DesignStudio overhauls branding for restaurant app TheFork

Type is used to express the “ooohhh” sounds made when enjoying food, while illustrations and photography emphasise the life experiences dining can offer.

DesignStudio has partnered with TheFork to give the restaurant booking app a new strategy, visual and verbal identity with a focus on the real-life experiences around dining.

Established in 2007 and previously known as Bookatable, TheFork has undergone a period of rapid growth in recent years, now with 55,000 partner restaurants across 12 countries and receiving as many as 20 million monthly visitors.

“TheFork has always believed that the best things in life happen around the table”, says Nina Fitzpatrick, senior strategist at DesignStudio. “We captured this passionate point of view in a strategic brand platform that brings people together in an increasingly digitised world, champions restaurant culture and not only feeds people, but the human spirit”.

At the centre of the identity is TheFork’s updated brand symbol, which retains the basic elements of the previous logo – a green circle and a fork in its negative space –  as the client had equity in these elements, explains DesignStudio executive creative director Vinay Mistry.

When the studio pushed the logo in different directions at first, the client “pushed back towards it”, he says. “So we really embraced the strength they did have and built on it”.

The redrawn logo with its three-pronged fork has new curves designed to “[capture] the raw energy of the human spirit”, which have in turn inspired elements throughout the identity from type to graphic patterns.

Three graphic shapes have been built using TheFork symbol’s “curves, angles and straights”, used both individually and in combination to “represent the uniting of individuals” and the “sharing of experiences”, the team adds.

These also work in combination with illustrations by Tubik Studio, which range from clinking wine-glasses to a chef preparing a meal.

For these, Mistry says, “we had a bit of an idea of what we wanted to create”, but Tubik “jumped in and helped build a toolkit of parts – so in each illustration there is lots of exciting stuff, from the people to the technology to the food”. Breaking these down to their individual parts they can be used again for many “different types of stories”, Mistry adds.

Reflecting the logo’s curves again is the sans serif typeface, Valizas, by Luzi Type, which is used across the branding in different weights. The way the typeface is applied – in combination with an expressive tone of voice – looked to capture “the weird sounds you may use you eat”, says Mistry.

“Those really beautiful moments where you’re chomping or you’re like ‘mmmmm’ or ‘ooohhh’; we wanted to visualise that sound”.

To express both emotion and factors such as these noises start loud and fizzle away, he adds, the team used all the available types and weights of the font – from Black to semi bold, to regular and book”.

A green-led palette is also a continuation from the previous branding, but DesignStudio sought to evolve it from the slightly “muddy” and dated colouring to something that would appeal in digital today, Mistry says.

The new colours have all been inspired by foods. The  primary greens include a bright Pea, a medium Kale and a darker Mint shade, to be used with neutrals of Squid (ink) and Parsnip as well as supporting fruit- and vegetable-inspired colours from Rhubarb to Pumpkin.

Motion design was designed to reflect real-life experiences, including “the magnetism of people coming together, the uplifting feeling of a great meal, and the radiating energy of sharing great experiences”, the studio explains, while photography also focuses on real-life, capturing “global food experiences, with real food and real people connecting”.

Within all of this, there was the additional challenge considering the global nature of the brand, Mistry adds.

“What might be perceived as premium in Paris will not be perceived as premium in Milan”, he says. “So there was a lot of flexibility and cultural nuance baked into this”.

The brand is now live with full rollout expected by the end of 2023.

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