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As seen on Art of the Menu, J.B Chaykowsky has designed spectacular new branding for Taco Joint. J.B.Chaykowsky describes himself as a “multi-disciplinary designer”, whose expertise lies in branding, both in terms of environment and experience. The man behind numerous exciting projects, all of which are referred to in his blog, is also responsible for the re-branding of Taco Joint. This is a mission of which Art of the Menu proclaim “with a fun, handmade aesthetic and exclamation points all over the place, Taco Joint’s bill of fare makes me excited about tacos again”.

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Chaykowsky has also worked on TGI’s environmental re-brand, partnering an architect to develop exterior and interior design that could be integrated with existing TGI Friday’s locations, thus paving the way for the new era of the restaurant chain. In addition to this, the designer has undertaken environment branding, concession branding and interpretational work for the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick facility. Further projects have taken place at the University of North Texas Mean Green Football Stadium, Dodger Stadium Field and Cotton Bowl Suite at Cowboys Stadium.

Amongst his personal work are Conley Wedding Invitations; invitations that he designed for friends who appropriately inspired the artwork and graphics depicted on them. From personal inscriptions to a highly original wedding menu card Chaykowsky’s unique and signature style shines through.

We decided to find out more about J.B.Chaykowsky, by asking him about the Taco Joint brand audit and website…

Q1. Tell us about your recent collaboration with Taco Joint, how did this come about?

I discovered Taco Joint through a friend. I really loved the food and worked hard to create a relationship with the owners Jeff and Corey. They actually worked the register most of the time when I first met them. So in reality, as weird as this might be, I actually sought them out because I really believed in the concept, the food, and after a few conversations – them. I have a full time job working for an architectural firm, so any freelance work I take on outside of that must be very important to me. I have to believe in it and the work because I am basically removing my personal time from my life when I work freelance.

Q2. How long did it take for you and your colleague Chris Jones to develop the design format?

Chris and I worked a lot of the details out based on the original location of the store. From the beginning Jeff and Corey really laid a fantastic groundwork. They had a lot of the elements in place (friendly staff, hand painted signs, quirky attitude) so our work on that part was pretty easy. We did some experience path audits, color analysis, and more. We presented them with a final Brand Audit that outlined all of the attributes (both tangible and intangible) that we felt really made them unique in the marketplace. That set the groundwork for the visual look and feel for anything we would execute.

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The good thing about anything Chris or I create for Taco Joint is that the rules are pretty malleable – we can introduce new graphic elements and as many typefaces as we want, as long as they “feel” right. This is especially important for a brand that is growing – the ownership sometimes executes ideas on their own and has an amazing painter who hand paints a lot of the graphics by hand in-store without our involvement. I believe this human and varied element is important to their brand because a lot of Taco Joint is about the quirky, the unexpected, and, for the lack of a better term, the “realness” of the place.

The second location solidified a lot of the look for the future in my eyes.

Q3. In what ways did you want your work to reflect the brand’s ethos?

Everything we create for Taco Joint has to be fun. If I am not having fun while I am doing it. I start over. Period. I also think about the movies and pop-culture that the ownership like. They really like Chuck Norris, Karate Kid, and a lot of late 70s and 80′s. Jeff and Corey each of a personality and we need to balance that within what Taco Joint is becoming.

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Q4. Where did the idea for the Xeroxed neon menus originate from?

The Xerox’d menus were actually how they first created the menus. They did it out of necessity and price. While some designers might of frowned at continuing to use the neon paper and having copies made at Kinkos super cheap … I felt it was part of their personality. Since day one they had these crazy neon menus… that look became part of their DNA… to change it I felt would be impossible. The look and feel is perfect for Taco Joint. Plus this solution allows the restaurant to make new menus, menu changes and more on the fly without spending money on new print runs.

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Q5. You used the WordPress CMS framework for the Taco Joint website enabling staff to update it; how important was their insight throughout the stylistic process?

For the website, we just needed to make sure the site was stylistically matching the stores and had a lot of texture. The ownership was involved but they let us have at it. They were open to a lot.

We were initially going to include their famous marquee sign as part of the design (and in the future might) but we had to make it as easy as possible to get that message out there. I set up their iPhones and created a plug-in so they could upload images of the marquee to the site via a Twitter client. This is a lot easier then having them log-in everyday and writing on the site. They can take the photo and tweet it in one swipe – the photo is then uploaded to the site and drives traffic from Twitter to the website.

Right now we use a lot of imagery on the site and I am exploring alternative typography and CSS to make it more search friendly. That should be completed in the next couple months.

The re-brand of Taco Joint highlights the importance of representing a link between the brand’s origins and its ongoing stylist requirements. With Chaykowsky at the helm this was a notion developed from a simple love of the brand. Using the input of the owners and staff of Taco Joint the identity of the brand has been firmly imprinted within its environment and the experience of customers and staff alike – a concept firmly outlined in J.B Chaykowsky’s own design biog.

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Read more about Taco Joint HERE.