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Creating a pop-up restaurant brand from scratch

Eater recently partnered with The Museum of Food and Drink and Infiniti to create a pop-up restaurant called Fusco. Chef Scott Conant hosted an immersive multi-course dinner over three days in San Francisco that revolved around new interpretations of Italian classics, all inspired by his family’s favorite recipes and the history of the city.

The Vox Media Marketing Design team branded the event from top to bottom. Our team built a brand from scratch that at first glance makes you think, wow this is an established restaurant with a designed gravitas that can really hold its own. It didn’t feel temporary or scraped together—the attention to detail and tremendous team effort made for a really awesome experience.

Here’s how we built this experience:


  • Our team worked closely with the Experiential Marketing team to gather insights and inspiration about the restaurant. We used this to guide the moodboarding and concepting around the look and feel that we are trying to establish.
  • Moodboards dictate the conversation. We always work hard to curate what we think the look and feel of an event should be, hoping that we can capture the emotion and aesthetic of an event through texture, typography and color.

After an initial set of two mood boards were shared with the Experiential Marketing team and key stakeholders we traveled to San Francisco. This was key to our design process, getting to see the space firsthand and being immersed in all aspects of it. Everything from the moldings and vintage fire house elements to the other surrounding businesses helped to further inspire the brand that we were building.

  • Once a name for the restaurant and a visual identity was agreed upon, we aggressively moved into creating all the branding elements.
  • Menus for the table, passed items, and drinks were custom made; a 24ft map of the city was designed to adorn the main wall; and matte gold vinyl was applied to the exterior. All of these elements came together to create a cohesive brand and experience for the diners.
  • We then handed our files over to a production company for printing, installation, and application.


  • It’s essential for designers to see the space they’re designing for firsthand. It’s hard to do all the time, but being saturated in the surroundings is really ideal.
  • Working with clients is tough. Sometimes you need to put your personal interests and design aesthetics aside to help promote and support their goals and desires.
  • Be organized. When working across teams, clients, and third-party vendors, this is of the utmost importance. Having all the files meticulously named and coded in a consistent structure is a large part of our success.


Mike Case: Project Manager
Dani Balenson: Designer
Carrie Ruby: Design Director
Vanessa Fontanez: Executive Director, Experiential Marketing
HudsonGray: Production Agency
Henry Dombey: Photographer