Deliverable Branding
Sector Food & Drink
Year May 2017
Mast

The Populist

Seasonally inspired dishes, inventive cocktails, and a welcoming environment make The Populist a Denver staple.

Out of the ordinary

One of the original restaurants in the RiNo neighborhood of Denver, The Populist is quaint and always welcoming. Chef Jonathan Power leads this Denver staple. Its ever-changing dishes, based on seasonal flavors, ensure that every visit is memorable.

Over the years, the Populist has become a fixture in the Denver food scene. They recently realized they needed to update their brand. They approached Studio Mast to help refresh their brand, to create something more in-line with the direction the restaurant was going. They felt that it was time to refine the overall look and feel. Functionally, they were running into problems with the usability of their wordmark as well as their menus. A long-term solution was needed for both.

We started with an update to the wordmark, making sure not to spoil the brand equity that was already built, but rather grow upon it to create something highly functional. The updated wordmark set the tone for the rebrand: reduce and refine. Previously the brand was more illustrative and playful, which no-longer aligned with the direction of the restaurant. We stripped down the brand to its foundation and built it back up, ensuring not to eliminate all sense of fun along the way.

Photos by Brandon Lopez.

We developed a new, unique, and interactive menu system. Created in thirds. Allowing for one third to fold over, showcasing the brand and putting the focus on the tasting menu: the heart and soul of the restaurant.

With a vibrant patio and such unpredictable Denver weather, we landed on a waterproof menu cover, attached with a rubber band. Allowing for quick changes to the menus, without any hassle.

The Populist’s wordmark was always unique in it’s approach and structure: a marriage of script and stencil letters. We wanted to enhance this approach without making drastic changes, due to it’s strong equity. The structure was finessed and fine tuned, the result was a cohesive piece that could exist both digitally and in print.

On top of the changes made to the mark, we were able to separate the capital ‘P’ character as a standalone mark. Allowing it to exist in multiple scenarios where the wordmark cannot.

The Populist firmly believes that dining is a communal act. Owners Jonathan Power, Noah Price, and Cliff White strive to emphasize this philosophy at every turn. From the numerous community tables to the nature and construction of the dishes on the menu: sharing your environment and your food is emphatically supported.

An approachable but nuanced wine list brings excellent bottles from lesser known winemakers to the table. Ensuring that no matter what is ordered, entree or even dessert, there is always a perfect pairing.

Chef Power, an avid cyclist, wanted to bring some of the personality and charisma of cycling to the refresh. We chose to use a gold foil for most instances of the wordmark, as a nod to the polished head badges of vintage bicycles. Along with the gold, we picked a bright pink and blue for the dessert and happy hour menus, taking colors from colorful modern cycling kits.

Overall this resonated with the ethos of the restaurant, keeping things new and fresh, but not forgetting where you’ve come from.

The cocktail list – features both classic and contemporary variations – drives home the point that this intimate eatery seeks to provide a unique and memorable experience in the  Denver dining scene.

Deliverable Branding
Sector Food & Drink
Year May 2017