We recently had the honor of chatting with Gray Chapman, author/journalist who wrote a piece on the “color blob” design trend in restaurants. It was a great discussion with some points she included in the article found here: Eater.com. I wanted to expound upon the commentary a bit more.
Restaurant design is certainly vulnerable to trend overkill. It’s high-paced always moving reality lends itself to massive emulation. That means when something takes off as the “new hot thing,” others will inevitable beg, borrow, and steal the looks they feel are the magic sauce for success. That’s the nature of design in general, really.
I’m not one to outright dislike a trend just because it’s a trend. In fact, I would hate for a viable design solution to be killed just because it’s trendy at the moment. The aesthetic design direction for the interiors, print, and digital touchpoints that comprise a restaurant’s identity and experiential suite, should be rooted and driven by a brand strategy; specifically the restaurant’s personality traits. Therefore, if the restaurant is seeking to own a more artful, upbeat personality, these color blobs are a wonderful solution. But, wait, there may be trouble.
Another purpose of restaurant design is to establish the restaurant’s unique, ownable look, while positioning it in the Patron’s mind. Therefore, emulating other looks fails at properly achieving that goal. This creates a bit of a conundrum and fuels the ever burning desire in ever designer to create something new and original. Good luck with that.
Finding that happy medium is often the right path. Be unafraid of the brand’s personality and how it’s expressed. Find confidence in the look that fits the personality and own it. But certainly do not design color blobs just because they’re the “cool thing to do.”