My role in our collaborative design project was to design/produce a billboard for the company in an attempt to bring new and existing clientele into Cliffside Restaurant.
The idea behind making the billboard was to complement the billboard that already exists between St. George and Cedar City. Because a lot of traffic comes northbound on I-15 from Mesquite, Las Vegas, etc. we would "place" the billboard somewhere along that route.
For our communication objectives, we as a group had decided that we wanted to focus on three main ideas: modernism, simplicity, and approachability. Because the physical restaurant itself is fairly modern, our goal was to have each area and task for our project be modern. As one looks at Cliffside's current collateral, advertising, website design, etc. it isn't as up to par with the restaurant's modernism as one might think. Our goal was to revamp and modernize everything. When one attends the restaurant, it becomes obvious that the simpler something is, the better it is and that is not meant as a bad thing. Many fancy, upper-class restaurants go above and beyond the decor all around the restaurant to enhance the experience. It almost seems as if one pays more for the setting than for the actual food. Cliffside is the opposite of these other restaurants. Simple equals classy. Lastly, we wanted the restaurant to be approachable by any and all who desire to eat the food there. By reaching out and creating the various artifacts that we did, the restaurant becomes more approachable.
In designing the billboard, it was my attention to play to each of the three personas our group had decided on: the tourists, young family and elderly couple. Each of those three personas are exemplified in this rendition of a billboard. Allow me to explain each:
Having been a tourist myself, my first instinct while traveling to a new destination is to find out what the village, town or city has to offer. What tourist attractions do they have? What are some of their best restaurants? Are the hotel rates affordable? Once this information has been gathered, plans are made to visit as many of these places as possible.
With the design of the billboard, I knew I needed to include some kind of award or "star rating" that would show the quality of restaurant. The rating/award that's included on the billboard is an attractive piece that's used to lure every tourist. Cliffside Restaurant is the "Winner of Best in State." You can't get much better than that.
The hardest persona to try and meet was the idea of appealing to a young family or couple. How does one present a high-grade restaurant to youngish families with an attempt to make them feel welcome? My attempt was to try and show a setting that displayed an area where a young family could sit down and eat. The picture on my billboard shows there are tables where at least four people can sit. It also shows how there is enough space around each table to give some sort of privacy and personal space.
I also like the main concept of the image. It overlooks the city of St. George with all its red rock that makes this place so pretty. I also like how Pine Valley Mountain looms in the background. To me, a beautiful view like this is enough to attract a young family/couple to the restaurant.
People of the older generation typically are the one's that eat out at restaurants on a frequent basis. Many of them go to the same ones over and over again because of how much they like them. Well, I wanted to create enough excitement on my billboard to get elderly couples to come and tryout the Cliffside Restaurant.
One, the award shows that it is as prestigious restaurant that has high quality food. Not just any restaurant can get that award. The view with the table on the deck displays a sense of awe as one can sit back and take in their surroundings while eating. Third, the image shows that the restaurant has a sense of classiness to it. The type of furniture used, what is used as a napkin, etc. are all examples of this. What could be a more romantic dinner for an elderly couple?
The design process for the billboard took place on Microsoft Word, seeing that most templates required a little dough and the free models wouldn't allow me to do what I needed to do. For my text, I decided to bold our chosen Arial Font. Because two thirds of the picture has darker colors, I needed a font color that would contrast the darkness and decided that the color white would work nicely. I decided to leave the font on the award alone since it is the actual award logo. Then, the font for our redesigned logo was already predetermined and is identified on our group's style guide.
In the billboard, you can see each of the colors on our style guide manifested throughout the image. With the background of the billboard being the photograph that it is, there will be additional colors added that aren't necessarily apart of the style guide. The black and shade of black are manifested in the logo for the restaurant, the font of the logo and the predominant color for the patio furniture. Also, the our red is found on the red rocks, the restaurant logo and on the surface of each table.
During the creation of the billboard, three major design concepts stood out to me. The first is the use of lines. To me, there are two primary/dominant lines in the image, the railing that seems to cut the image in half and the line produced by the red rock nearly two-thirds up on the image. To me, the line produced by the railing is a diagonal line, thus producing the idea of movement. It also has a little curvature towards the left side of the billboard, thus showing a sense of energy with a softening effect. The line produced by the red rocks in the background brings more authority with it. To me it divides the light and the dark. It separates the bright blue sky and the darker colors of the restaurant, thus bringing in a sense of contrast.
The second major design concept I noticed was how the previous lines followed the Law of Continuity. When one sees those lines, especially the line produced by the rail, their eyes are taken along on a ride towards the edge of the picture. It leaves me with a sense of curiosity and wonderment as to what is beyond the ending of the image. For me, the line produced by the red rock instills a sense of infinity. Because southern Utah blossoms with red rock, I just get the feeling that the red rock just continues on forever.
The third concept is the rule of thirds, even though the images don't exactly fit right on the "line-crossings." The middle point of the award logo has the right vertical line and the top horizontal line crossing through it. The red rocks in the background produce the top horizontal line while the top of the nearest table signifies the lower horizontal line. The logo of the restaurant has the left vertical line running through the middle of it.
My ultimate goal was to make the billboard attractive but extremely simple at the same time. People only have a few seconds to look at a billboard before they pass it. The message or images displayed on the billboard need to send a message to those potential customers coming into the St. George area. I feel that I accomplished that feat quite well.