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Designer's Block

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 11:11 PM

I have a crisis. It is not that I am looking for a piece of advice I wish I was, but I don't think there is a solution to my problem. Why Am I writing? Don't know, just trying to share the idea that life sucks :)

The situation is quite simple - I have to design a menu cover for a restaurant. Nice restaurant, nothing special, but quite nice, just like many restarants here in Toulouse. It doesn't have any theme. They have mainly French cuisine (which normal here in France) but also make some chinise and Indian dishes. This restaurant doesn't even have a logo. I have talked to the owner. He doesn't have any specific suggestions for the new menu (the old one just has a picture of the restaurant on it). Just want something elegant and modern. It has been 2 days and I don't have any single idea what I should do for that menu cover.

Really hard to work when the assignment is so general...

#2 Neupix


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Posted 04 March 2005 - 11:27 PM

there is always a solution to every design problem.

Simple Solution(s):
- Don't use a logo, just find an elegant looking typeface and use that instead.

- Sit down in the restaurant for an evening, bring a sketchbook and pencil, and just brainstorm. Take note of the surroundings - the colours on the walls, any art that might be present, the people eating in the restaurant. Find something that you can work with.

- Find out what everyones favourite item is on the current menu, pick colours from that and work with them.

- Bring a digital camera and take some pictures - include the pictures in the menu if space and printing costs permit.

Just a few suggestions from your friendly neighborhood penguinman ;) I love it when I get complete control over the design, as long as the client is willing to accept what I come up with.
Neupix Media | Nip Napp! < iPhone App Reviews and News | Citrik Acid

#3 jlinds72


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Posted 04 March 2005 - 11:29 PM

Sounds to me like you should host a contest here for it *wink-wink* Every restaurant needs a good logo!
Jenn Lindsey - Freelance Graphic Designer
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong" - Joseph Chilton Pearce

My website: jennlindsey.com

Please review the new rules for DesignContest.net here

#4 rtbenson


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Posted 04 March 2005 - 11:30 PM

Or a good menu layout!

#5 pentool


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Posted 05 March 2005 - 11:54 AM

Go to a library and look at various design books for general ideas. You just posted a link in another thread about the NY public library free digital image collection. Browse around in the collection of historic pictures. Maybe you'll find some decorative element you can use.


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Posted 05 March 2005 - 11:58 AM

Jenn, I would love to host a contest here, but my budget doesn't allow that :(

pentool, good idea, I will follow your advice!

#7 IntuitDesign


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Posted 05 March 2005 - 04:24 PM

Hello resurepus —
I can totally relate! A great way to design is to sit in front of the place and in it, until it says something unique and interesting, then build upon that. I know it sounds simple, but it's surprising what will come up. If I have an hour to design something, I'll research, watch, and think for 50 minutes, then spend 10 minutes designing. Hope this helps!

Don't look outside of yourself for the truth, for the truth is in you.

#8 barrywh



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Posted 06 March 2005 - 05:07 AM

PhotoShop has some outstanding filters that can turn that restaurant photo into a veritable work of art! Make it look like you spent a lot of time turning their building into a high quality oil or watercolor painting...

...Just a thought... It worked for me once with a floral shop brochure...

#9 BrianWakeland



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Posted 07 March 2005 - 11:37 AM

Well... maybe I'm saying something dumb, but... If the owner doesn't give you any useful briefing, maybe you shouldn't worry about making something so great. Maybe he just wants something simple and better looking than the one used before. Or are you thinking about using this work to include in your main portfolio?

It may seem stupid, but sometimes the answer is not to be so perfectionist.
Unless you really want to use this work to promote yourself and want it to be as good as possible, don't look for divine inspiration. Just do something :)

I got used to working with clients who don't have a clue and learned that sometimes, some people don't deserve our perfectionism. And this can apply to a lot of different occupations.

EDIT: also: don't create mazes on your mind thinking about meanings and connections of forms to the types of food and bla bla. When inspiration lacks, don't think like a designer. Think like a visual artist. Things have to look good. And that is the ultimate goal. Coherence of meanings and connections to reality are secondary.
Example... when making a logo to a real estate business, a very good looking, professional logo with an abstract form may be prefered to a really ugly logo with a house pictured on it. :D

Think of the Apple logo. It's beautiful and has a great vibe. It doesn't have nothing to do with computers. Who cares?


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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:32 PM

Thanks, guys for your help! The hardest thing is to get started. Thanks God I have come up with a couple of ideas - at least something to show to the client. I will show the work to you when/if he accepts it.

And, Brian, I think I just went the way you suggest - nothing special or creative came out, but at least it is something. I really hope that when the clent will see the first versions he will have comments and suggestions which will let me know what he really wants :)

#11 BrianWakeland



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Posted 07 March 2005 - 03:49 PM


#12 aceedesign


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Posted 11 March 2005 - 11:31 PM

You just gotta wrestle with a pencil & paper man... they dont always just come off the top of your head!

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