• Kate

Design in the Everyday

According to product creator and former Senior Vice President of the Apple iPod Division, Tony Fadell, the first secret to good design is… noticing. In his 2015 TED talk, he explains that human beings get used to “the way things are” really quickly. But, “as designers, innovators, and entrepreneurs”, he says, “ it is our job not to just notice those [everyday] things, but to go one step further...” This drive to notice and create change is one that, graphic designer, Kate Turnbull knows all too well. As Knoxville Graphic House’s resident “menu artist,” Kate has honed her skills to consistently create fresh and beautiful menu designs for several local businesses. Most recently, Ms. Turnbull has gotten to work her magic with the stately and illustrious menu at The Oliver Royale in Market Square. There is, however, more to this process than meets the eye. In today’s blog, we explore the menu creation for one of Knoxville’s hottest restaurants from conception to completion and everything in between.

Why were you excited to take on this project?

As a Knoxville native and self-proclaimed foodie, I always have my eyes on the food scene in Knoxville. When the Oliver opened, I was enamored with its delicious food and sharp interior. The Home Studios, based out of New York, designed the interior architecture and it really is stunning. The stone grays and tarnished golds are understated, but create a beautiful slate that highlights the food. All this to say, I was thrilled when the Oliver contacted us about doing some work with them.

What were they looking for in a new menu design?

There were two main aspects they wanted to highlight in this new menu suite: the amazing lineup of local food vendors and the rich history of the building. We wanted to emphasize the fact that they work with over 9 local vendor to create their plates. Also, the building they reside in is one of the oldest in the square, housing a good bit of Knoxville’s history. Along with all these, the Oliver offers so much creativity in their food and drinks, we wanted to create a fun menu that showcased a little more personality.

Why do you like creating menus?

In a similar way that a logo is the face of a brand, the menu is the first impression of the meal to come. It sets the tone for a culinary experience.

What did the process entail?

It started with meeting with restaurant manager, Sondra Richardson, in the space and trying the food- obviously. Taking in the space, we were able to notice details about the architecture we wanted to pull into the design. Once the vision was caught, we took our ideas back to the office and started laying out the new Summer menu. Knoxville has a rich agricultural history with an outstanding farmer’s market. This was symbolized by vegetable illustrations I sketched for the menu. I also made a sketch of the storefront, which wasn’t always the Oliver Royale. Most Knoxvillians know the building as the original Kerns Bakery, but as the city moves forward in culinary vision, they don’t want to forget their roots. We then we played with layouts, injected some magic, and after a few revisions, created a design that holds true to Oliver Royale’s Brand.

Along with the Oliver, Knoxville Graphic House has also completed menus for the Tennessean luxury hotel, Paleo Cafe, SoKno Taco Cantina, Central Flats & Taps and several service menus.

At Knoxville Graphic House, we take the visuals that may not be noticed and make them stand out to your audience. Whether that’s your printed materials, website, social media or apparel. We value your story.


2017 Ailor Ave | Knoxville TN, 37921

Monday - Thursday | 8 am - 5 pm 
By appointment only

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