Konnichiwa’s identity was based upon providing a premium and authentic fusion of Indo-Japanese cuisine catered to millennials who love experimenting. Hence the brief focused on finding a playful and refreshing balance between India as well as Japan and not centering the language towards either one of them. The client wanted the brand’s visual identity and the packaging to reflect the same idea of such a warm and fun environment. As a result, the logo was reworked upon, the brand identity, packaging collaterals, and social media were created as our primary goals to exhibit these values.
Team- Shreya Dhar & Raageshwari Kandaswamy (Designers), Saadhvi Chopra & Saraansh Chopra ( Founders & Marketing Team)
Konnichiwa is a new Japanese delivery kitchen focusing on serving mainly sushi. The flavours of Authentic Japanese are too delicate for Indian palates. Besides, Indians are revolted by the thought of eating raw fish. They want to change that and make sushi easily available to everyone. It is not sushi in the sense that the Japanese know it. Our mission has been to provide high-quality food for all those who wish to combine fun with skillful cooking into one extraordinary dining experience.
| The Big Idea
- The branding of the restaurant has to flow smoothly across different communication platforms. Having analyzed the target audience and competitive brands, we came up with the idea of designing the illustrations and typography that makes the buyer feel a sense of belonging to the community of Konnichiwa.
- After exploring the Japanese culture and food, we got inspired by Japanese characters like Ninja girl, Maiko, sushi chef, and more. The incorporation of patterns on attires of the character sings about the uniqueness of the restaurant.
- Through this and several other discoveries, a mood board was created to reflect these core values of the brand.
- The design direction board was broadly divided into two concepts, Geometric and Organic.
| Reiterating the Logo
While starting our internship off at Konnichiwa, the client having done their TG research, provided us with the only part of their visual identity that was pre-designed which was the logo. The important factor to consider here was the readability. We reviewed the logo and even though they strongly liked it, we suggested revising a secondary and tertiary logo in places where the legibility of the vertical word marks decreases. We iterated the placement of the logo to see what could fit in the best in smaller spaces and also match with their ideal of fun and family. We added elements like chopsticks instead of two lines as well as a sushi pattern in the dot to bring relevance to the placement of the chopsticks. Though we suggested going for the sushi with lesser lines, the client gave a go-ahead for the detailed sushi circle.
| Thoughts for visual starters
We were initially briefed about the client’s flexibility towards working with several ideas and hence we started making some mood boards to understand what they were leaning towards. The mood board combined all facets from traditional Japanese visual designs to a more recent character-focused approach
Post the mood board review, the one thing that the client gravitated towards was the need to have a vibrant and bright colour palette without it looking too child-like. Hence the third mood board with vibrant colours and characters was chosen for us as a base to work further upon.
1.Initially, since the scope for design was pretty wide, We tried to bring in various styles. This was done to capture what the client was inclining towards in terms of look and feel.
The geometric approach was inspired by the food ingredients. The patterns and character is made from geometrical shapes that allow both the whole and in parts to stand in the eye of the observer. The ratio of small parts and big images gave us the freedom to play with the composition.
Post the feedback, we had finally gathered all their likes and dislikes. The organic direction was selected by the client, the fluidity of the forms could be translated as inspiration from something literal. We reworked some of our older forms while researching different ingredients used by Konnichiwa that we could incorporate in our design for it to display a potentially deeper thought process.
Side by side, a foundation was also being laid out concerning the colour palettes. Different variations of colours were tried based on the client feedback that solely stressed upon the brand being youthful and experimental, nothing traditional. Upon reviewing these iterations, the colour palette and forms were finalized.
We were also given design directions by them related to how they wanted their packaging to look. For the ramen bowl, they wanted something see-through while for the different variants of the sushi boxes they asked for different sizes of the sushi trays to the box dimensions.
- After a review, the client made it clear that they didn’t want the packaging to depict characters that would appeal to a certain younger TG. As they wanted to cater to a relatively older audience, they preferred something more literal than metaphoric.
- Amongst the two approaches that we explored i.e an organic and geometric approach, the client went ahead with the organic approach as it was modern and more customizable across different platforms.
- Clients felt it could have been less vibrant in colour scheme and the fluidity could have been more minimalistic.
- Post the design, the clients approached the printing centres. incorporating many colours in the packaging and die-cut in ramen bowl exceeded their budget and approached us for a more minimalistic and budget-friendly design.
