Centenary Lounge is a small chain of Art Deco-themed eateries. They were expanding to a new location in Worcester and founder, Aasia Baig wanted a new branding scheme to mark the occasion. This was a dream project to work on for us – combining our love of dining out with one of the most beautiful, stylish periods of design.
CENTENARY LOUNGE – BEFORE
The old Centenary Lounge branding scheme was very…brown. The darkness gave a ‘dated’ rather than ‘retro’ feel. The different browns and lack of consistent typefaces looked uncoordinated and the iPhone snaps made the website look amateur.
The website navigation was also convoluted with far too many tabs off each page e.g. seven links to purchase different things, rather than one shop page with them all there.
Aasia asked us to keep the Centenary Lounge logo as the venues, near local train stations, were themed around the Great Western Railway dining carriages.
However, we felt it needed a bit of a facelift. So we presented an option with a typeface from the correct era (which ironically modernised it!). This also had the added benefit of increasing legibility at smaller sizes or from a distance.
BROWN AND OUT…
We asked for visuals and swatches from the interior designers to inspire the new colour scheme. Even though they had used dark woods to luxurious effect in the interiors, we avoided brown in the new branding scheme, using timeless (and Deco-appropriate) black and white, grey and silver to keep things light, chic and modern-retro, then the green and cream upholstery colours to echo the decor.
We also created a series of beautiful Art Deco patterns in these colours to use across the scheme…
The Centenary Lounge website was completely redesigned with much fewer pages, less copy and simpler navigation. Now all the e-commerce shop was on one page rather than seven! The page designs were also made simpler, more classic and elegant, with white space used to convey an air of luxury.
We ditched the iPhone snaps of the products and commissioned a photographer to re-shoot them, the food, drink and interiors to tie in with the new, stylish look. A few additional black and white archive shots from the 1930s helped tell the story of Centenary Lounge’s origins.
Liberal use of those gorgeous patterns again on one side, then plenty of white space, elegant typography and a large format gave a touch of luxury for the extensive menus. The different menus got a different part of the pattern and we changed the colourways so staff can easily tell them apart at a glance.
The business cards also used the pattern and colours on one side with elegant typography on the other…
The previously messy-looking gift vouchers were now redesigned to tie in with the new, more upmarket, classic style.
Lastly, comprehensive brand guidelines meant that a local designer could create these invitations for the launch party (which we attended!) and stay ‘on brand’.
Aasia was thrilled with the final results:
“From the start, I felt that Sapna really took time to understand the business and showed real insight. I loved her energy! It also helped that she clearly had good taste and an eye for detail – even my daughters were very impressed!
I loved the VISION process. For the first time, I had to stop and think deeply, focus and hone into what I really wanted. It was like therapy! That one task made the whole journey so much easier because suddenly we could both visually see all that I liked.
Using elements and inspiration from my chosen aspirational brands, Sapna then developed a clear brand strategy and direction to modernise Centenary Lounge, ready for the next decade.
On the redesign:
I thought I didn’t need to change the logo, but I was too close. A fresh pair of eyes was just what I needed. Once it was ‘cleaned up’ with a typeface more in keeping with the GWR letters, it looked so much better!
Before, I was proud of my concept, but I didn’t feel the Centenary Lounge brand was presentable.
Now, I see a clean, crisp, polished, much more forward-looking company. Centenary Lounge looks like a ‘proper’ brand. It feels ‘bigger’ than it is. The website, marketing material, menus – everything looks beautiful. The designs go seamlessly with the interiors, it all looks like it’s meant to be. It has more style, more finesse, and I feel really proud, like a proud mum!
The rebrand was really key to building hype, a massive buzz, enthusiasm and expectation around the launch. If we’d have launched with our old look it just would not have had the same impact. We suddenly looked high-quality, upmarket – I would overhear people talking excitedly about us before there was anything else to see – so that was entirely down to the branding!”
Aasia Baig, founder, Centenary Lounge