When starting a new identity project there can be the impulse to begin with a clean slate – getting rid of everything that existed beforehand in the pursuit of something fresh and new. But sometimes, interweaving the framework or visual aspects that already exist can create something just as current and exciting. This is the case for Kevin Högger’s identity for Belmondo, a Zurich-based eatery with old neon signage and an arch-filled interior that provided the designer with ample visual inspiration.
Kevin was enlisted on the project by a friend who had worked on the food concept and remodelling of the restaurant space. When asking Kevin if he was keen to be involved in its identity design, he showed him a font that he wanted to use for the eatery’s logo – but Kevin wasn’t convinced by it, and took a trip to the restaurant to gain some perspective and inspiration. The restaurant was keeping its original name, and when Kevin stumbled across its vintage neon signage – bold, bright orange, with hints of 70s nightlife – he saw its wider potential. He redrew the lettering, using a 2D version throughout most of the design elements, and a 3D version (that closely mirrors the sign) for others, like coasters, and the capitalised B that adorns the top of receipts.
For the illustrative elements and colour palette decisions, Kevin turned to the unique interior of the restaurant, its many arches, ceramic panels and rounded benches. Kevin’s attention to the interior aspect makes sense when you find out that at 15 he started an apprenticeship as a graphic designer, but then studied industrial design and worked as an interior designer for a number of years, before returning to design and running his own studio for the past eight years. “That’s when my understanding of materials and three-dimensionality developed,” he explains. His thick, curvy line-based tool illustrations give the impression of bricks or stones, and add an architectural touch to the characterful drawings, while the rich reds and beige tones nod to the earthy palette of bricks.
There were two main things Kevin kept in mind while completing the project. One was flexibility. When designing for a restaurant there are so many printed elements – coasters, posters, flyers, bags, uniforms, and in Belmondo’s case custom glasses and a house negroni bottle – and so the design elements need to translate to all of these purposes, shapes and materials. The simplicity of the graphic elements and careful choices about the binding elements that would run throughout the identity allowed Kevin to achieve this balance.
And secondly, Kevin prioritised functionality. “It’s important for me to put myself in the customer's shoes and ask myself: is this really practical?”. It’s all well and good to create appealing designs, Kevin identifies, but if the customer can’t easily read the menu, its purpose is defunct. For the menus Kevin integrated elements of the font but on the lighter side, to account for legibility, and kept other decorative elements solely to its cloth bound exterior. Kevin’s Belmondo identity is a clear example of what can be achieved by paying homage to the unique features of an establishment, ensuring the heart of the space runs through its design.
GalleryKevin Högger: Belmondo Identity (Copyright © Kevin Högger, 2024)
Kevin Högger: Belmondo Identity (Copyright © Kevin Höegger, 2024)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.