THE SOCIAL STUDY
My Role: Brand Identity + Strategy + Environmental Design + Business Development
The Social Study is the brainchild of clever and tenacious entrepreneur Harmony Fraga, whom set out to make her first location in San Francisco a very special place. Her ideas had been marinating over the course of 20 years in the hospitality industry. Her keen eye helped other companies craft iconic San Francisco bars and restaurants. She enlisted me to be her design collaborator in all things creative and strategic.
The physical location has a rich history- a once Black Officer's club, 1950’s tailor, and a rare Woman-owned business for its time. All these identities filled the space while being in the heart of the San Francisco Jazz neighborhood, having this rich history blanketed all over it. It was obvious that we had to pay tribute to the past tenants and community.
At a time when San Francisco had lots of booming businesses with overly branded and cookie cutter spaces, we set out to create a minimally branded visual language that intrigued the imagination, and had you experience the space organically and by the careful curation of elements set out for the patrons- Slightly secretive, like a treasured spot that you only wanted your best friends to know about. Once you had arrived, you made friends and never wanted to leave.
CREATE A BRAND EXPERIENCE IN A SPACE THAT BRIDGES A ONCE SEGREGATED AREA TO PROVIDE A COMMUNITY DRIVEN CREATIVE CAFE-WINE BAR-WORKSPACE WITH MUSIC AS ITS CENTERPIECE.
RESEARCH AND INSPIRATION
Wanting to have a name that was part history and a play on words, we knew it had to reference people, community, and a throwback to a school library type of story. The Social Study was a clear winner as we developed an additional meaning to the name. The social experiment that we all are in, the way we study each other, the way we speak and connect. From this idea, The Social Study emerged. With pillars of education, art, music and community, we pulled historical references to craft the visual language and the space’s design nuances.
With Inspiration from libraries, dens, jazz music and an era of cool class and smooth vibes, we set out to create a brand that was like a smart club that you had a pass to. Musical programming is a huge element of what makes this concept come alive. Soul, Rhythm and Blues to Electronic to Oldies but Goodies. DJ and live musicians help to create a special blend of ambiance that is the The Social Study. Study Snacks with a twist are served throughout the day, from light to more filling fare, inspired by the juxtaposition of of its intersection of neighborhoods- Japantown, Pacific Heights, and the Fillmore.
The tone in the marketing is direct and scholastic while being a bit cheeky and fresh. The cards speak to the space’s atmosphere with rich gold and navy textures. Typography is clean, with a retro armed forces touch, highlighted by an emblematic gold finish. In the space, we used vintage jazz record sleeves as decorative wall pieces, classic record player furniture, maps and globes, intriguing book selections on display, select reclaimed oak and a blue tufted leather feature wall.
SF Magazine’s Best Date Bar 2015
OutIst’s Best Place to Meet People
Best Place to Get Lucky
Bar Snacks We Can’t Stop Ordering 2016
The Best Places in SF to Camp Out With Your Laptop 2015
The Coolest Bars and Restaurants in Town 2013
As one of the Fillmore’s staple businesses, after 7 years, it is consistently providing patrons with a unique experience that keeps people coming for its curation of music, food & wine, art and design. People come to hang out, play games, to hear special speakers, attend community meetings and special film premieres, fundraisers, or to just grab a beer and be a part of this social study that is The Social Study.