Brass Union is a Somerville, Massachusetts-based American restaurant and gathering spot. It’s a fun and hip new restaurant that has a life and personality all of its own thanks to the building’s roots.
Brass Union sits in a building that once stood as a police station. And that same authority and trustworthy nature come hand in hand with the restaurant today thanks to the integration of this legal theme into their print designs and overall brand aesthetic.
The brand enlisted the help of design agency Oat to roll out a print design campaign to beef up its brand identity.
The resulting materials included coasters, menus, business cards and letter templates. And these are all tied together by a very visceral theme — the theme of power, authority and justice.
There is a protocol at this restaurant and it must be followed — but it’s not as strict and demanding as it may seem. In fact, it’s actually quite fun and engaging.
For starters, the name itself has legal ties — with the word “brass” having a colloquial meaning of a police force. And this thematic element lives at every step and around every corner of this popular foodie destination.
Coasters are created in the shape of a police badge, and the metallic nature of many of these materials gives off a proud and regal mood.
Similarly, the typography used is reminiscent of an old typewriter — the kind of font you still see used in mystery movies or crime dramas. This gives off a very tangible personality and persona that the brand embodies powerfully.
These are subtle elements that by themselves might not give off the feel of a prestigious precinct, but together blend beautifully to provide patrons with an experience they won’t forget.
These prints are tied together by a theme of justice and authority, and some of the elements that really drive this theme home are the specific and detailed design integrations that line the pages, coasters and more.
Metallic ink is used in a variety of instances throughout these designs — from the outlined restaurant name to the embossed crest and brand logo. And these gold accents make the materials look like pieces of art — like old-world materials you’d find locked in a case in a museum or in a castle.
There are also a number of different stamps, signs and symbols embossed and glossed onto these prints that further promotes that elegance, regalness and sophistication. This establishment is an elite restaurant with an authority and an authenticity. It’s one you can trust and one you should put your faith in.
But not only do these elements add to the overall theme and identity, they also add a very modern and sophisticated edge to the brand that helps it stand out from other competing restaurants in the city.
Looking at these designs you can tell there is a very classic and refined vibe that rolls off of them in waves. They are clean, crisp and inviting — and they have their color palette to thank for that.
Made up of a mix of creams, greys, black and blues, these designs are a serene and inviting medium to interact with when choosing what entree to eat for your main course.
The use of these soft and tranquil colors definitely has an effect on the patron, urging them to eat as much as they can because they know the food they’re getting is going to be made with a passion and an integrity.
Similarly, the dark and moody color palette also ties in with the theme of the restaurant, with the deep blues emulating the blue of a police uniform. That, plus the bars integrated into the menu also make you think of classic cops and robbers shows.
Color plays a clever role in this design, further perpetuating the brand’s identity while also playing on consumer emotions and behaviors to entice them to eat more and ultimately spend more money.
The theme of good vs. evil, hero vs. villain and cops vs. robbers is evident at every step of this design and this brand. But it gets a playful and creative twist when text and messaging are introduced, the brand trying to tie in its Somerville roots with a play on words.
With phrases like “Villainize and Villen Yous,” “Heroes are remembered but villens never die, “Every villen has a mother” and “Somervillens some aren’t,” the brand is playfully calling Somerville residents “villains” in a kind of blockbuster movie way.
This adds a playful quality and an interactive element to the brand that shows it understands its community and wants to interact with it -- becoming a place for all in the Somerville area to come and enjoy themselves.
According to the creative agency behind these creations:
Metallic ink, official seals and document stamps send the message that the top brass expect protocol to be followed, even after they knock off. Menu backs appropriate the material and aesthetic of etched plastic municipal signage. The naming and copywriting imbue the project with a firm sense of place, celebrating Somerville and its proud 'Villens'.
This restaurant wants to celebrate its community, its roots and its overall brand in an open, honest and engaging way. It isn’t just another corporate establishment on the block churning out mediocre food. It’s a brand and a restaurant that cares, that has a passion for their food and a love for their city.
Brass Union is a restaurant based in Somerville, Massachusetts. According to the restaurant, it's, “a subterranean hideaway house in the historic Union Sq. police station. Thoughtfully crafted food and drink alongside a collection of nostalgic games and nightly music.”
It’s a popular new restaurant in the area, serving up classics both modern and traditional. And locals have made it their new favorite spot, the Improper Bostonian dubbing it “the best neighborhood bar in Union Square.” The publication also named it the best place to hang out in 2018.
This American tavern gets a bit of a popularity boost thanks to its location — situated in an old police station. And that same vibe is emulated throughout the restaurant and in the designs that accompany the brand. But the food and games also help give this restaurant a modern edge that excites and draws new customers every day.
Owner Ken Kelly once housed a different restaurant called Precinct in the same location. But decided to give the place a makeover, changing the name in the process.
And along with the new look inside and out, he knew he needed to roll out a host of new print materials to really give his restaurant the persona he was aiming for.
And considering the restaurant’s quick success, it seems to have worked.
When it comes to restaurants, it can be a difficult task to establish a positive brand identity and foster an atmosphere of community and excitement. But one way to do it is with a comprehensive design campaign that ties the restaurant and all its moving parts together seamlessly.
And Brass Union does just that with the help of these designs.
Capitalizing on the location of the restaurant, Brass Union went with a very authoritative and regal theme that stemmed from its legal roots. The building that houses this restaurant used to be a police station — and everything from the name to the menus emulates that in some way, shape or form.
But when it comes to these materials specifically, the use of metallic ink to outline the brand name and other important information gives off a very regal vibe. Additionally, the use of officials seals adds a prestige and a governmental persona that you don’t want to mess with.
But on some level, you do. These elements reel you in and set the scene for the dining experience you are about to have.
These elements all work together to paint a picture — of you, the patron, in a legal, police station-like setting. There’s honor, authority and history swirling in the air. These elements and these prints as a whole really allow the consumer to walk away with a tangible experience to remember and hold on to.
And that’s important for restaurants — because you want people to come back. And with the help of these print materials, Brass Union will have no problem wrangling in customers old and new.
Print designs can be challenging — if you don’t even know where to begin, enlist the experts from these top-notch graphic design companies!