The partners were opening up Miyabi Uni, a new Japanese restaurant in Torrance and approached me with a need for a logo and brand identity. The client asked for a symbol of the sea urchin that would represent the Japanese heritage (incorporating the Japanese character for “miyabi”), while being modern and memorable. Their most important objective was that the logo would be easily recognizable as their brand.
Interestingly, the client already had versions of a logo from another designer that they were unhappy with, which resulted in them reaching out to me to solve the problem. Because of the lost time with the other designer, they were pressed for time and needed something quickly. Taking their brief, inspiration images, and previously rejected designs into consideration, I was able to mock-up four initial versions in two days.
The client sent me a set of inspiration images including various Japanese logos they admired, and from there I began doing research on Japanese design style. I also requested imagery, floor plans, and a description of their vision for the restaurant. Not speaking Japanese myself, I researched the meaning of the Japanese character they gave me, and even used Chinese calligraphy to paint a few versions myself before we settled on a particular typeface to carry the character.
I also researched sea urchin imagery and hand-sketched several versions of the sea urchin before taking the design to Illustrator to design a cleaner, simplified and modernized sea urchin.
The client was extremely pleased with the first round of mock-ups. As a result, we ended up trying out several more different iterations of some of their favorite concepts before settling on the final version. From here, the client was so happy with the logo that they tasked me with designing their menu, business card, website and social media assets. The result was a branding system that is consistent throughout their digital presence and on-ground through prominent signage at the restaurant. The restaurant is now a popular and well-reviewed space known for their extensive uni-infused menu, high quality ingredients and design aesthetic alike.
I was the sole designer on the project, and worked directly with the four partners as they raced to meet their restaurant launch deadline.