Decade combine with 38 illustrators to raise money for NYC-restaurants impacted by COVID-19
In the most joyful explosion of collaboration and consideration, New York-based design studio Decade has self-initiated Family Meal, a cross-disciplinary extravaganza, all in the name of raising money for local restaurants and their workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – with 100% of the proceeds going to those causes. Showcasing 38 recipes collected from across the city, and utilising Decade’s neighbourhood of illustrators and designers, the cookbook is an exhibition of the incredulous spirit of the creative community.
“We wanted the project to feel joyful and be about making things,” Decade tell us, “starting from scratch, and ending up with something out in the world,” in doing so setting the new standard for how a plethora of contrasting styles can cohesively form a self-contained and recognisable entity. With this core emphasis on personability at the heart of the project, it’s no surprise that the element of human-involvement is at the forefront of its aesthetic; from the hand-drawn wordmark to the prominence of illustration.
In choosing who to approach for the project, Decade explain that the process was very organic, telling us “basically all people we were fans of or we had followed their work for a while and always wanted to work with them on something.” Only setting a rule of illustration size, being respectful to the donation of their time, Decade allowed their collaborators to create whatever they wanted. “We didn’t do feedback or let the restaurants see anything to approve,” Decade adds, typographically responding to the work of the illustrators with a style that would match – such as using Times Dot by Laurel Schwulst, a typeface that is equal parts serious and comical.
Without an expertise in running restaurants or philanthropy, Decade originally wanted to make sure they could help connect people to where they could help as best they could through a website of recipes. “We didn’t hold onto any money or distribute it,” they explain, “after a few months, we had more and more recipes up, and we started to get questions about how to get all of the recipes.” Realising that the more tech-savvy restaurants would be easier to reach, Decade saw the importance of more evenly distributing the exposure through a single source. After discovering ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants), Decade decided to channel their energy into a cookbook showcasing their collected recipes and donate directly to ROAR, who then gave the financial support to struggling restaurants.
“When we first started, the idea was that we’d size all the recipes the same so if you downloaded one, it was already a size you could print at home,” Decade recall, “this was really lucky, because it meant we already had a book size!” Having a lot of fun in translating the website’s aesthetic into a print-based object, Decade chose a binding that allows the user to reorganise and pull apart the book itself. “We wanted the book to feel not precious,” they explain, “it wasn’t about making an art book but about making something that felt fun and celebratory, and reflected the organic nature of the project.”