Behind the Design: Learn About the Logos for Daddy Jones and Steel & Rye

Meet Ray Burgett, the creative mind behind the logos for Daddy Jones in Somerville and Steel & Rye in Milton.

Chowder |

In Behind the Design, we explore the thought behind the interiors and logos of restaurants. Because, after all, you eat with your eyes first. —by Rebecca Santiago

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The final logo for Daddy Jones. All images courtesy of Ray Burgett.

Though “colors not found in nature” seems to be the theme for the ’80s-gone-upscale cocktails at Daddy Jones, the logo of the Magoun Square restaurant-bar, which opened last November, reads more “grown-up with a twist.” That fun, laid-back vibe–and the absence of tacky neons to convey it–is the design genius of Ray Burgett at work. Burgett, who owns and designs for RamieIsCute.com, worked closely with Daddy Jones’ owner, Dmitra Tsourianis, to help brand the space in a way “that isn’t retro, but nostalgic,” he says.

Placing geometric, gold-and-white lettering against a plum backdrop, Burgett endeavored to capture the venue’s essence in its logo. “We wanted it to be simple, because, you know, it’s just Daddy Jones. And we wanted to tie it to Magoun Square, too, because Somerville is such an old city and we wanted it to feel like something that would have been there years ago, but still fits today,” he says. Between the font’s modern, fun edge and the rich color palate, the logo gels with the bar’s clean aesthetic, its menu of upgraded comfort food, and its dangerous cocktails.

The contenders:

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The final logo, with packaging materials:

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Burgett’s process involves pitching a number of possible designs to his clients, as well as meeting with them regularly to get a sense of what the space is becoming; rinse and repeat until “a certain comfort level is achieved,” he says. Recalling the relatively painless design process for this particular project, he says, “I got lucky with Daddy Jones, because Dmitra really gravitated to this one design.” Earlier drafts of the logo centered on a mint-green color scheme, but Burgett adapted the design as the bar neared completion to better coordinate with its paint colors.

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The final logo for Steel & Rye.

Talent, Burgett clearly possesses, but flexibility is the designer’s real gift. This becomes apparent in the branding he’s done for another client: Steel & Rye, a Milton restaurant-bar with an industrial edge. “With Steel & Rye, we wanted to convey classic Americana. Right behind the restaurant, there’s an old trolley car running through the town, and the space is wide and open,” Burgett says. “I looked back more to the ’30s for that logo.”

The contenders:

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The final logo, with packaging materials:

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Evoking the very specific ethos of an era, then, was Burgett’s challenge for Steel & Rye’s logo. Though he sent us over a handful of design drafts, he admits, “Those are maybe a tenth of what I pitched.” Eventually, though, he rose to the challenge with a typewriter-like font and, for a one-two visual punch, an ampersand. “I wanted to use some sort of icon,” he says of the latter, “to convey a time and place.” His final logo is steely yet elegant, like the restaurant itself.

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