Davy Denduyver’s typographic identity for Onslow rejects the formality of classic restaurants
Run by acclaimed chef Lieven Vynck, Bruges’ Onslow set out to offer the best in casual dining, creating a tasty, lively space for people to have good food and a good time. Turning to Davy Denduyver, the Bruges-based designer was tasked with channelling this energy across a distinctive identity, culminating in an ownable and ultimately playful brand whereby the restaurant’s laidback, unpretentious vibe ricochets from each and every corner. “It was clear to me from our initial meeting that Onslow didn’t want to beat around the bush,” Denduyver tells us, discussing how Onslow’s attitude verbally and visually manifested. “A no-nonsense tone of voice made sense to me,” he adds, “it’s also very fun and rewarding to build a visual language that leans so much on typography,” Denduyver remarks.
“With the main concern being that Onslow had no definite concept as a restaurant,” he contextualises, the identity was tasked with translating the restaurant’s earnest offering of just good food and good drinks. “Even though that should be the base for all hospitality,” Denduyver notes, “we all know it isn’t, and it’s often very marketing driven,” hoping to help Onslow differentiate themselves from the crowd, even toying with the removal of the word ‘restaurant’ from their name. “None of those ideas really stuck, so they went with just the name itself,” he details, adding, “I thought it would be funny to have two very classic typefaces for a restaurant that really doesn’t want to be like other restaurants,” culminating in the choice of Helvetica Neue and Times New Roman as the brand typefaces.
“They are always in bold, squished in width and mixed with each other,” he notes, applying the typographic classics through a contemporary lens; whilst being somewhat referential in the choice of supporting colours. “The goal here was to end up with something stylised, but still feeling warm enough and not just being very clean,” Denduyver explains, utilising a beige and navy combination to create a nostalgic tone.
“In addition to that we have some more primary colours inspired by copy shop paper,” he continues, “to switch up the printed menu and other assets in a later phase,” creating vivid printed and digital spaces for Onslow’s logomark to emblazon. Hand-drawn and bespoke, Denduyver details, “the main concern of the lovely people behind Onslow was the difference with their previous, more up-scale restaurant,” hoping to appear more accessible and less stuck-in-their-ways. “The venue where Onslow is located used to be a traditional, older Belgian pub,” Denduyver concludes, conveying this personability, locality and welcoming warmth in its hand-rendered form, “hence playing with imperfections such as the hand-drawn logo.”
Helvetica Neue by Linotype