Taking the pulse with Young Blood Danny Wu

Q & A on Grand Taco branding

August 27, 2022

Taking the pulse with Young Blood Danny Wu

We continue with spotlighting our Applied Arts Young Blood award winners with Danny Wu who won a 2022 Applied Arts Design award in the small business, branding category for Grand Tacos Taqueria re-brand design. 

What is your creative process (from idea to finished product?)
The key to our process is to get the client involved and to listen intently to their words and aspirations. We design for people, not briefs. We draw inspiration from our clients story and that powers our creative solutions. We run a smooth process where client feedback is welcome and encouraged. It’s always our goal to surprise and delight our clients along the way and to make the entire process enjoyable. The design is complete when everyone involved is in LOVE with the result. When the client is excited and confident in the design than we have done our job, and they can go out in the world and do theirs.  

Can you walk us through the specifics of creating this piece?

We've worked with this client for many years on her well established prepared foods business at the St. Lawrence Market. When she decided to open a Taqueria within Union Station it was important to create a brand that communicates her extensive knowledge of high quality, organic ingredients, impeccably sourced and rooted in authentic ancient flavours. As a healthy food option, Grand Taco also needed to stand out from the other health food options.

We started by created a wordmark that captures a Latin vibe through its vibrant red colour, and quirky custom letterforms. The wordmark is made to look like a modern take on an everyday Taqueria you could find within the bustling streets of South America. It’s comfortable and uplifting, yet progressive just like the bold flavours within her innovative dishes. The icon on the other hand is all about togetherness. Its array of lines symbolize family and friends sharing delicious food around a dinner table. The letters “G” and “T” can also be found subtly within the icon.

What do you think is an issue in the world of Design?

As a profession we have not done a good job in empowering people to purchase design with confidence. Graphic design quality, pricing and processes are all over the map. There is no standard across the industry that clients can reference in order to figure out what makes sense for them and their business. It all feels quite illusive and scary. Marketing has ROI metrics, but branding and design is more difficult to quantify. It will take the industry coming together using aggregate data to prove out our worth as a powerful business tool quantitatively verses anecdotally. With clear standards, benchmarks and metrics to reference clients will be educated and empowered to invest in design with confidence verses confusion.   

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in your field?
Be a sponge, absorb as much as you can before trying to let a style influence your work. After that live your life to the fullest because nothing is more inspirational than designing with real life experiences in heart and mind.

What do you wish people knew about your industry?
Design is hard work. Simplicity is a lot harder and more time consuming to achieve than it looks. 

Who is your creative hero?

Kenya Hara. His idea of 'empty' design is fascinating. "In simple design, products themselves take care of functionality: ex. easy to use, accessible grip, a delicately curved blade. On the other hand, empty design expects YOU to master the skills of using the products – the combination of the potential both in design and user to achieve the best performance, and neither of them can be missing." Design is a tool, it shines in the hand of a great designer.

If you could buy any work from any artist, who would it be?
Adriana Oliver has been on my radar for some time. She’s a trained photography turned painter who creates flat-pop inspired portraits. There’s great depth to her thinking and she has a fresh style all her own. She even creates custom frames that contour the silhouettes of her subject matter. Her pieces start a conversation without being overpowering.

Thank you Danny for participating in our Q & A!