Exercise – The French Hen

The French Hen


Newton and Ridley, best known for their pub, The Rovers Return, are opening a cafe/wine bar nearer the city centre.

The bar is designed to appeal to younger women and sophisticated young men. The brewery has identified a gap in the market and wants to provide a ‘sophisticated and relaxed’ venue for the ‘discerning’ drinker. The bar is to be called The French Hen and will be in direct competition with the cheap ‘binge drinking’ venues on the same street. The brewery is also trying to enhance its own image as a respectable alcohol  vendor.

They want you to develop some ideas for a logo, to be used:

  • on covers for the food and cocktails menus
  • in colour on the signage outside, and as a cutout for a window detail
  • on T-shirts for the staff and paper napkins
  • for one side of a beermat, the other will carry advice on sensible drinking

There a many conventions that have been developed around the marketing of both bars and products to this age range. You need to be conscious the whole time of avoiding clichés and stereotyping.

I noted what I thought were the most important points of the brief, and looked up a few establishments that I think fit the same criteria.

Scan 1

Babington House


Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 17.44.42 Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 17.44.25 Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 17.44.11

The Arcangel


Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 17.45.58 Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 17.46.23 Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 17.46.15

The George

The George, although very close, is not quite to the standard I was looking for, but I noticed that they had window decals when I visited.

2014-05-25 16.34.17 2014-05-25 16.34.08

From here, I started to think about what kind of image would fit into the requirements set out.

Scan 2 Scan

My original idea was to digitally enhance an illustration, for a rural / rustic look. I ended up creating images in illustrator, because I thought it looked sharper/more professional.

Below is a vectorised photo, parts of it are unclear, and it was not what I was trying to achieve.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 07.27.05

Below is my version drawn in Illustrator, I made a silhouette and a line copy, with a view of experimenting with negative space on a solid colour background.

hen Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 20.19.37

Next I looked at typefaces.

french hen text

Again, I already had an idea of the kind of typeface I wanted to use. I wanted the most simple san serif font I could find, something similar to the one that Babington House uses. When I looked up fonts, I searched ‘french’ just to see if there were any interesting ones that may inspire me to broaden my ideas. There were a few script styles that may have worked.

Next I tried to put the elements together.

french hen sign ideas

At this point, I emailed this to 3 people (2 of which are graphic designers) for feedback.

Scan 3

In response to this, I went back to the image and tried to stylise it and remove some of the more realistic parts.

style hen copyScreen Shot 2014-06-02 at 21.28.14

Then added it to the fonts and layouts ideas.

french hen sign ideas 2

From here I could see that the calligraphic stroke was not going to work when the image was made much smaller, so I chose the stylised silhouette. I also noticed that my original preference of a simple font, gave more of an afternoon tea and scones feel than a sophisticated wine bar.

With my choice of image and font made, I moved onto which colour I would use. Again, based on my perception of the impression the company wants to give, and my research, I had a rough idea of a possible palette. I wanted one colour, plus black and/or white. No gloss. Something that gives an impression of high standards and something that would wear well with day to day use, without looking dog eared.

hen colourshen colours2

I chose the dark grey. Grubby finger prints and spilt drinks (on the menu covers and t-shirts) will not show up on it, also, chalk boards with specials options/menus would not look out of place as the colour scheme would fit in. I didn’t consider black, it’s just not as classy 🙂

Scan 4

Final Pieces

Menu (front and back)

FH menu FH menu back

Cocktail Menu (front and back)

FH cocktails FH cocktails back

Napkins (front and back)

FH napkins FH napkins back

T-Shirts (front and back)

FH Tee front FH Tee

Window Decals 

FH window decal

Outside Signage

I wasn’t sure how best to address the layout of the sign. My options were to keep the image above the text as I have done throughout the exercise, or to move the image down beside the text, making it a more ‘above the door friendly’ arrangement.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 20.35.11

In this shallow space, the image looks cramped, and ‘f’ looks like it’s poking the hen’s bum. I chose to go with the second option.

FH sign


I’m really pleased with this exercise. I’m happy that I was thorough with my process, and the feedback was incredibly valuable. I am also confident that I have fulfilled the brief to a standard that would work well for the client. My only concern would be that the colour may not fit their scheme, but this would be easily remedied.

Response to Tutor Feedback

Overall, I was very pleased with my feedback, the only thing that I feel needed reviewing was the choice of typeface for what are essentially subheadings (‘menu’ ‘cocktails’ ‘cafe and wine bar’). When I was originally designing these, I took these words as part of the headings of each item, but looking back a more legible, simple font not only separate the logo/brand from the information (contents of the menu etc) but also create a cleaner, bolder design with a clear hierarchy. This font can then be carried on inside the menus.

I chose a very light basic, san serif font, partly because I think the contrast creates a strong design and partly because it continues the modern theme that I had set out to create in the first place. I am glad that I made these changes, I think the designs are much stronger and I have clarified a secondary typeface that is clear and legible to use throughout the menus or any other body of text.

Reviewed Final Pieces

FH menu FH menu back

FH cocktails FH cocktails back

FH sign

FH window decal


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