When Will and I first started Pared during the exploratory phase, one thing we needed was a brand to represent what we were building. We were creating something that had never existed before: A marketplace for restaurant workers to find work. Our vision was to make restaurant life easier. I wanted a brand name that would be relevant to the kitchen and cooking. Knife skills are critical to preparing any meal. Chopping, dicing, peeling, julienning, mincing and the list goes on. We were matching vetted and experienced professionals with restaurants and catering companies that needed their skills. We were “paring” down the talent pool and “pairing” the supply and demand in the hospitality industry. It was the perfect name. Once a restaurant is matched with a worker, they’ve been Pared.
We had a name but I had to quickly create a simple logo together to put on our makeshift website as we started to recruit our first Pros (experienced cooks). At the time Pared was still just a conversation and an idea. We wanted to see if it had any legs. Over a weekend, I threw together a website and found a font and color that I liked to create our first logo. I used Lobster font which I only found out later was ridiculed by my designer friends! We had more important things to think about and lived with the logo for the past year since we launched the service in San Francisco. Now that we’ve “pared” thousands of shifts and are growing, I felt it was time to create a more meaningful and intentional logo. These were the three characteristics I wanted in the logo:
Strong: The kitchen is a HARD place to work. Most people who have aspirations of working in a restaurant kitchen don’t survive. The heat, the pressure, the long hours, the stress, all make it a very difficult career. Only the strongest individuals survive in this industry. This is probably why most cooks get tattoos to show their badge of pride and unity with those who also suffered the burns and cuts in the kitchen of a restaurant.
Clean: One of the most important traits of a good cook is that they work clean. You can tell a lot from a cook by how they set up their station or workspace. Things are always organized and in their right place. Before you start working you set up your mise en place which means “everything in its place” in French. Chefs like their stations to be clean and organized, their cookbooks to be clean and easy-to-read, and their dishes to be plated perfectly clean.
3. Memorable: I knew that I wanted something to stand out in our wordmark that would speak to who we were as a company. I’ve always really liked unique wordmark logos that effectively represented brands like Lyft and FedEx that stand on their own.
We worked on dozens of design concepts and I reviewed hundreds of iterations, but nothing spoke to me. A friend suggested that the word “Pared” actually works as a rotational ambigram (a design you can read upright or upside-down). I really liked that idea especially after seeing the Handy logo. An added bonus of an ambigram, other than being really friggin’ cool, is that it’s symmetrical. I also wanted to find a way to use either the letters or the negative space to symbolize what we do as a company. After poring over so many designs, I never thought we’d find one. But when you see the right one, it’s like love at first sight and it stands out above the rest.
Our new logo has a stronger font and has the clean lines I was looking for. We managed to design an ambigram that was easily legible and elegant. I decided to stick with the green as green represents: life, freshness, balance, growth and wealth. All of these are values that are important to both sides of the our marketplace. My favorite part of the logo are the two knives in the negative space around the “r” that are facing one another. These knives represent the matching and pairing of the restaurant and pro meeting face-to-face. I look forward to many more restaurants and pros around the country and the world someday associating our logo with their success in the future as Pared continues to grow!