When we met Becky Gripp, the founder of The Tamale Kitchen, we knew that this was going to be a deep and lasting relationship. We distinctively remember the first time we sat down to discuss the project and our future role in it. One of the things we all insisted on was the creation of a brand identity that reflected the project’s character and mission. Neither of us would settle for less than the best we could offer, regardless of the budget.
Becky has a deep understanding of the culture and traditions of the ladies of The Tamale Kitchen, and since we pride ourselves at Ariel Media KC in our global view of the world, and our deep roots in Latin America, we bonded immediately. Enthusiasm for the project abounded on our end, our co-founders were ecstatic to be able to take on this project. Spenser, our head of design at the time, and one of our co-founders, embraced the project and the research associated with it, with truly unmatched passion.
She showed up one day with a pencil drawing made by one of her sons, “the artist”. It was a rose, just a rose, a simple rose, but one of our co-founders, Ernesto, immediately jumped on its meaning and its links to Mexican culture. Roses feature prominently in the story of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Roses are everywhere in Mexican culture: with sugar skulls for Día de Muertos, in the embroidery of the indigenous people of various Mexican states, in the murals of Diego Rivera, in the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Roses are a symbol of tough, resilient, beautiful women that can bloom and flourish in places where other flowers wilt and die. Roses embody what the ladies of The Tamale Kitchen are and do.
Then, there was the plate, that other symbol of family and cooking traditions. It couldn’t be just any bowl or plate, it could not be a fancy elaborate one. Tamales have always been, in their almost five thousand years of history, the food of the common people, of the humble and hardworking. Because tamales, and by extension food, are the main product of The Tamale Kitchen, we placed that plate at the center of the identity. It is a humble, minimal, well-worn plate with obvious signs of daily use. You look at it from above, from the point of view of the one whom is about to consume the tamales, or whom is waiting for seconds.
We added the rose to the side as a woman puts a rose in her hair, or the side of her face before going to the market, or just to make the day more bearable and herself more beautiful while facing the tough chores of the day.
Then came the color selection. This was an easy choice. The ladies come from Mexico, so we matched the colors to those of the Mexican flag. We did not approximate the colors. We researched the correct color values and matched them: the correct red for the plate and the petals, the specific green for the leaves of the flower and the white of the center of the flag for details and borders. We added a bit of orange on the contours of the petals to match and evoke the color of corn, its silk, and of tamales.
We continue to be passionate about this project. We continue to work with The Tamale Kitchen, and we continue to support their mission. We built and maintain their web site, we manage their social media presence, and we continue to be proud of the identity we created for them. This is a great match, a project of love and faith in a mission, and the results are there for everyone to see.