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Process: JJ's Red Hots - Pt.02 / Extending the Brand

If you missed part 01, you can go and check it out here.

One of the most satisfying aspects of the JJ's project has been all the opportunites to interpret and extend the brand into so many mediums. After the space had been selected, a VIP event was planned and we needed to create a way to get the attention of local influencers and get them to come and experience JJ's and spread the word. We decided to assemble a kit of JJ's swag into a plain metal lunchbox.

VIP invitation assembly

VIP invite sketches

By doing some basic hand work ourselves, we saved money, but the object itself had impact and encapsulated much of the hardworking and fun aspects of the brand. The invitation itself was printed on a page from a diner pad and the labels on the lunchboxes were simple vinyl graphics from a sign shop.

As the menu was developed, owner Jon Luther came up with amazing names for each of the featured dogs. These menu items were carefuly curated and crafted as a best of the best from around the USA. The names were inspiring and I began to explore badging these items and creating a little mini identity for each.

As a team we saw opportunities with this. They became physical buttons, and also made their way onto the menu, both printed and physical in the space.


These badges also became the basis for our rewards program. We invited guests to take a Tour of USA courtesy of JJ's. Every time a signature dog is purchased you get a punch in your card and if you get them all, you get a limited edition T-shirt, created just for this program.


To keep the serving and presentation of the food inexpensive and functional, we dressed up simple serving pieces with a custom deli paper.

Deli paper mock up / study

We generated tons of ideas for apparel right out of the gate and eventually decided to keep our options to around 4 or 5 shirts. We created simple shirts for the staff and classic kitchen shirts for the back of house, that could be paired with trucker style hats. 

Apparel and Headwer Explorations

We knew that drawing families in was a huge part of what would make the restaurant work. We produced lots of items that would be fun for kids to receive but were very basic and evoked an earlier era, so the parents would be jazzed too.

Overall, we just tried to create items that added to the overall experience and supported the message of the brand. "Considered" was a word that Jon and I both latched onto very early on. Every aspect is considered and thought out and creates pleasant surprises around every corner for those that come in the door.

In part 03, I'll share the process of creating the signage & environmental graphics. Thanks for following along.

UPDATE: Part 3 is up

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Reader Comments (11)

Excellent! Love the apparel work, and the various products for families are outstanding. I've always loved seeing the behind the scenes process of design, and this is no different. Great work Matt, as always. Looking forward to part 3.

June 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEric 'WizKid' Odom

As someone lucky enough to receive the awesome lunchbox, I can say that I'm a huge fan of the design and branding you guys have created thus far. I think the idea of creating mini-brands around each of the dogs is pretty brilliant, as is the "Tour of the USA" encouraging patrons to try all of these options. That's the kind of thing I see a lot of in the beer world, but never would have thought about with hotdogs.

I look forward to checking out JJ's Red Hots tonight. I have a feeling I'll enjoy the food (and beer) as much as I have enjoyed following the evolution of the design here.

June 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

Really enjoying this series so far, the work is outstanding. There's a definite vibe of fun that shines through the design and the whole thing creates an 'experience' to be enjoyed rather than just a meal out for dinner. Looking forward to part 3!

June 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave Williams

It is gratifying to see a designer at the top of his game paired with a client who really embraces the power of design to create a memorable experience. I need some hot dogs!

June 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Crews

Nailed it!!! This work is incredible. So much fun and well executed!

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSkerry

really excellent work here, thanks for sharing the process!

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterloren

A lot of effort has gone into this. I really appreciate how comprehensive you've been in carrying out this identity. Well done! I look forward to seeing the signage ... an often under-appreciated 'relic' from a bygone era when businesses cared about the 'little' things (and local municipalities let them care ;)

June 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScottyM

matt, great job to you, jon, brandy and the entire jj's team thus far. really great strategy and execution! keep it up. can't wait to try it.

July 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamey Boiter

This is inspiring and amazing!! Love it!!! Bravo!

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGary chew

Beautiful work. I am so impressed by the level of attention to detail on the branding. Wonderful job. And I must get that little t-shirt for my 2 year old boy. Adorable.

July 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

Great seeing the work.

Nice one Chap

July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMilo

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