Derby Public House

Doing business with friends is like walking a very fine line. It can either turn out great or really bad and can even ruin the friendship but fortunately this particular project only worked out for the best. My old friend Dan Wierck from Scottsdale, Arizona reached out to me about opening up a new lounge/restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale. This would mark their 3rd venue opening in just Scottsdale alone. Dan and I go back to the days when I was still working at NISSAN and we forged a friendship that has lasted for years so when Dan reached out about this new project, I was super stoked. Not because this was a new project, but because we finally had a reason to work together on a professional level and the challenge in creating a brand identity for the food and beverage service industry was super attractive.

Our Art Director Vickipages and I got flown out to Scottsdale where a black Benz G-Wagon was waiting to pick us up from the Phoenix airport. Dan and his team was nice enough to put us up in a local hotel, show us around so we can get a grasp of the vibe and market. Soon after we landed, we were taken to a very raw and bare venue where the possibilities of the space was endless. We gave input into the interior design and decor of what we thought would be dope and we found ourselves all on the same page. The creative concept for Derby was vintage styles with elements of modern aesthetics with an emotional connection through sarcasm and humor. I brought a book for reference for the creative direction as I knew exactly what the aesthetics were going to be. After perusing the town and understanding our market, Vicki and I got to work while we were out there and knocked out the logo/branding before we even touched back into New York. After 2 concepts and a few revisions, we had our branding. Originally, we developed a freehand script logo which everyone loved but it felt too obvious. After counting votes with Dan’s team, it was decided to go with the block logo – which we weren’t mad at. It probably wasn’t even 3 months into the project after most of the creative was established that we had to re-brand this whole project due to local politics. The original name was DERBY SPORTING CLUB, which everyone on the project loved. But after a tug-of-war with land owners and having to deal with bureaucracy of Saddle Bag Trail, we ultimately lost the battle of keeping our name and was under the pressure of coming up with a new one. We decided to keep “Derby” in the name but Derby what? After a few days of contemplating and going back and forth, it was decided that the new brand would be called DERBY PUBLIC HOUSE. After the decision was made, we had to modify the branding accordingly and revise all of the work we had already had done. it’s situation like these where most people would fail, quit or just run away from the project but the only thing that was an option to us was to keep pushing forward.

After the branding was finalized, we started tackling the menu. Over 35 original icons were illustrated and designed for the Derby menu as well as using these assets for promotional use. The creative direction behind the menu was the same as our concept behind the brand – and Vicki killed it. There was over 12 revisions that had to be done to the menu and along the way, a new chef was put into place, completely changing the menu in its entirety. Most agencies would have charged ridiculous revision fees or possibly have even dropped the project but because of the friendship I had built with Dan, I knew none of these were an option to us. We had to keep it moving.When we were nearing completion of the food menu, a full drink menu was dropped onto our laps and after a couple weeks, the drink menu was finalized.

Along with the menu, we started going in on the exterior signage. We were given complete creative freedom on this and I still wish to this day that the City of Scottsdale approved our original signage as it would’ve been the best sign on the block. Unfortunately we realized that going against regulation wouldn’t be the smart choice and counter-productive to our time. We went through a second concept that was just dull and stale and just didn’t resonate with us. After battling the city and land owners, we decided to simplify the idea down to its rawest form. It was really disappointing for us to not get our original concept produced but we had to let go of the emotional attachment we had in the best interest of the project.

And of course, this couldn’t have been an SGS project without some sort of digital element. We proceeded to start the design of the website and after the design was approved, we turned to our homies at Red Kind Media to handle the programming as we were backed up with web projects at that point. It was decided to go with a full bleed website in order to keep the brand visual and to showcase the amazing venue as well as its custom dishes from the menu. All the creative assets that were developed were utilized for the art direction of the website. After a month of coding, DNS changes and menu modifications, the website was ready to go. Along with the website, SGS was responsible for the creation of Derby’s Social Networks.

Another project come and gone but the memories and experiences on this project is something that I could never forget. Although the food and beverage service industry may not be our forte, the challenge in creating a brand identity for a non-endemic industry and the inspiration in working with friends was a priceless experience. Not to mention my new love for the desert. If you ever travel to Scottsdale, Arizona; make sure to stop by the Derby Public House and check out the amazing decor, scrumptious dishes and extensive drink list!

Client: Derby Public House
Partner: Red Kind Media
Services Rendered: Web Development, Creative Direction, Branding, Design (Brand Identity, Food Menu, Drink Menu, Web, Exterior Signage)
Project Manager: AK
Developer: Marcel Severino (RKM)
Lead Developer: Ephraim Cruz (RKM)
Art Director: Victor Roman
Creative Director: AK

Posted by @jeegunkim

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