Commercial projects represent about half of Shelter’s design work and they are typically driven by very different ideas than our residential projects. More often than not, we’re hired by entrepreneurs that want their environment to bring their brand to life. Learning a company’s brand takes a keen eye and attentive ear. Before the design process begins, we sit down with the business owners to figure out what they are all about. We look to the products and services their company offers along with their promotional materials, advertisements, website, and social media interactions. Often business owners have something in mind, which is another great resource to inform the design.
Our challenge is to use our expertise to develop a design that fits the vision and brand the business owner wants to convey and hopefully express it in exciting ways they never even imagined. One of our clients, Amol, founded Hot Indian Foods and started out with a Food Truck a few years back. When he was ready to set up shop at Midtown Global Market, we worked with him to adapt his brand to a food stall. Amol already had a good thing going — an awesome logo of a lady’s face (her name is Sona), a striking orange and teal color scheme, and a signature deal that if you do a Bollywood dance move at the register you get a dollar off your purchase! The Hot Indian brand personality is sexy, inviting, and cheeky. We riffed on these three tenets of the brand with our design for the food stall. The overhead graphic features variations of the logo — Sona models a series of facial expressions (sexy). The counter has both Hindi and English signage on an orange and teal color field (inviting). We created a digital mosaic of the iconic Hot Indian Food Truck out of Bollywood posters (cheeky). The mosaic was then printed on vinyl and wrapped onto the public side of the kitchen wall. The kitchen window aligns with the driver’s window of the food truck allowing curious customers to peek into the culinary magic that is Hot Indian Foods.
Commercial projects are exciting because they are about interacting with a larger audience and a very different set of priorities than our house projects. We love working with business owners who have a concept or an experience they want featured in the building, but then let us delve into the creative process to find the best design match to provide that experience. Finding and exploring the idiosyncrasies that will make the business experience stronger for guests and visitors makes our job much more fun. For our clients who come to us with fully formed design ideas, we explore those thoughts and assumptions, learning from the client why that design idea is so important. We want to make sure the final product is the right, most exciting and creative design — not just the execution of their unconsidered assumptions. Successful creative partnerships form when both sides educate each other. When both sides bring ideas to the table, the project might emerge in a way that wasn’t anticipated prior to the initial meeting.
Bringing your brand to life — from your friends at Shelter.