If you live in New York City or are a fan of traditional deli counters (“appetizing counter” is the proper term, as I’ve learned), you’ve heard of Russ & Daughters. This incredible 100 year-old family company is in it’s fourth generation of ownership and is known across the country for its incredible smoked fish, caviar and specialty foods. Julia and I happened to be on the Lower East Side of Manhattan a few weeks ago and we popped inside to grab breakfast supplies and check out their brand new Russ & Daughters Cafe. In addition to being blown away by how incredible all of the food looked, I had a major design geek moment and couldn’t stop staring at the incredible packaging, branding and labels.
As part of the launch of the their new cafe, Russ & Daughters got a modern (but not too modern) makeover that included gorgeous new menus, a return to their original bags from 50 years ago (thanks to Calvin Trillin) and beautiful DIY-inspired decorative flourishes like wallpaper patterns made with sesame seeds and “take a number” tickets from the appetizing counter. I had to learn more about this incredible project, so for this week’s radio show I devoted the entire episode to the women behind this branding update project, Jen Snow, Director of Media and PR at Russ & Daughters, and designer/artist Kelli Anderson. I’ve been a fan of Kelli’s work for a while now (we featured her home on DS a few years ago) so to find out she was the creative force behind this was a wonderful colliding-of-worlds moment.
The story of how such an iconic brand with 100 years of history finds a way to get a makeover without losing the heart and soul of the store is fascinating. Jen’s dedication to research, archival history and the nostalgia of the shop combined with Kelli’s incredible talent and creative thinking lead to one of the most thoughtful and clever updates I’ve seen on a brand in a long, long time. A huge virtual high five to this talented duo for such a beautiful project and thank you to both of them for joining me on-air this week to tell the story of how they did it. xo, grace
More images from the project continue after the jump below…