A logo, alive

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A complete tacover… 

It was the beginning of July, 2017. I was sitting in the backyard of one of my favorite neighborhood spots in Brooklyn after a long day at work, chatting with Jason Kyle, an Art Director I’d met a few months prior. William Thompson, lead singer of Elliot and the Ghost, was sitting a few feet away from us, inebriated with the joy of getting an investor to sign on to his Austin-style breakfast taco dream. I was still in work-mode and excited by the prospect of working on a food branding project, something I hadn’t had the chance to do in a while.
I dove straight into the conversation with all my questions about the business model and ended with a straightforward “I want to do your branding”. Jason jumped in with a “me too”.

Just like that, we’d started it. A followup exchange with everyone on social media the next day led to a more formal meeting with Will not too long after and, eventually, to a pitch presentation with William and investor Rob Harding the following week.

 
From sketch to final icon.   I drew the initial sketch within the first five minutes of our first design meeting. It was Saturday morning and I’d waited a while before we got started. I was hungry.  It came quickly. I was thinking food, rock n’ roll, and Will’s love for the Rolling Stones. We initially explored letting the taco mouth speak for itself and tried not including the full name in the icon. It was a very design-dream-world idea and the more practical full name won that one post pitch. Jason and I parted ways post pitch presentation. I refined the icon based on Will and Rob’s feedback and…the logo was born. The whole process took less than < 5 days.  You can take a look at other directions we pitched at the end of this post.

From sketch to final icon.
I drew the initial sketch within the first five minutes of our first design meeting. It was Saturday morning and I’d waited a while before we got started. I was hungry.
It came quickly. I was thinking food, rock n’ roll, and Will’s love for the Rolling Stones. We initially explored letting the taco mouth speak for itself and tried not including the full name in the icon. It was a very design-dream-world idea and the more practical full name won that one post pitch. Jason and I parted ways post pitch presentation. I refined the icon based on Will and Rob’s feedback and…the logo was born. The whole process took less than < 5 days.

You can take a look at other directions we pitched at the end of this post.

 

Howlin’ Taco, as named by William Thompson, was set to be a breakfast taco delivery service, dropping off authentic-Austin style breakfast tacos to food lovers all over North Brooklyn in an old black Cadillac Coupe de Ville with the license plate ROCKIN’. The idea was edgy and cool and to me, a dream project. From the start, I saw Howlin’ Taco as an opportunity to get loud and creative graphically and I pursued the project because of that. I was working full-time creating very structured interpretive graphic systems for museums then. The contrast tasted…well…like a very much needed, mouth-watering taco.

 
 

The business model evolved, as all do. By launch time, the car delivery idea was axed for a regular weekend brunch pop-up at the same spot we teamed up in. The launch was a great success. Fans and regulars were established, food competitions were won, and Howlin’ Taco was served 7-day a week by the end of the first year. I designed all print graphic materials throughout the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on Howlin’. I got to create work I loved, in a process I loved, on a brand I believed in, and I did it independently.