Sweet Hospitality Group recently came to Alexander Isley Inc. in need of a new identity. The Broadway caterer and concessionaire, founded 27 years ago and long known as Sweet Concessions, was expanding awareness of the scope of their services, refocusing their mission, and changing their name. It was a perfect storm of needs, all requiring a new look to better position the established company in a newly competitive marketplace.
Sweet Hospitality Group’s VP of Marketing and Business Development Ina Clark explains: “We wanted an approach that was like us—fresh, fun, creative, dependable and professional. We gave Alex and his group the challenge of creating an identity that could represent the expansiveness of our business and our life in the theater community and stand out in a field where we are known for being different and desirable.”
The design team quickly discovered that most businesses in the world of hospitality, catering and concessions rely on a few tried and true ways to represent themselves. Most involve the use of white gloves and walking sticks, sugary-looking candies, cocktail glasses, pink frills and swirly hand-drawn lettering—often in combination.
According to Isley, “We found, however, that no one had fully explored the potato-print logo approach. That discovery really left us with no choice: We liked the idea of having a logo system where each version was handcrafted from an ingredient you might find in a canapé. We just had to do it.”
For the logo, the designers created a stylized S, the elements of which can be used in a multitude of combinations and patterns. “It’s different and surprising every time you see it,” says Isley. “Just like the company.”
The designers created the main identity program, along with logos for three sub-brands, using artwork made from potato prints. The serif typeface is a modified version of Bodoni Egyptian, and the sans serif lettering is named Sweet Sans. (Honest.)
The stationery system was printed on Mohawk Via, selected for its brightness, recycled component, and ability to hold bright colors. Next up is the design of the Sweet Hospitality website, slated to be launched in mid-2013.
Alexander Isley heads a firm that provides identity and communication design for ”education, entertainment and enterprise.” He serves on the advisory board of AIGA Connecticut and is past president of AIGA New York. He has been a critic and lecturer at the Yale School of Art since 1996 and is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale. His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Modern Art. Take a tour of Isley’s studio here.