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The Bent Spoon

9.2.2015

If you ever visit Princeton, NJ, forget about Princeton University, you need to go to this ice cream shop. When you mention ice cream in Princeton, everyone knows you mean The Bent Spoon. If you don’t, you should. It is a notorious hot spot (cold spot?). There are plenty of reasons why you should go, but most importantly, it’s because of their vow to use local, organic and hormone-free ingredients whenever possible in their fresh-everyday ice cream and sorbets. Their products also include cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and various items like hot chocolate and milkshakes. They’ve been mentioned on outlets like Fast Company and The New York Times, and just celebrated their 11 year anniversary back in May. They’re known for their very interesting and tasty flavors (more than 500 seasonal flavors) from the regulars like vanilla or chocolate to the adventurous ones like basil, sweet corn, or blue kumquat. Their hot chocolate (with homemade honey marshies) will have you laying on the ground (in bliss).

The Bent Spoon
Current website:
http://www.thebentspoon.net/BENTSPOON/HOME.html

RESEARCH AND IDEATION:

I have only been in Princeton for a year, so I did not have any history with this shop or its owners. I wasn’t sure if the owners worked in the shop every day, and did some digging online to see what I could find. It was started over a decade ago by a husband and wife team Gabrielle Carbone and Matt Errico. It is a tiny, small-batch ice cream shop, with only one location. They are connected directly to local farms in NJ, sometimes driving out themselves to go pick the ingredients. They are definitely connected to the community, with local restaurants and school gardens donating ingredients as well.

This is a great blog post that’s only one year old, including an interview with one of the owners and pictures: http://www.handfulofsalt.com/bent-spoon/

things that stood out in this article specifically:
- “love of craft”
- “farm to spoon”
- “all about the community”
- “long-standing relationships”
- adjectives: “imaginative” “surprising” “quality” “adventurous” “unusual” “warm”

I know Mackey wanted us to really get out from behind the computer, so my next step is to visit the shop and do some in-person research.

9.7.2015

Finally visited the store. Right when you walk into this quaint store, there is a large handmade sign that seems to speak about the essence and message of the store:

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The above text:

New Jersey Terroir

"terroir"- loosely translated in french "a sense of place" or, as we like to say: "the taste of a place". we are so lucky in this area to have so many people growing and producing such amazing and wonderful things that you just can't get anywhere else. that's where being able to make ice creams and sorbets out of just about anyting really comes in handy! supporting local farmers and producers help to keep the land they farm on free from over development and open for all of us to admire, enjoy and sustain ourselves. isn't it wonderful in this time of threatened resources to get food that hasn't traveled miles and miles? it supports our local eceonomy, is fresher and in turn, supports all of us in this community. we choose to support local farmers, producers and purveyors first-- and if they are also organic (like so many here are) then WOW all the better! this isn't just "yada-yada organic" and "yada-yada local"--this is REAL! anyway, the point is, next time you're enjoying some bent spoon ice cream or sorbet, know that whether you're tasting a farm-fresh jersey cheese, heirloom fruit or vegetable, organically grown herb, or a locally produced product like beer, coffee or honey, you are really TASTING and EXPERIENCING the ESSENCE of this place--a taste you'll find nowhere else!

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This store, as small as it is, has a ton of character. All the signs are handmade, and seem to be in this quirky handwriting with a combination of brightly colored cardstock and brown kraft paper. I put some aside below in case I wanted to use it for strange inspiration later (those g's?!)

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Next, I looked at the competition, from large to small and local. 

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For the larger corporations, it was all over the place. There was serif, sans serif, custom, script, but a real theme I could see was that there were a lot of shapes and banners incorporated into these logos (some sucesful, some not)

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These are some of the local places, including a dairy farm that sells it's products at its restaurant Halo Pub. More banners and shapes.

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Finally I moved onto doing a very broad search on logos for restaurants that sell ice cream and dessert products. As you can see, these also varied, from closed shapes to an ice cream motif. I was definitely beginning to realize that pink and red were common colors in this industry.

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Finally, I began looking at what were considered "organic" logos, whether it be corporations or specific restaurants that were organic. I also stuck in the small amount of organic ice cream companies I could find (I forgot Horizon organic!)

It seemed some of the items that were common in the ice cream industry were closed shapes, but the type varied. I found that script was more popular when creating a graphic or logo that incorprated ice cream or any dessert, more likely because of it's playful and quirky appeal. 

With these in mind, I'm going to begin looking at outside inspiration from other industries and logos and begin sketching.

SKETCHES:

I definitely took my time getting these up here, apologies. I made a lot of sketches and tried to narrow it down to these pages. 

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My main concerns are the fact the business name is long (three words), so there is the potential for it to get too busy. I approach the capitals in each letter with caution.

Script is a fall-back. I love doing script, but I have to remind myself this isn’t a lettering project and to focus on the type. It seems script has been popular in the ice cream business, most likely because it’s so approachable, but I forced myself to experiment with other directions.

I wanted the logotype to convey a sense of friendliness through round curves that echo through the entire piece. I looped the o’s in Spoon for the majority of my sketches, but struggled with whether or not I should connect the e+n+t in Bent and the S+p in Spoon.

I was hoping to have unique characteristics to bring out the logotype like minor flared ends at the end of the words.

I’m worried some of the more fleshed out directions looked similar to the slab serif they had going on for their original “logo” on the interior, as well as other ice cream/gelato businesses in the country (here, here, and here)

For legibility purposes I decided not to hook the p and the o, and let the B stand by itself in most cases.

The serif typeface with slightly flared serifs had the look of a traditional ice cream shop. I am not sure if this is something I should go with.

I would appreciate any and all feedback on which direction you think I should go forward with. Clearly there are a lot of options!

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