that Tavern on the Green was within the logo and the use of the sheep was much more playful.”
David Salama: “This is when we started realizing that we wanted the sheep to be alive. We wanted movement in the logo, as opposed to a stagnant image.”
David Salama: “When [our designer] started bringing in the stars and the green, we started feeling the texture, the movement and the flow of the thing.”
Jim Caiola: “The stars were playful, and we liked it. We were getting pretty close.”
Jim Caiola: “The final design feels timeless, but also contemporary to me. It feels fun, but not too self-conscious. It’s beautiful and modern and clean.”
A lot goes into perfecting a logo, especially one involved in a rebranding. If you’re considering rebranding, get in touch with us. We would be happy to take a look at your current branding and talk about whether or not it’s time to refresh.