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27 August 2006

Anyone want to help come up with a tagline for my new catering co.? [More:]
So this week I had my first paying customer: 36 tarts (12 chocolate ganache, 12 pumpkin, 12 lime mousse). I have another client in a few weeks and two more in Oct.

I haven't done a lick of advertising and haven't 100% decided on a name (though I'm 90% sure I'm going with the single word, Exquisite).

I'm trying to come up with something that can go on the business card that explains what I'm doing... however,I'm trying to avoid these words because I think they're ugly and unappetizing:

catering / caterer
no preservatives

I do like these words:

small-batch (though don't want to pigeon-hole myself)
healthy (on the fence about that one).

I am not completely against the ugly words nor 100% for the ones I like... anyone want to come up with a very short series of words that sound good when accompanied with the word Exquisite?

I will mostly be making desserts, appetizers, dips/spreads, and soups. I will make entrees if forced but it's not my favorite thing to make. Everything I make is vegetarian and almost all of it is vegan and raw (though I can cook things, I don't really like to).

Here's a card I came up with (the front; address and whatnot will be on back) with a tagline I'm so-so on (though I hate the word wholesome). I will probably be going with this design but am not committed yet.

I considered going with no tagline whatsoever and just the Co. name on the front and my contact details on the back but absolutely every single person I mentioned this to said don't do it. Thoughts?

Anyone with font suggestions for Exquisite, I'm open to those as well.

≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by dobbs 27 August | 21:24
I like it as it is. Also, the word wholesome is very appropriate and has not yet been completely done to death by the hydra that is modern marketing. On my monitor, I see the card as a very very dark brown, almost black and it looks fantastic. Make sure the cards are of solid stock and feel silky smooth to the touch to complete the impression.
posted by dg 27 August | 21:33
Hmm... some of those "ugly" words would mean business from my hippie overlords -- those words signify niche markets. Maybe they shouldn't be on your card, but certainly get the word out about vegan, organic, wheat-free...

I like "wholesome." :shrug:

Call me old-fashioned, but I think you should have "caterer" on there. In case I was riffling through a batch of business cards and I needed to ID your business at a glance ("oh yeah -- that's the caterer!").
posted by psho 27 August | 21:35
oh, and congrats on the paying customer!
posted by psho 27 August | 21:36
I like the words simple, and pure. What about words like alive or living? Unadulterated? How about playing off the presentation and look of the food with words like artful or beautiful? Haute something or other? Whatever you do, please don't refer to them as hand-crafted... ;)

I like the name Exquisite, although I do think that your font is perhaps too bold and in-your-face. Something more delicate and refined is needed, but I'm not a font person, so I don't know what. The card is sexy. It shows as 000000 black on my monitor.

I get the impression that you're trying to create an upper-end customer base - people that might not ordinarily be drawn to the vegan/raw/natural foods because of whatever it is that they happen to associate it with, so you're trying to avoid words that you think may have certain connotations?
posted by iconomy 27 August | 21:46
I like the 'tagline', as it were. There's just enough of an impression that it's natural and there's a lot of care put into it to cause someone to wonder a bit more.
Under NO circumstances are you to use that font, or those colours. The font is heavy, demanding, almost graceless. White-on-black is hard and uncompromising and secretive. I'd suggest almost going with a script-like font (but not too overboard), or one with the script flourishes as overlays. I'll look around for an example of what I mean, though it would be good if the title was hand-built from a few fonts to give it an original, organic feel.
(All that was IMHO, of course.) Also, what psho said: congrats!
posted by Zack_Replica 27 August | 21:51
Thanks dg and psho. And yes, the card should be 000000. I had a few people tell me not to do that, either. It makes me think of catering waiters. Those that objected simply said black and food are not good combinations.

iconomy, I mostly want to avoid that demographic (hippies/earthies/whatevs) because I make things in extremely small quantities and, since I'm just starting, am not yet able to buy in bulk. Hence, my cost is is high and that's passed onto the customer. Initially, I was reluctant to start the business simply because I thought, "Who in their right mind would pay $8 - $10 for a 4 inch tart!?" (Which is what I'd have to charge to make it worth my while.) However, after making stuff for friends' parties out of my own pocket, people kept asking me to make for their events. I did a few, again, out of my own pocket and then said screw that. Not worth it--I like making stuff but wouldn't consider it "fun", unless I get to eat, which in those cases I didn't.

