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Case StudyJul 13, 2023

Contemporary identity for a traditional Japanese restaurant by Blok

Written by Vanessa Eckstein RGD
4 art designs leaning on the wall

By Vanessa Eckstein RGD, Founder and Creative Director at Blok design

Ryuko is a new Japanese kitchen and bar restaurant in Calgary offering a space to connect through the value and love for food. Blok was commissioned to design the identity.

One of the most important considerations was ensuring the design did not fall into visual cultural cliches, leading Blok to develop new ways to celebrate the richness of Japanese tradition in the visual language.

Ryuko menu

Blok designed a flexible system that takes a contemporary approach to traditional Japanese sensibility, textures and imagery. In the research phase, the team explored historical iconography, a plethora of traditional Japanese woodcuts and designs highlighting simplicity, balance and harmony forming a base for the typography, colour palette and visual language.

Ryuko in Japanese means both dragon and tiger, which captured perfectly the strong yet complementary personalities of the restaurant owners. Blok incorporated a tiger/dragon icon which enriched and graphically balanced, in the most simplified, minimalistic way, these two animals that carry so much meaning in Japanese culture.

Ryuko brand identity stamps in red and blue

Blok also designed a custom stamp that was produced in Japan and used rice paper for the omakase menu that changes daily.


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