PDR takes home an American Marketing Awards Crystal Award in the “Branding – Corporate Identity” category for Eight Row Flint. The Visual Communications team brought the owners’ vision to fruition for the restaurant’s fall 2015 launch, and patrons have been flocking to the “revisionist ice-house” at the corner of Yale and East 11th Street ever since.
The inventive minds behind Eight Row Flint are restauranteurs Morgan Weber and Chef Ryan Pera of Revival Market and Coltivare fame. For this, their third venture in the Houston Heights neighborhood, they wanted to engage similar themes found in their other two restaurants, but with a distinctive stylistic twist. While Eight Row Flint carries the Weber/Pera torch of revering locally sourced, high quality, and heritage ingredients the establishment makes a point to do so with zero pretense or fuss: it’s a repurposed gas station where you can relax, enjoy some vintage country tunes, and fill up on great whiskey drinks and street-fair inspired tacos.
PDR joined the project when the gas station was freshly-gutted—a well-worn, but nonetheless, clean slate. They were charged with creating a visual identity to reinforce the brand Weber and Pera were beginning to shape. The collaboration with PDR manifested in a hand drawn logo mark, exterior signage, a vehicle wrap, menu design, website and additional consultation on aspects of the interior design like furniture, lighting, and color choice.
There were several opportunities the PDR team noted when developing the Eight Row Flint identity:
Embrace “Food Geek” Origins while Playing it Cool
The visual identity needed to evoke an easy-going sensibility while offering insight into the story of the restaurant’s namesake. The Eight Row Flint is an heirloom variety of corn that has been revived on a small scale due to its superior flavor to typical corn. It was farmed before Europeans even set foot on what would become the Americas, its fermented mash may have been used to create an alcoholic ancestor to our modern-day whiskeys, and it undoubtedly found its way into tortillas. Eight Row Flint fell out of favor with industrialized farming because of its low yield compared to other varieties of corn, but it is making its way back into smaller markets and restaurants because of the slow food movement and efforts from foodie entrepreneurs like Weber and Pera.
The story of the Eight Row Flint variety of corn is central to the establishment’s identity and what drives its two main menu offerings, whiskey and tacos — but not all patrons really want a history lesson with their cocktail. To maintain the relaxing, fun, uniquely “Houston” atmosphere, the logo needed to work on a simple “come-as-you-are” level, but also have a deeper read for those who wanted to learn more.
Balance Grit with Gloss
The designs needed to riff on the stylistic interior design choices that placed fresh modern fixtures against sixty years of gas station patina. The establishment’s identity needed to feel new and contemporary but also draw its strength from age-old traditions associated with farming, distilling spirits, and enjoying open-air marketplaces.
Create an Authentic Destination, a Place to Refuel, a Place to Belong
The PDR team designed the Eight Row Flint identity from a very holistic point of view. The visual identity is one component of the overall atmosphere of the establishment and it needed to be executed at a pitch-perfect level to achieve authenticity and avoid a “franchise feel”. The building, a former gas station, once serviced cars. In its new incarnation the building offers services to people — with the hope that they will be returning for regular “maintenance.”
In an area of Houston where restaurant patrons are spoiled for choice, PDR is proud to have taken home the award for creating a tailored yet easy-going identity for the new “revisionist ice-house”.