There are very few events in Central Arkansas quite like the Made by Few annual conference. Now in its sixth year, Made by Few is a creative conglomerate event, bringing together designers, producers, creatives, marketers and entrepreneurs from around the South. Up until now, there hasn’t been too much of a reason for Arkansas’ food scene to take notice; most bars and restaurants get one logo or design theme at the beginning (if that) and just go with it. But this year, Made by Few is hoping to attract restaurateurs with a few speakers that will directly address how design can benefit local eateries.
The first speaker on the agenda who caught my eye is Kelli Anderson, an independent designer perhaps best known in the restaurant world for her gorgeous work redesigning the world-famous Russ & Daughters in New York City. You can read an extremely detailed and fascinating blog post on that project here. To sum up, Anderson researched the 100-year-old bistro’s history and based an entire business rebranding on a single paper bag with the Russ & Daughters logo from the 1950s. Using just that, Anderson came up with a design that is timeless and pays homage to both the restaurant and the city’s history. The design feels like New York, and that is a welcome comfort for both regulars and tourists. No doubt many of Anderson’s foundational ideas could help many restaurants here in Central Arkansas.
And perhaps the biggest, most well-known name to the restaurant world who will be speaking at Made by Few is Marguerite Zabar Mariscal. If you don’t know, Mariscal is the creative director and chief of staff for Momofuku, a culinary brand that started in New York and now reaches around the world. There is no doubt that such a well-known, international brand requires a steady creative hand, and Mariscal provides that by driving corporate branding strategy and coming up with new projects while making sure each restaurant has a consistent theme and approach. Marsical describes it as acting “as a conduit between David’s (Chang’s) brain and our internal teams to strike that balance.”
Mariscal and Anderson will speak together on stage at Made by Few (Anderson will also speak separately) about keeping their design approach consistent while opening multiple restaurants. The discussion will be led by Amber Brewer, head designer at Yellow Rocket Concepts (who knows a thing or two about designing for multiple spaces). The group will discuss the strategy of designing restaurants while keeping things consistent during a business expansion.
And of course, there are many more top-class speakers coming to this three-day event. Creatives from Netflix, Buzzfeed, The Idea, The Wing, Charles & Thorn, and many other internationally known brands will give their perspectives on professional design and marketing, and should get the audience’s creative juices flowing. Also, Made by Few director Elizabeth Strandberg tells me if Mariscal and Anderson’s talk is well received, she hopes to attract David Chang himself to a future event. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity to learn about creative ways design can influence any restaurant concept.
Made by Few is October 25, 26 and 27 at the Ron Robinson Theater in downtown Little Rock. Tickets are available at madebyfew.com. There is a student discount price available.
All photos used are property of Made by Few and have been used with permission.