How important is aesthetic when it comes to food and restaurants?
It is extremely important. The graphic identity is the first clue to the integrity of the restaurant – whether a sign on the door or the home page of the web site. If it is not appetizing, or doesn’t command trust, the restaurant will not succeed.
Great branding and design is often what draws us to products. What is the key to making a product visually appealing while also staying true to the brand?
Honesty. It is important for the designer to think of him or herself as the end user. Would I buy this? Would I feel deceived once I discovered that the design didn’t represent the product? This goes back to my book publishing days. I can always tell when a jacket designer hasn’t read the book. A reader has an intimate relationship with a book – picking it up, putting it down, living with the cover for weeks or months. When they finish reading and realize that the cover was inappropriate, it is a huge letdown; there has been no consideration to the reader whatsoever.
Your favorite restaurants for aesthetic…
I have been in Rome for a month and can only think of Roman restaurants – where the logo and aesthetics are of little importance!
Is there a particular product or restaurant design you’re most proud of?
That would be like choosing a favorite child. I love all of the restaurants that I have worked on. When one of them closes, however, I have to remove the logo from my website. No potential clients want to visit a graveyard of their peers. But they are all in my monograph, Elegantissima.
*Louise Fili, photographed in her NYC studio by Danielle Kosann