A+ is the studio of Graham Bradley, who describes the practice as “a design and technology studio that creates type.” And as it turns out, they’re one of my favorite studios, I just didn’t realize it. So there’s this restaurant called Bell’s located in Los Alamos, a small town in the middle-ish of California’s, roughly 2.5 hours north of Los Angeles. Owned by Daisy and Greg Ryan, Bell’s holds. special place in my heart because the food, service, and experience of eating there, are all incredibly thoughtful. A small but important aspect of said experience, is the branding, which is where A+ comes in.
The look and feel of Bell’s branding is French by way of California (which is also how I would describe the food). A+ created a bespoke typeface, charmingly named Henri, as well as a number of custom logos, a flexible menu system that can accommodate new items, as well as some cutie illustrations that bring the brand some extra personality. It all feels haphazard in the best way, like an eclectic assortment of items you’d find at a French brocante.
A+ also ended up working on Daisy and Greg’s other restaurant Bar Le Côte, a seafood tavern in Los Olivos that they opened along with co-owner and executive chef Brad Matthews. It’s like the eclectic, kinda zany cousin of Bell’s, and the vibe of the interiors and the branding help to communicate that.
The type work here astounds me, especially as A+ was able to create a dynamic typeface that can also be reorganized into a “wordmark built from geometric, Art Deco letterforms, stacked together like a set of blocks.” I hadn’t seen this animation until I found A+ and it’s so remarkable to see all the letters come together so nicely like that.