Seven Questions with Rod Dyer, Designer and Restaurateur
LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it's the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we've created "Seven Questions with..."
Today's subject is Rod Dyer.
The same man who designed iconic logos like Entertainment Tonight, The Disney Channel and local favorite logos like Koo Koo Roo is the same man who owns the celebrity-friendly West Hollywood Italian restaurant Pane e Vino. That man is Rod Dyer.
LAist had the honor of exchanging emails with Rod to talk logos, restaurants, food, Billy Dee Williams and surprisingly Bob Marley.
1) What do you enjoy most about the restaurant business? Why did you decide to open Pane E Vino?
Pane e Vino opened 20 years ago and the reason for an Italian Restaurant is that I love Italy and the foods of Italy. I love the ambience that Pane e Vino has with a very romantic patio in the rear and being able to take care of customers in a friendly fashion.
2) Our internet research shows that Bruce Willis was an investor in your restaurant Pane E Vino, Billy Dee Williams is there daily and a scene of Entourage was filmed in the garden. What makes the restaurant such a go-to spot for celebrities?
I have known Bruce Willis for years and Billy Dee is one of my best friends. I like to play down the celebrity aspect so when they do come in we don't have the Paparazzi. Entourage, the Hills and a number of other shows have filmed in our patio. Customers love the food too, and come back for their favorite dishes.
3) You’ve created iconic logos like MCA, the original Columbia Pictures woman, Entertainment Tonight, The Disney Channel and local iconic logos like The Grove and Koo Koo Roo. What is your favorite logo you’ve done and why? Are there any logos around town that you did not create, that you love?
I have been in the graphic design business for the past 45 years; I love to solve design problems no matter what! I think one of my favorite logo is design is the CBS eye icon designed by Bill Golden in the fifties and it still stands up today.
My favorite logo that I designed was a competition I won at age 21 in New York City for "The Avenue of Americas Association" on 7th avenue (shown to the right).
4) In the book “Before The Legend” about Bob Marley's life, it says that you designed the cover for Marley’s first record, Catch a Fire,” to look like a Zippo because you and Marley wanted to burn down the oppression of apartheid, and a Zippo seemed like a good place to start. What was Marley’s response to your idea? How did you meet him?
It's interesting what you said about the Bob Marley "Catch a Fire" album relating to apartheid in South Africa that was the reason I immigrated to America. I never met Marley. I did the project through Capitol Records and he approved the concept with Chris Blackwell/Island Records.
5) You have a line of pens, design your own clothes - what other types of things have you designed we might not expect?
Besides designing pens and jewelry and neckties for ACME Studio, clothing, wrought iron outdoor, furniture, Jazz musician graphic giclee prints. I have just completed a book project called "The Cork Game" How The Mob Kills Time. It contains three real corks and playing instructions. Also illustrated Italian hand gestures, language without words. Soon to be published.
6) What are your favorite dishes you serve at Pane E Vino?
My favorite dishes are the Mesquite grilled fishes, linguini vongole (clams), margherita shrimp with grilled polenta in a sauce made from honey, curry, cognac and chili.
7) When you aren't eating at Pane E Vino, where in LA do you enjoy eating?
My favorite places to dine besides Pane e Vino are Katsu Sushi on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, and Hirozen on Beverly and Orlando.
All photos provided courtesy of Rod Dyer.