Services: Branding, Naming, Visual Brand Identity, Core Messaging, Logo Design, Typeface Design, Illustration, Graphic Design, Environmental and Signage Design, Print Collateral Design, Web Design
After selling his popular casual taco restaurants, John Ko set out to develop a new restaurant concept that offers a mix of traditional Southern and Korean barbecue, as well as craft cocktails, in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. He approached me to create the brand and design an identity for this new venture – from name, to message and tone, to logo, collateral, and signage.
Client: Oakblue Kitchen
Owner: John Ko
Art Director, Designer, Illustrator and Typographer: Russell Shaw
Interior Designer: Sarah Trammell
Website Developer: Geisler Young (Special Thanks to Nolen Young)
Website Photography: Angela Cox
Chef: Kris McGowan
Production Partners: Moo (business cards), Sign Crafters USA (exterior signage and vinyl window signage, Special Thanks to Len Hall), Adam Schrimmer (Mural Artist), Lou Ellen Davis (Glass Artist).
Core Message Concept:
“Rooted in the South, Oakblue Kitchen serves up a diverse menu of high-quality smoked meats and comfort food that take cues from classic Southern fare and hospitality while also inspired by a family heritage of Korean cooking. The result is an inventive twist on familiar mainstays – a place that tastes like home, and something new, at the same time.”
Custom Brand Font: “Oakblue Case”
"O.K Chicken, Pig, and Cow" and "Match in Hand" Custom, Hand-Drawn Illustrations
The identity system features an original logotype that feels classically Southern with inspiration from stencil-like branding irons, as well as a custom-made font, Oakblue Case, created specifically for the restaurant (in which “Kitchen” is set for the logo, and is also used throughout the branding). Hand-drawn illustrations personalize the branding and create vintage-inspired artwork for the space, and a warm color palette ties together all of the pieces. The finished result is not a stereotype of tired Southern visuals, but something that feels rustic and modern all at once.
The custom typography, variations on the brand lockup, and illustration assets gave the brand opportunities to mix and match artwork to create unique applications while still feeling consistent.
The restaurant's responsive website was a collaborative effort – designed by Russell Shaw and built by Geisler Young.
“It was great working with Russell. He was responsive, timely, and professional. He gave us a set of good concepts to choose from. The survey and creative process let me give feedback on what I wanted, and he did a good job of taking all of that in and then creating our logo and brand.”
— John Ko,
Owner, Oakblue Kitchen
Photo (above) by Angela Cox Photography.
Photos of Oakblue after opening (from their Instagram)
Awards and Recognition
Merit Winner, Logo/Letterhead 9 (Graphis)
Featured: AIGA Member Gallery