La Pecora Bianca by Pentagram, United States
Opinion by Richard Baird.
La Pecora Bianca is a New York restaurant, located in the St. James building at Broadway and West 26th Street, with a menu inspired by the seasonal farm-to-table cooking of rural Italy. The restaurant is said to evolve, moving from breakfast, coffee and wine bar throughout the day to restaurant in the evening.
La Pecora Bianca worked with Pentagram partner Emily Oberman and her team to develop a visual identity that would capture and convey a healthy wholesome menu, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and would compliment an interior by Nema Workshop. This extended across menus, coasters, signage, tableware and postcards.
There are two distinct components to this brand identity (outside of interior design), type and motif, and although there is an initial disparity in the aesthetic of each, there is an underlying human quality that links these.
Rooted in the restaurant’s name, which translates as white sheep, the motif was drawn in response to direction by La Pecora Bianca owner Mark Barak to create something cute. Emily Oberman and her team explored a variety of illustrations, see above.
The final version has plenty of visual texture, a good sense of proportion between head and body, and a balance between line and space that allows it to stand up well in print and online, large and small. The approach to eyes and nose lends it a cuteness without going overboard.
The hand illustrated qualities of the motif introduce an unmistakably friendly, informal and personable quality to identity, alongside hand lettering, where type feels more formal, referential but informed.
Although the exterior is an imposing late 19th century build, Nema Workshop’s interior design is light and airy with white wooden paneling, painted wooden furnishings and light wood flooring. It is within this context, and in association with a menu of dishes made from organic and locally sourced ingredients that the motif should be measured and begins to feel well-pitched.
Futura’s precise geometric forms make way for Futura Passata’s softer and rougher woodcut lines, a choice that references European cafe and restaurant signage, and gains further distinction and character in the usual combination of two widths. This choice tempers the outright playful qualities of the motif yet shares a similar favour for loose lines and a human quality.
Tradition and craft intersect more explicitly in the hand painted implementation of lettering across windows, and the very physical qualities of three-dimensional signage, a real highlight of the project.
The La Pecora Bianca visual identity feels more successful when assets are used individually rather than locked-up. Check out the image above, the entrance photography below, and the tiles of the interior, which features a wool pattern taken from the motif.
The playful nature of identity, which began with the motif, is further explored and expressed elsewhere as the clock faces set within the O of type, which function to indicate the times for breakfast, coffee, wine and dinner, and the promotional postcard that reimagines Manhattan as the boot of Italy. More from Pentagram on BP&O.
What do you think of Pentagram’s brand identity for La Pecora Bianca? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or get the conversation started on Twitter.
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