Looking at the visual identity for Cooklyn, a Brooklyn restaurant specializing in “micro seasonal cuisine,” is like wandering into a 19th-century warehouse inhabited by cowboys and cleaned by Mary Poppins. Created by the New York-based designers at aruliden, Cooklyn’s branding will send you into daydreams of purchasing a small goat farm in the Hudson Valley.
New York’s most populous borough has become a brand in itself, especially when it comes to food and drink. “Brooklyn” is almost synonymous with “hip”–at least if you’re the reading New York Times. It’s not an organic movement, it’s a business strategy: Brooklyn sells. The name itself, representative of a culinary scene awash in pork belly and reclaimed wood, screams “authentic,” “locally sourced,” and “hand-crafted.”
Perhaps nothing captures brand Brooklyn more completely than aruliden’s communication design for Cooklyn (that name!), with thick stationery watermarked by an old-timey map, copper accents, and a logo reminiscent of a cattle brand. The business cards are embossed with an elegant art deco copper overlay on one side and historical cartography on the other side. The minimalist logo features the sans serif letters CKLN clustered together as if they’re attached to the business end of a branding iron. Even the clipboards on display have precious copper accents. Aruliden arranges every component of the visual identity together with wooden blocks and cylindrical copper paperweights that look like they fell out of a general store from 1889. It’s the kind of pure, artisanal wood-and-metal-and-marble aesthetic that pairs well with a thick slab of bacon and tufts of ironic facial hair.
It’s beautiful, simple, and yes, functional. It immediately conveys that this is the kind of place where you can get delicately crafted small plates piled with super-seasonal ingredients whose names most people don’t recognize. And that’s before you even read the menu. Graphically, it’s the perfect distillation of the rustic chic design trend that has overtaken the restaurant industry.
This is as good as it gets. Everyone else, put down the reclaimed wood and step away from the copper wire. We have reached Peak Brooklyn.