What if The Little Mermaid needed branding?
The Little Mermaid was always one of my favorite movies growing up. It seems to be trendy to imagine the Disney princesses in a different lifestyle. Buzzfeed presented what they might look like when they are older, and artist Fernada Suarez creates what they might look like in the modern day. I love this kind of fantasy, and I wanted to put my own spin on it. It made sense as a graphic designer to give Ariel a business and then brand it. There were two logos that stuck out in my mind for her: a seashell and a fork. The shell because that’s what she wears as a top, and a fork because we all know the scene where she calls the fork a dinglehopper and brushes her hair with it. I went with a fork and decided to build Ariel a restaurant.
I present to you Dinglehopper Cafe — a vegan seafood restaurant.
Effective logos are simple, relevant, and scalable. This fork is all of the above. The fork is a simple and clean design which makes it easy to remember. The fork makes perfect sense as it relates to the restaurant theme. It also ties back to Ariel’s past when she first discovered a fork and wanted to be where the people are. Finally, it’s scalable, which means if the logo is small on a sticker or large on a billboard, you will be able to recognize it. I also added a seaweed sub icon and pattern to the branding. The seaweed adds a fun and playful element to certain aspects of the design. It also creates visual contrast and diversity (you would get bored of only looking at a fork on all the design pieces).
The Colors and Typography
For the type, I wanted something playful and cartoonish but also professional. I settled on Barricada for the main logo. The text font I used is called Playfair Display, which is a serif font that is sophisticated and easy to read. They make a good pairing with visual contrast in the thickness of the fonts. For colors, it was between red and purple for obvious reasons (her hair and seashell top). Red and purple actually have very opposite meanings. Red is aggressive and passionate and can get people to make quick decisions. It can also make people hungry which is why you’ll see it in a lot of other restaurants. Purple however is a calm color and makes you feel peaceful. This means it’s a perfect pick for a vegan cafe where the whole idea is to spread peace and kindness.
Why is it Vegan?
First of all, I am a vegan myself, so I can’t really imagine working with any other sort of eatery. Also, The Little Mermaid lived under the sea for sixteen years of her life and her best friends are a fish and a crab. Can you imagine her eating her friends? She wants to showcase how you can still eat delicious food without killing any of her besties. Vegan seafood is making it’s way into the market, so Ariel wants to be a part of that growth!
This was the hardest part of the exercise. I am not a chef, but I make a mean meal or two at home. I used One Green Planet as my inspiration for most of these. Smashed chickpeas can be used to imitate tuna as they have similar texture and when you add seaweed and dill, they taste alike! Heart of palm can also be used to imitate lobster or crab meat as they shred the same way. It’s all about the seasoning. The layout of the menu is light-hearted while keeping a very brand focused design.
What is the Point of This?
It’s for fun! It’s really important to me to work through side projects and activities I normally wouldn’t with clients. I can explore different typography, color combinations, and ideas. I really like exploring fan fiction, and I want to keep imagining other businesses. What fictional characters would you like to see own a business?