Design team AC Creative Studio have recently produced spectacular new bar menu books for Picasso Cafe, Oklahoma City. Encompassing Picasso Cafe’s motto that “great food is an art” these individually hand-painted and hand-bound creations exude vibrance. Found in the centre of Oklahoma City’s Arts district, Picasso Cafe dates back to the 1920s. Referring to their establishment as an “artist haven”, it is a place where atmosphere and aesthetics are inextricably linked.
This is a notion reflected in the bar menu books as imagined by AC Creative Studio, a design team also based in Oklahoma, City. Adam Headrick, Chris England and David Wu head up the studio, whose aim is to provide “memorable, well-informed creative solutions that create unique brand experiences”. An example of their previous work is the re-branding of Cafe 501, an upscale restaurant and bakery. Signature elements of this project include- simplified logotype imprinted in milk chocolate on cupcakes and branding elements applied to packaging.
We spoke to AC Creative’s partner and designer Adam Headrick, and asked him to share with us the inspiration behind their Picasso Cafe creation…
Picasso Cafe Bar Menu Book / Accreativestudio.com
Tell us a little about the ethos of your work?
Our philosophy is simple – we create smart design and implement smart solutions. We work carefully and diligently to identify our client’s goals and what they represent. We define that message clearly and simply.
What was the design brief for your Picasso Café bar menu books?
Our intent with the menu books was to create something that grabbed attention and provided an entertaining conversation piece for patrons. In addition to the unique structure and abstract artistic theme of the book’s shell, the interior drink menu is embellished with quotes about alcohol, as stated by artists, writers and musicians. A particular favorite selection is from Tom Waits: “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy”.
Are the bold colors you used a nod to the creation of a vibrant atmosphere?
We work very closely with each of our clients; absorbing details and nuances to guide our process. Our primary goal, in service and design, is to deliver a solution that is intuitive and naturally suited to the brand we are representing. Picasso is indeed a vibrant atmosphere. Seated in the heart of Oklahoma City’s historic Paseo Arts District, Picasso exudes an energy that is inspiring and colorfully diverse. The colors, materials, and method of construction were each directly inspired by the eatery.
How much do you think an establishment’s menu reflects the food they serve?
Dining is a full sensory experience. It’s very intimate. From the sights and sounds of the environment to the smells and tastes of the offerings – each element should support the other and exemplify the vision and integrity of the restaurant. Restaurants have a captive audience. The guest is a voluntary participant in the experience. With that in mind, each level of a concept’s communication should capture the opportunity to reinforce the brand’s details and attributes. From wine and cocktails to the main course, menus should be thoughtfully crafted and further enhance the unique experience of each guest.
Picasso Café is described as a place where “great food is an art”; did this concept influence the designs you produced for the bar menu books?
The artistic ambiance of Picasso Cafe and the bohemian past (and present) of the Paseo Arts District encourage a theme of creativity and artistic expression. In addition to the obvious name reference, Picasso Cafe plays host to regular musical performances and is a cozy hangout for local artists and musicians. The combination of food and art makes sense, and certainly is an influence on the manner in which AC Creative Studio approaches our work with this client.
Picasso Cafe Bar Menu Book / Accreativestudio.com
As you are based in Oklahoma City where Picasso Café can be found did you feel more passionate about this project?
AC Creative Studio is passionate about every project we take on. As a young, boutique agency located in a medium-sized, bible belt market, we rely on passion, skill and hard work in order to win the trust of an appreciative and broad-minded client base. This allows us to prioritize projects which are exciting and energetic enough to be recognized by entities such as GraphicDesign.com.
We are based in Oklahoma City, and have many great friends, partners and clients here. However (thanks to 21st century technology) we have, and continue to work extensively with partners and clients in New York, London and Dallas. The geographic diversity of our professional relationships forces us to maintain a high level of dedication and self-education in order to stay creatively competitive with leading agencies around the globe.
Though Oklahoma City is historically very traditional and somewhat conservative in regard to design, many factors have emerged in the past several years which have spawned a new creative energy. A city wide effort to move business and entertainment downtown (and to make downtown more accessible to visitors) has given way to a youthful influx of art spaces, restaurants and creative agencies in the city. Many young designers and creatives have chosen to make OKC their base of operations thanks to new opportunities and a new-found appreciation for progressive thought. Ten years ago, these individuals would likely have opted to select a larger metropolis or a more traditionally opportunistic city to make their living doing what they love. We enjoy seeing the city’s progression and are proud to be a part of it.
The strong, communicative relationship between AC Creative Studio and their clients is evident with Picasso Cafe detailing a mission to “create an atmosphere uniquely expressive of our convivial personalities and those associated traits we hold in such high regard”. This concept is certainly mirrored in the design result. The vivid and artistic bar menu books embrace the artistic expression of Picasso Cafe, promising guests a unique and vivacious dining experience .