Responses by &Walsh
Background: Zööba is an Egyptian street food restaurant based in Cairo, Egypt. With the opening of its first store in NYC, the restaurant came to us for a new brand identity. Zööba wanted modernized branding that held the integrity of its Cairo roots while connecting with the NYC consumer.
Reasoning: It was essential to us to bring authentic elements of Egypt into the branding. We went to Cairo and were inspired by the beauty of the layered visuals we saw on the streets: the hand-painted typography on the side of the foul carts, geometric patterned tapes, mix and matched colored tiles, and the posters and painted illustrations on the walls.
We used this inspiration to create the brand identity for Zööba. We worked with a Cairo-based calligraphy artist to paint the Arabic type for the branding. We layered this with modern versions of patterns and illustrations inspired by the streets of Cairo. We created illustrations that combined elements of NYC and Cairo. We paired the visuals with friendly and quirky copy, giving the brand an approachable and light-hearted feel. Just like its food is a modern twist on traditional classics, we aimed to do this with the visual language.
Challenges: It was important for us to express the Cairo inspired visuals and Arabic typography correctly and authentically throughout the branding and illustrations. The Zööba clients were great partners guiding us through this process.
Favorite details: The hand-painted mural in front of Zööba’s restaurant in Nolita. The mural is a great representation of the overall Zööba brand identity, featuring the geometric shapes and hand-painted typography. It is amazing to see the branding at a large-scale.
Visual influences: On our trip to Cairo, we took many photos of the foul carts and architecture around the city. From these photos, we took inspiration from the different shapes and patterns, as well as the hand-painted Arabic on the signage.
Anything new: Zööba is one of the first fast casual Egyptian street food restaurants in lower Manhattan, so we learned a lot about Egyptian street food. Now the studio loves tahina and dukka fries!