In the summer of 2011, when I was lingering in the Time Square shopping mall, I suddenly received a phone call from the owner of New Forest Restaurant. He probably found my contact details from my website. He told me the brand of the restaurant needed a revamp, so we met up at one of their restaurants in North Point and started the journey.
Lewis is one of the owners of the restaurant, and now they have a total of 5 branches scattered around Hong Kong. This was one of my favourite restaurants when I was working on an agency film in 2003. Their signature dishes are a variety of baked dishes. The restaurants were opened in 1998, over 10 years ago, and Lewis said there is something wrong with the branding. He didn’t know what the problem was and which part was wrong, but he and the partners didn’t feel happy with the visual.
After the two hour meeting I started to write the proposal and list out what to do to improve the brand gradually.
The Old Logo
The old logo was composed from the outline of a tree, and the creator tried to tie in an acronym for the restaurant, NFR. The idea is not bad but the result is ugly. The 1st impact of this visual is childish, too whimsical, and not professional in terms of design sense. And really, who will care about the letters NFR in the logo?
Besides the logo mark, the font is also a disaster. The Chinese words look like they were written by a six year old fat boy, and have nothing in common with the English font. The two styles are totally without any relationship, and this font is dated and fit for a 1980s night club. This is the main reason why the visual is hard to etch into people’s mind. When people talk about New Forest, they can barely remember the tree logo and I bet no one knows the English characters are inside the tree.
So now the first step of the project is to get rid of the old clumsy, childish logo and rethink a completely new one.
Since the signature dishes of New Forest are baked dishes I think this should be one of the key elements of the logo. Another thing that should change is the font. What is needed is not merely a font, but a logotype or a graphic presentation of Chinese and English words.
The New Logo
The logo mark idea is very simple, just the integration of a tree, baked dish and food aroma, and the visual is simple, strong and more relevant to the forest theme. For the logotype I created completely new Chinese characters to cope with the forest theme using the tree shapes as the key element, and Chinese customers can now easily digest the message from the logo. I put the English logo subtly underneath the huge Chinese logotype since the major target audience is local Cantonese people, and therefore the English words are relatively less important.
A Brand New Start
Compared to the old logo, the new one is a huge improvement in terms of shape and color, and the visual is now professional with a much better balance between the graphic and characters. And the next step is to apply this new image into the shop front, menus, poster and so on. The project is still ongoing and will finish with a book of corporate identity guidelines in order to keep consistency in the future.
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I’m Alan Lee, a graphic designer based in Hong Kong. My portfolio is an eclectic mix of national and international clients from US, Russia, Estonia, China, and Australia, creating logos and brand identities for companies of all sizes. Having worked on several international design projects since 2004, I’ve gained an in-depth understanding of global design concepts.Monogum Creative Official Site.