Dr. Robert Finkel

Assistant Professor of Industrial and Graphic Design

Professor Robert Finkel

Dr. Robert Finkel, assistant professor of Industrial and Graphic Design in Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction, has recently received three distinct recognitions for his design for the Memphis-based restaurant ¡CHIWAWA!, a restaurant that mixes the iconic Mexican and American foods, tacos and hotdogs. Restaurant design and branding blog Art of the Menu, print magazine Regional Design Annual, and the logo book series Logo Lounge (Volume 8), which was choosing from among 35,000 logos, all published his design.

Finkel’s process of creating the ¡CHIWAWA! design started with grasping what the owners wanted out of the restaurant, which meant deciphering the key points of their vision. This required understanding the ideas that provoke creative inspiration, and condensing these ideas together. Finkel explains, “It all starts with writing and thinking, then trying to translate those ideas…using visual aids or visual cues…and putting them together in a little symphony.”

Finkel realized that his writing and graphics could also bind the restaurant to the community. By placing the phrase “Midtown is Memphis”—a longtime slogan of the area—on an archway of the patio outside, Finkel helped create the feeling that ¡CHIWAWA! had been part of the neighborhood for years.

According to Dr. Finkel, designing a logo is essential to the establishment of any business, particularly restaurants. A logo provides a first impression, as well as long-enduring memory, of such an establishment. “[While] a logo doesn’t say everything about a business…it should at least give [one] a hint as to what they do,” states Finkel. Works such as Finkel’s designs for ¡CHIWAWA! provide businesses with a means of communicating with the consumer, the first step in maintaining a successful business. Read more about Dr. Finkel and his design here.

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