So the last person that asked me to make the 36 tarts I just gave a ridiculous price to shut them up... except they accepted it. And now I have these others in the future.

So I'll spend a couple hundred making a nice card and start giving them out with the food and see what happens. However, the hippies I know don't throw events they have expensive food at. I'm sure they're out there but at this point, I gotta go with people I sort of know--they have money but when you say "vegan" or "vegetarian" they invariably think tofu and salad.

I don't think I've made a tart yet that's been tasted by a stranger who didn't say "bullshit" when i said it was raw. And they always give me the impression that had I told them it was raw before hand they'd have passed.

This scenario's played countless times:

"This is the best pumpkin tart I've ever tasted. Can I have the recipe?"

"Thanks! But, actually, there's no pumpkin in it. I made it with carrots and it's raw."

[laughing] "Funny."

"No, seriousy."

"Fine, don't give the recipe."

(There's an episode of Penn & Teller Bullshit about health alternatives that features a bunch of hippies in CA, I believe, Juliano among them, trying to give away Raw food to passersby and no one takes them as they come across as freaks. You can see people are wary and then when the word Raw is mentioned, they run!)

Zack, I'm completely open to font suggestions but I tried the word in about 800 different ones and thought that one looked best. I originally thought a script or handwritten font would be best but each one I tried made it look like the font was trying to be exquisite. To me, I don't need the font to be exquisite. The word itself is that. Making the font be it as well just seemed like overkill.

I am playing with a few Qs from other fonts to drop in but so far can't make anything work.

The word Wholesome makes me think of the 50s, which I don't like so much.
posted by dobbs 27 August | 22:06
I've found a few examples which are sort of close to what I'm talking about. See whatcha think.
Delerium: Chimera
Delerium: Odyssey
Business card

...actually the flourishes in the "Poster" link above look better here.

So what I'm thinking of is the font of Chimera (not quite script but still classy, readable, recognizeable, not overly flowery, and the letter strokes thick enough to be substantial without being overpowering) and and a (small/medium) flourish behind the whole thing/behind part of the word (beginning or ending)/integrated through the letters. This is good for framing, and can be integrated into other things (such as being extended down/across a page for letterhead or what have you).
Why? Well, if you're doing baking and cooking it's a lot of hard work and a lot of fiddly bits with those little touches that go on cakes and the like, so I was looking for something that would express both ideas.
posted by Zack_Replica 27 August | 22:14
Ok, so I read your reply after hitting post. :) I think what I've suggested is probably more work that you'd want to do, huh? Don't blame ya!
I may have been a bit heavy in my reply, it was the way the card struck me after reading that you'd just made some nice pies. Naturally, no offense was intended at all. also comes up as black on my monitor too, not brown. Wierd.
posted by Zack_Replica 27 August | 22:19
I'd have to see the word, Zack. I don't have a font called Chimera. What fonts is the DMG card made with?

on preview, no, not heavy handed. I'm perfectly open to trying any and all fonts I can. I have 4200 on my computer but enabled about 800 or so and tried them all. I have no chimera.

I'm not against your idea in theory (my original thought, as I said, was for something scripty), but I simply couldn't get it to work.

The card should be black, not brown.
posted by dobbs 27 August | 22:26
I'm confused...

Your pumpkin tart doesn't have pumpkin in it? Did did pumpkin run afoul of the raw food/vegan movement?

