It's All About The Ambience
I am one of those people (as I'm sure many of us are) who goes out to a bar or restaurant and, other than drinking or eating, takes a look at and pretty much ends up critiquing the overall design and experience of the place. I know I'm not alone in this - especially as the crowded marketplace of restaurants and differentiation of them continues to grow. Well, there is now a book out on restaurant design and the unsung heroes of the craft. That book is called, Restaurant Graphics.
Published by Laurence King and authored by Grant Gibson, Restaurant Graphics takes a look at the design firms from around the world that have captured the overall tone of their clients' establishments in effective and beautiful ways.
The restaurants' menus, placemats, napkins, business cards, and overall signage, for instance, are displayed in the book from those firms that got it - and got it good. There are firms, and eating and drinking establishment, represented from ALL over the world - from the UK to the Netherlands, Sydney to Sacramento. I have to wonder why there are not more West Coast firms and establishments represented here. I know we have quite a few that rank right up there. (Uh-hum, has anyone ever heard of the restaurant capital of the world, San Francisco?!)
Yes, there is a McDonald's restaurant in the book, but don't dismay, it's the only commercial fast food establishment in there. A few of my favorites are Dana Centre Restaurant in the UK, The Butcher Shop out of Boston, and Bravo Charlie in Germany.
So, pick up this book, get familiar with what to look for, and when you go out again you can be an ambience critic like me. Let those other critics deal with the food.