Oxbow

Identity

Oxbow restaurant is a recent addition to the Winnipeg food scene. It features a warm and cozy-contemporary atmosphere, an in-house sommelier and a sophisticated menu that showcases ingredients grown right here in Manitoba paired with unusual natural wines. The restaurant founders drew inspiration for their name from the oxbow of the Red River which almost fully surrounds the neighbourhood as well as the farming implement which speaks to the restaurant’s farm-to-table inspired cuisine.

When Oxbow approached Manoverboard, to develop their identity, we immediately felt that our values were aligned. Situated in a recently renovated building on the busiest street in our community—and just a few steps from the studio—we recognized that this was a unique opportunity to craft a visual system that we would see every single day. The new logo would need to be flexible enough for a wide variety of applications, from business cards and menus to websites and signage. Our work was cut out for us!

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Restaurants and small businesses reshape their neighbourhoods, just like flowing rivers reshape a landscape into new frontiers. We wanted to capture that energy of change in their identity and the resulting concept came to us organically and decisively—what better way to capture the unstoppable force of a flowing river than by distilling the form of a river oxbow down to single yet substantial curve?

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Strong and enticing, the Oxbow’s curvy logo went through many iterations before we were satisfied with the exact solution pictured above. The curve is intentionally left open to interpretation—bullhorns symbolizing food, a river for wine, a smile for joy. We chose a strong typeface and a strong, inky blue to counterbalance the undulation of the curve. The mark and the typography are each built to stand on their own. We created two versions for use in a circle which could then be printed on coasters and buttons—as well as round signage that hangs in front of the restaurant today. We provided gift card and calling card designs, as well as an easy to edit menu template to accommodate the restaurant’s frequent rotation of food and wine selections. Finally, we designed and built a small site for Oxbow that showcases the restaurant and its beautiful decor. Next time you’re on South Osborne, visit the restaurant and say hello for us.

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The team at Manoverboard was a pleasure to work with. They had a strong vision for our brand and they really sweat the details (just like we do). We are very happy with the results and business is great thanks to our designer-neighbours.

—Luke Joyal, Co-Owner / Sommelier
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