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Re:Design with Ali Lalani

Posted in journal

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We recently sat down with one of our clients, Ali Lalani, owner of General Assembly—a fast-casual gourmet pizza restaurant in downtown Toronto—to chat about the power of design:


/ Ali Lalani on the power of design:

“I think that design is often overlooked when creating a brand—any brand, not just restaurants. When people take a more holistic approach to creating a brand, it positively impacts the overall success of the business. From my experience, building a strong brand foundation is key to helping entrepreneurs and decision-makers flesh out exactly what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and why.”


/ On measuring ROI:

“Return on investment (ROI) on something relatively intangible, such as design, can be hard to measure.  Applying a design-centric approach was a key factor in helping General Assembly stand out in a competitive and very crowded market, and  successfully stay relevant.

I think it’s important to consider how all elements of a brand work together to create a curated experience for your customers. This will not only entice people to try your food but will keep them coming back for more. Steady repeat business over the last few years is partly how I’ve been able to measure success.”


/ On working with Jacknife:

“As a first-time brand in a competitive market, working with Jacknife helped me focus on what was important. We worked collaboratively to develop a strong foundation for the General Assembly brand that’s core to who we are. However the brand grows or expands in the future, this foundation will continue to drive everything from a brand perspective, which will be integral to our continued success.”


/ Advice to someone who’s considering working with a design agency:

“I would say to anybody creating anything in this world: leave it to the pros. No matter how good of an idea you have, an idea alone is not enough. It’s how that idea is executed and the quality of that execution that will determine how valuable it truly is.”

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