Light guided journey
visual design, brand strategy, research
The project was initiated to establish the brand identity of the aromatherapy and healing business “Light guided journey”. It was important to work closely together with the client to match their needs and find a way to best represent the business as well as the person behind the business. A core value of Light guided journey is to make healing more accessible to the general public, through the combination with aromatherapy.
For this restaurant project, I decided to go for a vegetarian restaurant, as I myself am vegetarian and living in a suburban city in Japan made me miss having an abundance of vegetarian restaurants. I have been raised to be very conscious and respect all living beings and I wanted the restaurant to reflect this, as well as my love for cozy places that you can relax in. Combining my idea of the mandala, a beautiful homogenous pattern that you can color in, with the Japanese understanding of the mandala, a Buddhist representation of the universe, wholeness, and the structure of life, led me to create a concept of a vegetarian consciousness café. The café would serve the food of Japanese Buddhist monks –shojin ryori– which is a way of eating that is both good for the environment as well as for the physical and spiritual health and incorporates seasonal and local vegetables. The end result has been highly influenced by my personal background as well as by my many intercultural experiences.
curing means getting rid of a disease, while healing means becoming whole
– Kelly A. Turner
The client had very specific visions of how they wanted to be represented. The focus was clearly on the color choice and the main element of the spiral. The challenge was to meet these specifications, while still creating a functional, legible logo. This was challenging as the colors chosen were low contrast colors and the background was a very bright blue and white sky. Another challenge was creating a brand image that represents the spiritual nature of the business but is still trustworthy and accessible to the general public.
In order to make the yellow spiral and writing visible on the bright background, without losing the overall mood a white mask was applied to the background around the yellow to create more contrast. Combining of the photographic background, as well as the incorporation of Ursula, the owner of Light guided journey, helped to bring a modern point of view to the traditional spiral image and added personality to the brand image.
In order to understand the Japanese, and Buddhist, understanding I did some general research on Mandalas.
Caring, environmentally friendly, open-minded people
The imaginative Restaurant was developed in Japan with an understanding of the Japanese culture and its understanding of Mandalas in the context of Japanese Zen Buddhism. It is however targeted to an international market bringing a piece of Japanese culture into other countries. As the Restaurant concept is one of a vegetarian “consciousness” café serving Japanese monk food, the main target audience is young, open-minded individuals that care for the environment and are conscious about their ecologic footprint and their health and wellbeing. They value good locally sourced food.
The audience is a very caring and conscious one, so transparence and clearness of the concept is important. To ensure this the overall concept has been included in the design of the menu. Further, this target audience expects authenticity, this has been considered in research of the meaning of mandala in the Japanese and Buddhist context, as well as research on the shojin ryori food that is served in the restaurant. This research has been underdone in Japan and the designs were all critiqued by Japanese students and professors. As the mandala has been taken out of its original context in a lot of western cultures and is known as beautiful patterns often seen in tattoos or adult coloring in books, this expectation has also been considered and the design is a combination of a color and pattern study of the older, traditional, Buddhist mandalas and the overall layout and design of the modern, western, take on the mandala. Thus, the design ensures that both audiences, with the Japanese or Western understanding, can relate to it.
INITIAL LOGO SKETCHES
according to the research on the origin of the mandala, and the new concept for the Shojin Ryori food, first logo sketches were developed.
After considering feedback, the logomark was taken into illustrator and was refined according to further feedback.
The final logo was refined to be simplistic, well legible and memorable. The colors were chosen to be a modern light blue combined with warm tones of orange and brown.
INITIAL MENU SKETCHES
The best elements of the initial menu ideas were combined, and the design was developed in illustrator.
The color choice for the first draft of the logo was determined by the logo colors as well as adding colors such as green tones to represent the plant-based nature of the food served in the restaurant.
Refining the color choice
As the colors of the first draft were perceived too cute and playful a traditional mandala was sampled to develop a more sophisticated and elegant color pallet.
A paper structure was added as an extra element to give the design more depth and make it overall more interesting.
In this first finish, the new color palette was integrated into the design. Further inspired by the original Buddhist’ mandalas small graphic elements in a gold-tone were added to elevate the design.
INITIAL BAG & EXTRAS SKETCHES
templates for the different bags were developed in illustrator.
REFINING THE BAG LAYOUT
As the main focus should be on the design and the overall concept of it worked best, the goodie bag of the gift bag was chosen to be refined and finalized.
To go with the overall theme and atmosphere of the restaurant, coloring in coasters, pens and a candle would come inside the bag. This way the patrons could have another moment of relaxation at home coloring the coasters with the candle lit.
Further a box for the coaster and the crayons was developped
THE FINAL OUTCOME
conscious – local– tranquil – balanced – wholesome – elegant
As a dual citizen of Germany and Australia and with a lot of experience of living in and adapting to different cultures, I am highly sensitive to the cultural aspect and was thus able to develop a final product that ties in to multiple cultures and could function in an international context as well as in a local one (Japan). While I am a good observer and sensible to local cultures I also bring in a different perspective as I have an outsider viewpoint, this allows me to bring in new and innovative ideas.