TOLEDO – Melissa Wehrman Householder, a Whitehouse graphic designer and brand consultant, was recognized with the coveted Best in Show ADDY and a Gold ADDY award at the 2016 Toledo American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards Gala for her work on the Urban Farmer Philadelphia brand identity campaign.
Wehrman is a 1996 graduate of Urbana High School and had her first design job in 1994, creating advertisements for the Urbana Daily Citizen.
Says Wehrman, “I was completely in shock that as a solo freelancer, I beat out all of the prestigious and much larger Toledo advertising agencies that I have admired for years. I don’t have a second set of eyes to throw ideas around with or even help me choose which items to submit for client reviews or award competitions like this. I’m so proud of my work, but being recognized at this level was beyond my expectations.
“Although I may work completely on my own now,” Wehrman said, “I obviously know there are many folks that helped me get where I am. Besides the obvious support of my husband, parents and sisters, my hometown of Urbana really molded me into the designer I was when I chose this profession over 20 years ago. UHS Industrial Arts teacher Jerry Bentley plucked me out of a study hall at the beginning of my sophomore year to see if I was interested in taking his Graphic Arts Lab. His support, wisdom and encouragement over the years and even after I left for college really helped solidify my confidence in what I was capable of. I only wish I could have thanked him in person before he passed away in 2013.”
Addy Award Show judge Tim Winters, Creative Director of MRM McCann Detroit said, “Melissa Wehrman brings the Urban Farmer Philadelphia brand to life with this beautifully designed identity campaign. Her choice to keep it clean, yet unique, gives you a real taste of what you’ll be getting when you set foot in the Philadelphia restaurant.”
Wehrman’s brand identity campaign for the Urban Farmer Philadelphia restaurant came just a year after helping brand and design its sister restaurant in Cleveland. Philadelphia has a much more elegant and sophisticated approach that feels different from the Cleveland restaurant’s cheeky, rustic style. Deliverables for the identity system included signage, menus, website, coasters, hats, T-shirts, stationery, to-go packaging and seed packets. For the brand style, Wehrman tried to find the delicate balance between countryside and the elegant city through textures, illustrations, typography and imagery. Within a week of opening this past December, Urban Farmer Philadelphia was named “10 Hottest New Steakhouses of 2015 Around the U.S.” by Zagat.com and Philly.com described it as a “knockout.”
The Urban Farmer restaurants are not Wehrman’s only experience designing for the food industry. She has also worked on branding projects for Sage Restaurant Group’s other properties such as Kachina Grill in Colorado, Hello Betty Fish House in California and, while at Korn Design, Chicago’s Mercat a la Planxa, which was nominated for a “2010 James Beard Award in Outstanding Restaurant Graphics” and named one of Esquire Magazine’s “20 Best New Restaurants, 2008.”
Wehrman moved to the Toledo-area six years ago from New York City to start her design studio in her Whitehouse home. She has worked with the Toledo Opera, Toledo Symphony, luxury Realtors in Austin and New York City, Malibu Wine Safaris, Boston Children’s Hospital, SLS Hotels, and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Upcoming projects for Wehrman include several restaurants and rooftop bars in Denver and Philadelphia, as well as the upcoming 2016-17 season campaign for the Toledo Opera.
Wehrman’s Urban Farmer Philadelphia brand identity submission will go on to compete in the 5th District ADDY Awards on March 12.