Iris Délice Menus Design


Iris Délice – Mixing Art and Gastronomy to grow an amazing brand

Iris Délice, also known as our creative playground, is one of those small businesses created 100% out of passion. Peter Schuller (the owner) let off his corporate job to start a sweet shop like no other.

Not that is our client, but his pastry is the best pastry we’ve ever had. Our collaboration was 3 years long and we were in charge of the whole communication and marketing. Our main objective was to align the quality of the products with the quality of the communication.

Talking about “creative playground”, we’ll say just this: Iris Délice was the place where our love for gastronomy combined perfectly with passion for art history.

The before

We’ve met Peter Schuller at the place where we usually drink our coffee. It was just a regular day with random conversations over our friend from Let’s Coffee. But one idea popped out: Iris Délice was looking for a brand manager. With our Pinch of Salt background and everything we knew about hospitality, Alexandra instantly see the potential of this business.

With her taste palette, Alexandra knew Peter Schuller was the best pastry chef in Romania. And all of a sudden, the words came out of her mouth: „I would love to help you grow Iris Délice”.

When we actually started working with Peter, Iris Délice was in the first year of activity. The Romanian market wasn’t ready or fully conscious of the innovation in pastry, inspired by the French cuisine, brought by Peter. But the brand wasn’t presenting itself as it should be presented by someone who has this level of craftsmanship.

This is what the brand looked like when we started to work with it:

We immediately observed the gap between the visual language of this brand and the quality of their products. So we decided to:

  1. Find a correct positioning for our products: upper-medium, affordable luxury;
  2. Adding a visual language and a tone of voice that speaks exactly our new positioning: colors, textures, photography, layouts, logotype;
  3. Simplify the ordering process: we stopped using instant messaging (from Facebook and Instagram) for orders and moved them to a well-designed Google Form – we told you we had to be creative on this client considering the budget limitations.

The first chapter of Iris Délice

We started implementing the 4 points explained before. In terms of visual language, we added a new color: an exquisite bordeaux – proper for our new upper-medium-positioning.

We also changed the fonts and we created some simple and minimalists layouts for our brand. This is how it looked like:

We worked on our tone of voice: communicating more and more the ingredients, the quality, the techniques – everything that made Iris Délice so special. We used over and over again the phrase „something else”. „Iris Délice is something else”.

The idea was that people should stop comparing us with everything that was going on on the Romanian market in terms of pastry.

We also changed the photography. We wanted to suggests what kind of home hosts our products. What kind of textures and atmosphere Iris Délice serves.

The second chapter

After we experimented with new layouts, new photography, new tone of voice, it was time for the cherry on top.

There are plenty of ways to develop a menu in the hospitality industry but we choose to go in a direction where everything is aligned: the idea, the form and the function.

Since our new storyline was that Iris Délice brings „something different” to the Romanian market, we wanted to connect that idea with the people taking part in the innovation matter of the society, by doing „something different” for real: ARTISTS.

We wanted to incorporate works of art into our little works of gastronomy-art. The history of incorporating art into other fields is filled with bad, commercial examples and we knew this could be a big succes or a complete failure. But since we have background in History of Arts and we have art historians around us, what could go wrong?

Iris Délice was found in the ethos of pure feelings and in the pioneering that Malevich did (maybe a famous white surface with a big black square painting sounds familiar to you?).

We were deeply involved in developing the best product design they could get. By this moment we started to work with David Stroe (our colleague) for the design of our menu and brand level-up.

The third chapter of Iris Délice

Since the first menu was a complete success, we moved the story even further. This time we moved forward to the chronological art movement: minimalism. After a few sessions of brainstorming, we came to the idea of silent contemplation – a state of mind we all desire from time to time.

We wanted to make Iris Délice customers think about these kinds of moments and hunt them as much as they can. That is the exact reason we chose minimalism and eliminate the decorations. Any “noise” that could distract our clients from the taste was completely gone.

We also did almost everything on this project: concept, art directing, product design, copywriting, print design.

