Brand Identity for Ichibuns Restaurant
Ichibuns was just a concept when it came to London. We brought it to life with a unique brand story and identity.
Ichibuns is the brainchild of restaurateur Robin Leigh and renowned interior designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu. The duo have worked together previously on highly successful global restaurant concepts including Zuma and Roka.
We were asked to bring the Ichibuns concept to life. To develop an accessible and versatile brand identity and tone of voice that would appeal to a global audience interested in international food and quality ingredients, and inspired by vibrant cultural experiences.
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Spinach Design | Brand Identity Agency | London
Any brand debuting on the London restaurant scene needs to do so with a bang or it will fail. So our brand for Ichibuns had to bring the noise. Turning up the volume and the contrast, we set about creating an unforgettable brand identity and dining experience that would define a new category: the Japanese super diner.
Working closely with Robin Leigh, his team and Noriyoshi’s Tokyo-based Studio Glitt, we made the Ichibuns brand from scratch. Drawing inspiration from Japan’s culinary capital Hokkaido, Tadanori Yokoo’s psychedelic pop art and the country’s cutesy culture of kawaii, we created a vibrant brandscape of vintage imagery and Japanese iconography. Our brand mark, logotype and messaging were inspired by a place (Hokkaido), a time (Shōwa era Japan) and a creative-cultural revolution that gave birth to modern Japan.
We created an identity built up of layers that can be mixed and matched, simplified or amplified, depending on the application. Wherever the brand appears, it can be adapted to its environment, such as interiors, packaging, online, etc. The effect was chaotic, eclectic and hypnotic. Our aim was to create an evocative and memorable brand identity that would be more original, more richly woven with meaning than other restaurant brands in the same space.
Ichibuns opened in London’s Soho in summer 2017 to wide acclaim. And while we can’t take credit for the unique name (a play on ichiban, Japanese for ‘number one’), we share credit with the Ichibuns team for creating the crowd-stopping brand identity. After defining the brand values, brand identity and distilling the brand story into a printed brand book – used to engage landlords and investors – we created bespoke packaging and menus for the venue, and went on to design and build the Ichibuns website.