- The first iteration of design language was felt a bit chaotic and ubiquitous. They felt a more minimalistic approach in the packaging would make the audience connect more with the Konnichiwa characters and hence the brand.
| Diving into the Main course — Visual Identity
- The colours were an open ground for us to explore. The client wanted a youthful and non-traditional approach while we aimed for something meaningful. A Meal Should Represent the Five Colors: In Japan, the five elemental colours are red, green, yellow, white, and black. Chefs try to include all five in a single meal, which serves to achieve a balance of nutritional benefits as well. Bringing the two together, we had a look at their experimental cuisines which also incorporated a lot of colours and tried to bring about some resemblance! The client selected a bright colour palette keeping in mind their customer base who wouldn’t buy anything that doesn’t stand out.
2. The font we initially explored was High voltage and Montserrat. We realized how high voltage didn’t work because of its grunge nature while Montserrat wouldn’t build a mark due to its common usability in today’s designs. After a font search, we finalized Potta One a Japanese brush font, Aeonik-a san serif font for clearer texts, and Happy Hints for places where a little scribble or two is required to add some funk.
3.The client wanted to break away from the monotony of solid colours. Hence, textures were added. The patterns of different ingredients used in the Japanese style of cooking were replicated, some literal while some maintained the abstraction. Amongst these, patterns for the water, salmon, togarashi, caviar, and sushi rice were finalized.
| Brand Application Collaterals
After critical reviewing, monetary restrictions, and talking to the users, we concluded that the client had now diverted to a particularly minimal approach with realistic characters to cut costs on embossing and excessive print ink. Instead, they wanted catchy copies on the cover that could attract millennials for an Insta worthy sushi experience.
The Alternate Approach
The reason for the alternate approach was to also have a collection in place when they expand their business and have a wider margin for accomodating these designs in their packaging.
To view the final design direction and collaterals, do visit https://www.behance.net/gallery/116993965/Konnichiwa-Brand-Identity-and-Packaging-Design
- Packaging Design(Sushi boxes and chopstick covers)
After a month of brainstorming, discussing, and putting ideas together, we came up with the full brand package. Even though the client went ahead with the minimal approach due to their restrictions, we selected the design they liked the most. Working on the feedback of making it less chaotic, we chose a simpler top with a quote and debossed salmon pattern as well as the logo to give off a premium look while the sides were bordered around with the same patterns to still maintain relevance to the cuisine they are eating!
2. Menu card Design
For the menu card design, we came up with an idea to design the heading in interesting typography that depicts the food itself. After publishing the final design, we felt the menu card could look more interesting. We designed a 5-page menu card that looks colourful and has pages of different sizes which lets the audience choose easily in order from starters and soups to mains.
The two main goals of creating a social media feed for the brand are
1.Let the audience explore and see a variety of Japanese cuisine dishes and energize their taste palate cravings.
2.Help the audience understand the feel of the brand and take comfortable dish choices.
To maintain cohesiveness, we gave colour codes to each menu dish. The patterns and shapes dance to other posts helping the user see interactively.
1. Feedback was very subjective and sometimes it didn’t coincide with our thought process.
2.Since we were working from home, interactive collaboration among cross-culture was a very new challenge.
3.Implementation was a challenge for working on a real-time project where people were set distances apart, the designers in Mumbai while the Founder in Delhi. It made us understand business, marketing, and budgeting better.
We are superheroes!!
Like any superhero, we fought bravely with challenges and came up with solutions that would make our dream come true without any compromises.
We started collaborating on Miro, which is a collaborative software that helped us in impactful brainstorming.
We spoke to a lot of people and received, varied feedbacks, analyzed it and put our thoughts, and then integrated it into chunks of information.
We interacted with the marketing team and asked doubts on marketing and budgeting and they explained everything patiently.
| Ending it with dessert — The Final Thoughts
The first-time experience of working on a real-time project will always be cherishable to us. We learned a lot about setting realistic deadlines and negotiating our compensation better.
A note to ourselves,
1. Think bigger
2.Do not assume the audience’s perspective
3.Maintain a healthy work-life balance
4.Problem-solving — every day
5.Observe and listen more
6.Never give up and think the path that’s forward
Thank you so much for giving this a read. Hope you had an appetizing meal!!