Elegant, energized, functional and integrated: the identity for this donburi cafe and milk bar in Sydney’s emerging Darling Square precinct is a resounding success. Named after the chemical dopamine, Dopa borrows a popular Japanese idiom meaning “wake from death, return to life” to use across several elements conceived by The Colour Club. Manga culture is another recurring motif for the distinctive collateral, which includes T-shirts, signage, menus and an innovative packaging system that can be easily customized to suit different customer orders. These elements, which have been thoughtfully adapted on everything from coffee cup stamps, to engravings on the ceramics, to the venue’s doorhandle, are a unified and authentic representation of the business. The inspired decision to collaborate with artist Andrew Yee has resulted in branding that is light and fun but cosmopolitan and confident.
Dopa (“dopamine”) is an inspired contemporary twist on Japanese fast-food dining – a double offering of donburi (rice bowl) restaurant and milk bar for drinks and sweets. The identity acknowledges the restaurant’s lighthearted approach to Japanese cuisine, creating an experience that feels exciting and contemporary yet rooted in tradition. The Colour Club was tasked with designing the identity and signage, which meant creating a new Japanese restaurant experience in Sydney’s Chinatown that would be unveiled alongside a whole host of new retail and hospitality offerings. At the same time, the brief called for the development of a practical and recognizable system that could be easily extended across new locations as the business grew or franchised. The identity was inspired in several parts by the restaurant’s name, its origin, and its holistic and playful approach to Japanese cuisine. Firstly, The Colour Club developed a distinct and contemporary typographic style, commissioning local artist Andrew Yee to develop a series of manga-inspired illustrations and patterns, while the art direction for photography and menu design was kept clean and minimal to allow the other brand elements space to breathe.
2 Little Hay Street
Haymarket, New South Wales
The Colour Club
Studio 3, Level 4
35 Buckingham Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Jack Baxter, Nick Mitchell, Gavin Lacanilao, Andrew Yee
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The 2020 Eat Drink Design Awards are organized by Architecture Media and supported by supporting partners Chandon Australia, Latitude and Roca.
The Eat Drink Design Awards are endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects and the Design Institute of Australia.