Academia: A well crafted experience

Janke recently wrapped up a collaboration with ryb studios to create the brand identity and interior experiential graphics for a new and one-of-a-kind bar in downtown Austin, TX.

The bar, Academia, is the brainchild of the 2012 Night Club & Bar Bartender of the Year and acclaimed mixologist from TV’s Bar Rescue hit show, Russell Davis. Designed as a destination for literary thinkers, the bar will feature handmade craft cocktails and will use cognitive psychology to “exalt those most positive effects of creativity and eloquence.” Specialty sound playlists, custom lighting and other cutting edge techniques will work together to trigger memories and evoke emotions.

Janke was tasked with creating the brand identity for the establishment that would give it a look of class, sophistication, and an Ivy League presence. After all, the inspiration came from some of history’s greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Hunter S. Thompson.

The team started off with quick thumbnails that focused on typography and iconography. Testing out a variety of layouts and variations, a favorite began to emerge.


The look of an academic seal or a custom embossed paper stamp won out and now needed refinement and fine tuning. Janke then studied closely the different icons used in the mark and tested out dozens of glasses, several different typewriters, and plenty of pen combinations – all designed to hold up well visually at a small scale. The symbols represent the four aspects of the bar establishment perfectly – drinking, writing, oration, and literature.

academia logo symbols
Once the icons were finessed, it was decided that the mark needed containment. A plethora of stylings were tried and tested before landing on the final.

academia seals

Did we say a “final”… The final logo identity actually takes two forms. In the first, the name is pulled out from the seal and is used on the exterior signage. The other version includes the tagline “Esto Perpetua, Propino”, which is their nightly toast announced from the oration podium, and is featured on the hanging banner inside the space. The two versions can be used interchangeably as needed.

Famous writers’ crests and their Academia debut

To create a true authentic sense of place and help brand the interiors with the Academia style, Janke created four one-of-a-kind banners that hang in the space. Each banner is uniquely designed in an Ivy League style crest and pays homage to the writer. Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Hunter S. Thompson were selected as the authors to portray on the banners. Each banner features a crest made up of iconography and symbolism that represents the author, their famous works, their personality, trademarks, and of course their drink of choice. Its no secret that Hemingway fancied a good Daiquiri (no, not strawberry), Thompson was a Wild Turkey man, Fitzgerald preferred his Gin Rickeys, and Parker was known to love a Whisky Sour. The colors for the banners are also based on their favorite drink. Can you tell who’s crest is who’s?

The banners will spark conversation throughout the night and provide the opportunity for inspiration, thoughtful critiques, and revelry. Each one was hand stitched from laser cut fabric with intricate details like actual rope and tassels included in the final product.

Animated and projected writers quotes
In addition to the hanging banners in the space, are projected animated graphics being typed on the wall while one sits there. The projections feature entertaining quotes from famous writers, most of them related to their drinking profession. The 90 or so quotes are typed onto the wall with additional time that gives the crowd the opportunity to guess who’s quote was who’s. Just another touch that uniquely brands the space and creates engagement with the patrons.

Overall, the experience you’re bound to have at Academia will be unique and invite you to make yourself comfortable and stay for a while, enjoying time with friends, or listening to a poetry reading from the podium. Everything working together to create a seductive atmosphere that really sets this destination apart. As they say at Academia, “Esto Perpetua, Propino” or Live Perpetually, Drink!