How To Design The Perfect French Bistro [Pics]
Inside the branding of the iconic New York brasserie, Balthazar.
Balthazar is an east SoHo institution. So much so that people would think this French brasserie has been there forever, when it fact, it opened in 1997. The key to this feeling of longevity is the design and identity executed by branding firm Mucca, which makes Balthazar feel as if it were an actual 1920s Parisian bistro transplanted to New York.
Mucca worked meticulously with Balthazar's owner, restauranteur Keith McNally to maintain an element of authenticity throughout all aspects of design from the façade awnings and signage to the menus and matchboxes. Mucca Typo created the Decora typeface based on Victorian examples, to lend the sense that the restaurant had evolved through generations into the institution it is today. Having such a definitive brand image, allowed it to be extended beyond the SoHo restaurant to other branches of the business such as a cookbook and bakery. Opened later, both the Balthazar Bakery and wholesale foods business share the defining characteristics of the brand, which is recognizable by sight to a consumer, while also maintaining their own individual identity. The bakery, with its Provence-yellow background and similar typographical system designated that this is very much a Balthazar business, with the same quality and authenticity as the brasserie.