When I think of a tart, I picture some sort of pastry you have a raw substitute for the crust?
posted by mullacc 27 August | 22:35
Misprinted Type has a few really nice scripty fonts that I love, although they may be a bit grungy or trendy for what you're after. Click Enter and then Fonts and check out the fonts called Porcelain and Selfish. Zack's examples are gorgeous - truly. I like every one. So much more appropriate, to my way of thinking.

Lots of times raw crust is made by crushing, really pulverizing the crap out of, some combo of raw nuts, raw dates, and raw shredded coconut. If made right, it's orgasmic. Usually better than what's in it! Except in dobbs' case, I'm sure ;)
posted by iconomy 27 August | 22:38
mullacc, the pumpkin tart is raw. You can't get raw pumpkin to the consistency of pumpkin pie. ;)

I make crusts from various things: coconut, almonds, dates, macadamia nuts, cocoa, walnuts, all kinds of stuff. When you crush, dehydrate, or mix with other things, it's surprising what things can become.

On preview...

Thanks for the link, iconomy!
posted by dobbs 27 August | 22:44
Interesting. I'm intrigued. Can you mail me one?
posted by mullacc 27 August | 22:47
I've been looking for a font that'd match the Chimera, and I'm not haveing much luck. I've got about 700 fonts on my computer and none of them are really matching at all. I'm beginning to think that the word was drawn by hand, then scanned and manipulated through Photoshop or an equivalent. The album cover was done by Steven R Gilmore, so there's always the option of emailing him and asking.

On preview: holy shit iconomy, great find! Ooooh, pretty fonts. 'selfish' is fantastic, and would work really well, I think.
posted by Zack_Replica 27 August | 22:47
mullacc, I still owe ico mailed tarts. I haven't figured it out yet. ;)

All but Nasty of those fonts is giving me probs. The HQX file downloads but when I try and open it nothing happens. Weird.
posted by dobbs 27 August | 22:53
Zack, thanks for looking.

I have entire catalogs of Fontshop, Emigre, P22, and other places but am having a bitch of a time finding something I like.
posted by dobbs 27 August | 22:54
Here's Selfish for Mac and Porcelain too. All the Misprinted Type free fonts are probably there although I didn't check all of them.
posted by iconomy 27 August | 22:58
Congrats on your new venture. I worked for years for a caterer with a very dry contained logo, and while it did nothing for me to evoke great food or attentive service he was quite successful. He did not actually do any advertising until many years after he was well established.

I like your tag line. Then your business name sums it up. I do need to say that I think the font for your business name works against the idea of exquisite. The font can't try to be exquisite- but seriously- it must be exquisite. If it is not you will get people wondering if you know what the word means.

My opinion is that your business card should reflect the care, attention and the mouth watering goodness you can provide. They should want to eat your card. Since they can't they will have to buy a tart.

Again, I think your product is going to be so much more a factor in your success than any advertising. I should mention that the caterer I talked about earlier did not have business cards either for the longest time, you couldn't find him in the phone book, you had to call your friend who threw the party and ask her, "Who was that guy?"

I liked Chimera. Oh well.
posted by pointilist 27 August | 23:06
≡ Click to see image ≡

Better? Worse? Legible?
posted by dobbs 27 August | 23:37

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posted by dobbs 27 August | 23:41
I think the capital Q is a little messy, myself. The E is great.
posted by Zack_Replica 27 August | 23:44
Once again I completely agree with Zack. Try the lower case q. Overall it looks really good.
posted by iconomy 27 August | 23:49
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posted by dobbs 27 August | 23:59
Argh. Dunno why it's stretching it.
posted by dobbs 28 August | 00:00
unstretched it.
posted by dobbs 28 August | 00:03
Have you compared Porcelain with Selfish? I'm looking at them now and it'd seem that the latter is a little neater, if that crossed your mind... I've also streched the letters a bit too, for no real reason other than I like the effect.

≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by Zack_Replica 28 August | 00:20
And, actually, looking at the two of them, I'm thinking that Selfish would end up printing better as there are fewer thin lines that could be lost in the printing. If the small lines are lost, then so's the effect and the letters end up looking weak. See the bottom two lines of the 'x'? If those disappear for whatever reason, the 'x' will end up reading as an 'r'. The thicker lines are easier read from a distance, and will hold up better on resizing.
posted by Zack_Replica 28 August | 00:26
yeah, i compared them. You're right about the thin lines as in the X but I much prefer the E of porcelain. They also mix well together. I do prefer the capped Q, though. Hmm.
posted by dobbs 28 August | 00:33
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posted by dobbs 28 August | 00:45
Now I am getting hungry. I like the lower case q better because I don't have to figure out if it is latin.
posted by pointilist 28 August | 01:03
Now we're talking. That Q looks much neater and less of a freak-out. You're also right about the capped Q, as it looks like it could also (subliminally) be Quisine, which of course dovetails with the whole purpose! Success!
posted by Zack_Replica 28 August | 01:04
Thanks Zack, and everyone who offered comments!

One more:

≡ Click to see image ≡

Now to sleep on it.

(Not only is it a kickass E but it reminds me of the swirly goodness on the plate with the food.)

Now, about that tagline...
posted by dobbs 28 August | 01:31
Now, about that tagline...

About that tagline: it's good, but, honestly, I don't think you want to lead with "healthy," which does in fact conjure up visions of the crunchy / hippie / make me run the other way stuff that you mentioned you were worried about being associated with.

Of those three words, the one that (to me at least) most conveys high-end food is "Handmade." That should be your lead.

"Wholesome" is a great word, too. It implies healthy without sounding too hippie-ish, and brings in a little implication of Whole Foods; despite all the bad things you could say about Whole Foods, they've been astoundingly successful at selling quality, reasonably healthy food products at a very high price point.

But, as I said, "healthy" just doesn't work for me. It conjures up images of wheat germ and tofu, and is already implied in "wholesome," anyway. I think you want a word that emphasizes the "gourmet" quality of the product you are offering. And I think you might want to get away from the alliterative, as well. Something like "elegant," or even (too?) obviously "delicious."

But what the fuck do I know?

posted by dersins 28 August | 02:18
Scriptina! I made languagehat's banner with this font, and people are constantly emailing to find out what it is....

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As to "healthy, wholesome" etc. - to me it seems really fine. If the card isn't crunchy, then I don't think people are going to get a "hippie" impression. Also... I love the alliteration... and I love that you have those health-positive attributes followed by "Exquisite" as the huge focus, because this is really the point: "wow, it's really healthy and fabulously delicious! Unpossible!"

Anyway, you have to look at your potential clientele... That would be someone like me, I guess, and "healthy" isn't a dirty word to me. For many of us, healthy and yummy is the holy grail.
posted by taz 28 August | 04:32
i'd go with "EAT ME".
posted by quonsar 28 August | 06:30
Wow, taz! Thanks for all your work. Indeed, that font is yummy. I will play with it and see what I can come up with.

Why do URLs have to be so ugly?
posted by dobbs 28 August | 10:44
Oh, and q, there used to be a catering company in Toronto called Eat Me. Now sure if they're still around.

Dersins, I also missed your comments before. Thanks!
posted by dobbs 28 August | 10:45
OK, I can hold my peace (piece?*) no longer. Thank Dog taz chimed in: Scriptina works MUCH better than your original font, or the "messy" later ones. It's more elegant and fun too.

I really like taz's last color choice (5. jpg), too: dark and intriguing, yet friendly and not difficult to read.

Now my suggestions: If you're doing a tagline with separating periods, add one after "exquisite" for balance and rhythm. (If you'd rather not do that, why not use graphic separators or dingbats between "healthy," "wholesome," etc.? Or you could use tiny fruits instead, e.g., a berry, an orange, and an apple.)

*Shut up, ceiling cat!
posted by rob511 28 August | 18:40
A fool and his money are soon spammed. || Pics of pinky's party.