The Black Tie Company is one of Maine's largest caterers, with exclusive management of nearly 10 venues, including the Portland Club, the seaside SMCC campus and Pineland Farms.  The company has a rich history; over the past 23 years, owner Chris Weber has grown it from a solo catering venture to the fully-staffed, full-service event planning powerhouse it is now. But in that time, design and branding had taken second priority to building the business itself. Chris approached us late last year with a simple goal: create a strong, memorable identity for the company and apply it to collateral, signs, vehicles, uniforms, and all the other places that the company has historically been logo-less or inconsistent.

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We began work for Black Tie with a thorough brand audit to profile competitors and current and prospective customers.  We then explored appropriate design styles through a series of inspiration boards. Creative goals for the company identity included simplicity, casual elegance, and flexibility. The brand also needed to convey a sense of the company's age, and appeal to a variety of audiences from brides to corporate planners. The resulting logo uses the font Livory by Hannes von Döhren. The font's softened edges and slightly quirky design traits balance an otherwise formal face with a touch of casual modernity.

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We explored a range of taglines for Black Tie and settled on "Simply Remarkable" because it speaks to the company's policy of doing superb work in an understated way.  It also allows a third word to be appended to the tagline so that it becomes "Simply Remarkable Events" or "Simply Remarkable Service" to serve a variety of marketing efforts. We took advantage of Livory's beautiful italic and small caps variants to set the tagline, and developed a system wherein the tagline may be positioned either next to the logo, below the logo, or at the opposite corner of the page for design flexibility.

The new Black Tie identity works well in two-color, one-color or reverse.  Its design is flexible enough to fit the company's various marketing, advertising and collateral needs; it speaks to the company's history while seeming fresh and modern, and it looks as at home when seen at a company lobster-bake or family reunion as it does at an elegant ballroom wedding. We look forward to seeing this identity come to life in the coming months as we roll it out across stationery, signs, menus, vans, staff uniforms, and very soon, a new website.

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AuthorArielle Walrath
CategoriesProjects