Oakblue Kitchen

Services: Branding, Naming, Visual Brand Identity, Core Messaging, Logo Design, Typeface Design, Illustration, Graphic Design, Environmental and Signage Design, Print Collateral Design, Web Design

A red matchbox with white tip matches and the logo design for Oakblue Kitchen sits in a tray, next to the restaurant branded business cards and a glass of bourbon.

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.

Oakblue Kitchen branding design, showing the logo in gray, designed by graphic artist Russell Shaw, for the restaurant.
Alternate logo lockup, with the Oakblue Kitchen branding design on layer above the custom chicken illustration, in the red color palette.
Wordmark of Oakblue Kitchen set in custom font and typeface for the restaurant, in logo stamped lockup with core message, "Greenville S. Carolina, we like to smoke our meats."
Full color Oakblue Kitchen logo design in red on tan background.

Core Message:

“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.”

Printed restaurant brand style guide for Oakblue Kitchen features logo use, colors, alternate brand marks and custom font designed and illustrated by freelance artist Russell Shaw.

Custom Brand Font: “Oakblue Case”

Sample type specimen for custom font created and designed for the Oakblue Kitchen restaurant. Sample typography reads, "Late Night, Rare Medium Rare Medium Well and Well Done, Down the Hatch."
Sample type specimen for custom font created and designed for the Oakblue Kitchen restaurant. Sample typography reads, "Good Burgers, Starters menu, Hot Chicken and Grade A."

Illustration Assets

"O.K Chicken, Pig, and Cow" and "Match in Hand" Custom, Hand-Drawn Illustrations

Custom hand drawn illustrations by illustrator Russell Shaw for Oakblue Kitchen. Shows a chicken, pig, and cow in "O.k." branded hats, and a lit match in a hand. Line art and cross hatching style.
Branded header and banner design, with custom Oakblue Kitchen logo design in creamy tan color over red background and hand drawn illustration of a hand holding a lit match.
Samples of Oakblue Kitchen restaurant branding collateral design, with a red t shirt, koozie for beer, business cards, hat, matches and notecards.

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.

Front of business card design for restaurant Oakblue, next to matches and custom designed matchbox strewn around.
Oakblue Kitchen logo on red matchbox and matchbook, with matches around edges, for restaurant branding collateral.

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.

A woman wears the t shirt design for restaurant Oakblue Kitchen with custom logo in white over hand drawn barbecue pig illustration on a heathered textured red shirt.
Woman pulls navy trucker hat over her face, revealing the embroidered patch for the restaurant branding and logo design on the front of the ball cap.
Woman modeling the Oakblue Kitchen restaurant hat and shirt design. On the top back of shoulder of shirt, the barbecue joint name is in the custom designed font and typeface made for the brand.
Red beer koozies with oakblue kitchen custom font and illustration.
Animated flame at end of lit match in hand drawn illustration sits underneath the restaurant name in red typed in the custom font designed for the brand.
oakblue kitchen restaurant hats design
A laptop sits on a desk next to Oakblue Kitchen beer koozies, revealing the responsive homepage web site design for the restaurant, designed by Russell Shaw.
Sample image showing the responsive web design for the Oakblue Kitchen restaurant homepage on a tablet and on a phone.

The restaurant's responsive website was a collaborative effort – designed by Russell Shaw and built by Geisler Young.

Full web site page design mockups for the Oakblue Kitchen website with the homepage, location of restaurant and the menu, as part of the brand design and visual identity package for the bbq joint by Russell Shaw.
Front and back of Oakblue Kitchen restaurant business cards, branded collateral with custom logo design and illustrations.
Stack of Oakblue Kitchen restaurant business cards, with red side seam.
oakblue kitchen stickers
oakblue kitchen stationery and matchbox
Stack of Oakblue Kitchen restaurant notecards, part of the brand collateral and stationery, with red side seam and hand drawn illustrations of cow, chicken and pig on the back of each card.
oakblue kitchen beer koozie
Oakblue Kitchen restaurant t shirt design and beer koozie

“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

Restaurant photograph of woman holding the Oakblue Kitchen menu design. 

Photo (above) by Angela Cox Photography.


Photos of Oakblue after opening (from their Instagram)



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).