Inspired by our recent visit to Bruce Mau Design, we decided that it was time to visit the annals of history and show you guys how our branding has evolved since our inception in 1989. Just a quick note though: times were different back in 1989… heck, times were different back in 1999 – Y2K, frosted tips, Avril Lavigne, need we say more? So approach the upcoming imagery with what your old history teacher would call historical contextualization. Basically, don’t judge us too harshly okay? Okay.

In the beginning (1989)

Behold: our first ever menu printed in 1989. This menu was created for our first location on the Danforth, where we still operate today.First original Demetres Menu Cover

Printed on orange linen paper, this cover offered a quick explanation of the inspiration behind our business name: a loving dedication to our founder’s great grandfather and his dessert operation at the turn of the 20th century.


A small addition (1990)Black and white circular Demetres Logo

While this logo didn’t make it onto any of our menus, it was created for store signage at our original Danforth location. There it remained as a beacon for all dessert-seekers until 1996, when it was replaced by its more colourful successor.

For long-time Demetres devotees who have been to our Kingsway and uptown restaurants, this logo may also look familiar as it was imprinted on our windows at these locations.


A colourful introduction (1992)

A few major events that occurred in 1992: the NAFTA agreement was signed, Betty Cohen established the Cartoon Network, and we introduced our first colour menu. Demetres 1992 Menu Cover

With this new menu came the first iteration of a logo that most of our customers have come to know over the years: multi-typefaced, multicoloured Caffé Demetré. Born out of a Willy Wonka-esque vision of a storybook land where magical barrels churned ice cream all night long while cows skipped over the moon, this menu was brought to life by artist Steve Slutzky.


The clipart years (2005 – 2014)

These are the years where things got a little… Mardi Gras. The imagery that graced our menus during this time period ranged from tropical scenes to Carnivale. Gone were the happy little dairy cattle, and in danced their merry-making replacements. Demetres 2007 Menu Cover

In hindsight, a few questionable choices were made, so we’re treating these as our teenage years (extended edition). Don’t pretend you’ve never worn bell-bottom jeans, begged your mom to buy you a terry cloth wristband, or parted your hair down the middle. It just seemed like a good idea at the time, you know?


Paring down & artist commissions (2015 – very recently)

After the colourful hubbub died down, we decided to leave the making of art in the hands of professionals and started working with local GTA artists for our menu covers. You’ll also note that our logo, while still multi-typefaced, has been toned down as well with the omission of the white and blue outline and a more graphic cherry.

Demetres' 2015 Winter Menu Art by Jon Westwood


The here and now

As some of you may know, we worked with Bruce Mau Design to debut our new logo late last November. It was a lengthy project, but we’re so happy with the results! For more details on the changes we made, feel free to read this post.

Graphic of Demetres logo

We’re still keeping up our tradition of commissioning local artists though. Four seasonal menus are produced each year, and our new logo had the chance to shine on our latest winter menu, courtesy of Susitai Ulanbaagen.

Demetres' 2017 Winter Menu Cover by Sustaiart

That brings us to the end of this long #flashbackfriday. We hope this shines a little light on our journey as a local GTA dessert restaurant over the better part of the past three decades. Check back here next week for a little more behind-the-scenes action and a New Years DIY, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @demetres for some fun daily posts 🙂

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