Bare Witness by Re| Sydney

We spoke to Daniel Ioannou, Design Director at Re’s Sydney office, about the iconic illustration-led identity they created for Sydney cafe, Bare Witness.

INTERVIEW BY CRISTIE STEVENS

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the project?

I got my start in the industry as a graphic designer, but my experience over the past decade has pushed me to develop skills beyond that remit. Art direction, strategic thinking, digital, experiential and environmental design are just some of the skills I bring to my role as Design Director at Re| Sydney.

I was the design director that lead this project with Colin Cornwell – our creative director at the time – we worked pretty closely together.

Can you tell us about the initial project conversations with the client?

When the Cho family approached us for this project the brief was relatively simple – make it stand out from all the other cafes out there. They also wanted to ensure the brand’s identity and personality reflected their ethos: A café that respects the origins of every ingredient, tinkering just enough to showcase their natural beauty.

Can you talk about the thinking behind the brand? What were the dots you joined to arrive at the final execution?

We developed a name that talks to the café’s ethos of ‘baring all’. We then brought this to life in collaboration with illustrator Christopher DeLorenzo. Christopher draws beautiful, curvaceous figures by hand, so his work has natural texture and little quirks that make it appealingly imperfect.  

 

Christopher draws beautiful, curvaceous figures by hand, so his work has natural texture and little quirks that make it appealingly imperfect.



We wanted to ensure the colour palette was memorable and tied with the physical experience of the venue. We worked closely with the interior design team from MASH to create a palette that lived right through the brand from the pink floors and navy blue terrazzo to the coffee cups. Excitingly, its seems to have worked, customers are flooding Instagram with Bare Witness’ candy pink and navy blue.

Did you face any challenges during the project?

The real challenge lay in what the brand had to do. We had to find ways to make sure the brand could live and breathe in a whole array of channels. In an era where the ability to share your meal on social is just as important as the taste, we had to craft the brand to flex. This is where our partnerships with Christopher and MASH became so so important.

What was your favourite part of the process?

It would have to be bringing the illustrations to life in motion! Sumita Maharaj, our in house motion queen, brought a beautiful dimension to the project. It really allowed the brand to extend into a digital space with tonnes of personality.

In an era where the ability to share your meal on social is just as important as the taste, we had to craft the brand to flex.

In what ways did you help to push the client’s boundaries?

To steal a quote (who’s author has left me) “We often as creatives, forget our ability to inspire” and to get the client into a new space it was a simple as that we inspired them.

In what ways did the initial concepts differ from the final execution?

It wasn’t too far to be honest. Though it definitely evolved and became more crafted as Christopher’s illustrations came along and type was set properly but it’s almost exactly like our creative concept.

One final question, whose work is inspiring you right now?

Collins – I’m loving their latest work. That Ogilvy wordmark!

Behind the Brief is an interview series celebrating the creative process where we speak to the team behind the project, pulling back the curtain on their design thinking, strategy and process to learn how they arrived at the final design.