Although this project is almost a decade old, I had to include it for a couple of reasons. First off, the logo made it into the 2004 Graphis Design Annual, which is certainly worth mentioning.
Secondly, I recently found that not just the logo, but everything else we had created for this Houston-based chain that many years ago is still very much still alive and well.
[cut to Chicago skyline, music starts]
So, I was in Chicago in August for an MWP conference and was enjoying myself on one of the architectural boat tours when lo and behold I see our Alonti logo peering out from a window of one of the adjacent skyscrapers.
[At this point, I had better come clean about something. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I had rather forgotten this company and all the other work we had done, including menus and all the interior store graphics. There are no Alontis near us. Out of sight, out of mind, right?]
Well, Alonti is still around. And growing. I soon found there to be 3 locations in downtown Chicago alone, and as soon we docked, I made a beeline for the nearest one. I arrived just as they were closing for the day, but there it all was—graphics and signage nearly untouched from as we’d originally created it.
[Another sidebar: My shock to find the graphics still in place is because in our age of constant brand refreshing, companies change their brand like their underwear. Wolfgang Puck Express has gone through at least 2 evolutions since our work was done, one by Landor, one by Duffy. I can’t tell what’s going on with them now.]
Back to Chicago. Here I was at my own virtual Alonti museum, and the manager wouldn’t let me in to snap a couple of pics. He was, however, happy to let me in to serve me some food, which I found odd. Regrettably, I passed. I did, however, take a few shots from outside the door.
The next day I tracked down their Chicago flagship location—the one I had seen from the river. This time, I decided to shoot first and ask later. I was soon speaking to the manager, who, after hearing my longwinded explanation, offered to buy my lunch (which this time I accepted) and let me shoot away. Unfortunately, despite this location being much larger, it wasn’t nearly as nice as the other and none of my shots came out.
I decided to revisit the other location again, this time during store hours to get some better shots. Again I was denied by the manager, despite my having just been at the other Alonti shooting at will. WTF.
So, after all of that, and you reading of of this, all I have to show you is this one shot, looking through the glass.
What’s the moral of the story? Shoot first, ask later? Wait. How about get photographs when the project is completed rather than waiting eight years? Yeah. That’s probably it.