El Five

Role: Art Director & Lead Designer       CD: Josh Wills & Steve Hurd       With: William Johnston and Bryan Cavanaugh       Studio: Consume & Create


Create a unique and timeless brand for El Five: a skyline-onlooking tapas restaurant five floors above Denver.

I worked within a team of three to develop the El Five Brand; contributing designers are cited on relevant imagery.

My largest contributions as a designer were evolving/ developing the logo system, creating the supporting design language, type system and establishing the menu program.


Inital logotoype concept by Bryan Cavanaugh

Logotype evolution study available on request.


El Five is the fifth concept in the distinct and always memorable lineup from Denver restaurant group Edible Beats.

Our concept started with the 1963 Lincoln; a favorite car of restaurant owner Justin Cucci. 

We sought to build a brand that felt like the ‘63 Lincoln: sophisticated but accessible, well designed but nuanced. For those who know what they’re looking for, El Five (Like a ‘63 Lincoln) is a symbol of refined taste.

Half Pan Am,
Half Turkish Palace.

The 1940s brought western cinema into the Middle East and from its import arose new, original stories of adventure, love, danger, and mystery, creating what is known as the The “Golden Age of Egyptian Cinema.

El Five is adorned with giant, sprawling posters from this era: salvaged, preserved and on loud display.

For our muse, we imagined a Mad Men era designer traveling to the Mediterranean and coming back forever changed. How could we infuse New York with Algeria? Manhattan with Morocco?

Tapas De Gibraltar

While the word “Mediterranean” has become synonymous with “Italian” or  “Greek,” what do we call food from Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Spain and even old-world Persia?

The Mediterranean Sea has a rich export culture, all connected by one region : The Strait of Gibraltar. Like the port, El Five is a melting pot of all the Mediterranean regions, creating dishes without a home country, that taste like favorites from each one : Tapas De Gibraltar.

All the way up

El Five resides at the fifth floor, giving an unblocked view of Denver’s Skyline.

As such, supporting design element set was established, all winking to early busboy & hospitality staff, as well as vintage elevator interfaces.

To compliment our theme of adventure and travel, I created several passport stamps for the system, creating a worldly but familiar system.


For launch, I concepted and created a limited run of at-bar menus with a rare flair:
a stippled passport texture, and room for a bevy of stamps at the end.

apron design by Josh Wills