Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 26 October 2020
Shy Bird is a all-day café, rotisserie and bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its core mission is to elevate chicken, and the experience of eating chicken into the realms of the exceptional through gastronomic know-how, a beautiful interior and a visual identity designed by American studio Perky Bros. Drawing their inspiration from the red junglefowl, the “original chicken” and descendant of the domestic chicken, and its beautiful yet shy nature, the studio plays with contrasts, the loud and the quiet, the bold and the finely detailed. This runs as the continuous thread throughout the visual identity, linking takeaway surfaces such as coffee cups and sandwich wraps with the dine-in surfaces of menus and coasters. This is achieved through bold colour blocking and typography, a finer pattern, material texture and small playful illustrations.
Sometimes, a visual identity is just that. It does not say anything about the past or the future, or the culture we live in, it simply delights in the present through ideas and confluence of type and form, colour and materiality. Perky Bros’ work for Shy Bird is just that. It effectively weaves together an inviting and distinctive set of colours, high quality material details and finishes, elevated by both a noticeable continuity yet variety across different surfaces that marks this out. While the colour palette feels wonderfully distinctive, particularly the egg yellow on maroon/junglefoul red, it is the small touches, those of the shy bird, hiding under a lampshade or falling into a drink that really lend this project its charm, and a counterpoint to some good use of solid colour blocking and bold uppercase type. Other highlights include a hexagonal pattern that alludes to hutch wire and a mid-century quality in colour, type and illustrative. The result is a lovely interplay of the unassuming and proud, conviviality and sophistication. More work by Perky Bros on BP&O.