The fourth chapter

After going through two concepts from the history of international art, we wanted to return home, to our roots, here in Cluj-Napoca. We began to look around and look for a visual system that resonated with what we had already built. And who could be more suitable in this whole context than the well-known artist Radu Comșa?

For those of you who are curious about local creators, RADU COMŞA (b. 1975) lives and works in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. What you need to know about him is that he is one of the most famous artists in the Transylvanian area.

His works have been exhibited, among others, at the Arken Museum in Copenhagen; Ujazdowski Castle Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Space A, Pistoia; Lucie Fontaine, Milan & Bali; Prague Biennale & Timișoara Biennial.

At the moment, it is represented by two international galleries: SABOT Gallery (RO / Cluj-Napoca) and Emmanuel Hervé Gallery (FR / Paris and Marseille).

We wanted to meet the criteria of aesthetics and location. Although the idea of working with Radu for a menu was anything but new, one needs the perfect place and timing. Peter and Alexandra were having coffee at Let’s Coffee (see the pattern?) discussing ideas for the new menu. In the middle of a creative blockage, Radu arrived on his bike in an endeavor of enjoying yet another cup of specialty coffee.

Through an absolutely perfect fit, the plans intertwined and what you see below is the result of their vision. Life knows how to arrange stuff, doesn’t it?

The last chapter (for us)

Our last (and biggest) project for us was building a house for Iris Delice. One that speaks of modernity, with refinement and respect at the same time.

Up until this point, the business has run its course in a small operation unit: with on-demand orders. Since a brick-and-mortar location in the city center of Cluj is quite expensive, we had to deeply prepare and make sure its concept was very appealing to the Romanian public.

We tried our best to mix the previous concept menus and ‘something else’ concept, with the interior design and overall communication of this brand. We used all of our resources and creativity despite having a limited budget.

Our key objective was to move the concept from IRIS – associated with the neighborhood in which Iris Délice have operated so far – with another direction, a little more conceptual: the IRIS from our eyes.

The iris plays a very important role in regulating the amount of light rays that enter the eye. It shrinks under the influence of strong light and increases when the light is dim.

This movement, which may or may not allow light and iris pigmentation to enter, has been linked (for us) to the confectioner’s ability to handle the ingredients so as to produce reactions in the minds of tasters.

So we started abstracting the iris in a circle into a square – the element we’ve been working on the Synesthesia menu (the one in collaboration with Radu Comșa). And then we began to imagine the motion of this square in a similar way to the natural motion of the Iris (more precisely the photomotor pupillary reflex).

In terms of interior design, there is an expression in art, more precisely in the area of museology. This expression speaks of a category of museums that are minimalist and white.

Those spaces where the emphasis is entirely on the work of art. In their case, the space is in fact a setting, it does not intervene in the work of art. Instead, it rather enhances its action by the lack of an imposing presence.

So we wanted to build a „white cube”. A place where the products are the centerpieces.

This was our final project for Iris Delice. We said goodbye with an Instagram Reel and wish them good luck :)

Team and results

Over this time, we worked with a big number of freelancers and collaborators. We hope we don’t forget anyone (and if we do, please let us know):

  • Client: Peter Schuller and his team;
  • Project & brand manager: Alexandra Crăciun;
  • Art director, photo manipulation, design: David Stroe;
  • Architect: Ștefan Cătălin;
  • Production: Radu Măhăleanu;
  • Photography: Vizaknai David & Velum Photography;
  • Editing: Ioana Trușcan, Alina Stanca;
  • Special thanks to: Bogdan Iacob (art historian), Radu Comșa (artist), Marius Bugeac (social media manager);

In terms of results:

  • We managed to survive (and even grow with 15%) during the pandemics when everyone in the hospitality industry had issues;
  • With almost 0 budget for ads and advertising, we dramatically increased our reach on our Social Media platforms was way beyond our number of likes (3x more than our likes);
  • The business grew enough to have trust to build its own brick and mortar location;
  • We managed to build a loyal community of fans who continued to buy Iris Delice products even in the pandemics.