It will come as zero surprise to anyone at Seedhouse that I love Bon Appétit. I will literally DRIVE to a BARNES & NOBLE to pick up a new issue (not many grocery stores carry it? and I’m still traveling around the country, so subscription isn’t very feasible). While writing this, I got a BA instagram ad and I don’t even mind because there were cute illustrations of a ham and olives. I love cooking from it (it taught me the beauty of a simple cucumber salad), I love the beautiful food photos (have you seen the stained-glass cookies from the December issue?), I love that they have funny apparel (eggs!) and dry-humored “ask Alex” questions on the last page, and finally, I love the design.
Get your 6 1/2 minute egg shirt here.
They unabashedly throw everything on the page, diving deep into genre-specific design to create a whole experience around the food they are showcasing. Like with the Red Sauce America article (also available online). Grazing through those pages, I desperately wished to be in a comfy, chianti-candle, garlicky restaurant and now all I want is lasagna.
They are unafraid to use all aspects of the page: typography, color, illustrations, photography, and page layout to celebrate whatever food or mood is being highlighted. It connects on an emotional level, and that is what makes it good design.
At Seedhouse, we are constantly asking ourselves, “what emotional tie do we want to make with this logo/package/etc?”. Creating that connection with the audience is SO MUCH more powerful than a functional or literal play. Instead of “Oh great, it’s yet another pasta recipe”, I get hyped about the old school Italian restaurants in Jersey. And thus is the design lesson: connect on an emotional level, not a functional level, and you will also inspire the droves to go out and make their own malfatti.