Nupo – A Regionally Inspired Identity for a Canadian Restaurant Concept


Very often, the studio is engaged to execute a project that will go through a beautiful, creative evolution, but ultimately – for a plethora of reasons – does not reach the public eye. In this case study, we reveal the process behind a brand identity for Nupo – a restaurant concept in Calgary’s East Village.

The studio worked closely with Chef Darren MacLean and his team to find the right visual representation for Nupo – a restaurant specializing in the sustainable procurement of fresh vegetables and fish – to reflect the purity of the seasons, and the best of Canada’s indigenous ingredients. This, alongside creative butchery coupled with Japanese flavour profiles and techniques, would need to be expressed in the brand’s visual identity.

Context and Seasonality

The studio’s approach prioritized visuals that would represent brightness and positivity, stature and grounded-ness, and a natural purity in form while also embodying a sense movement. Subtle nuances in font anatomy are expressed through the angled character “ear” in the primary font, MinervaModern, in the word mark and icon, while notions of transition, seasonality, and regionality, are represented in the inclusion of the abstracted illustration of golden birch foliage. Clarity of context – Alberta, Canada – and the use of Japanese characters in the secondary logo addresses the brand’s dedication to technical ability and approach, ethos, and style. To create strength in diction, a defining line under “nu” is applied, clearly emphasizing the pronunciation of the long “u”.

Playing with Texture

Natural textures were considered to provide a platform upon which the branding would be presented – whether via signage or on a menu, also echoing and complementing the natural materials used throughout the restaurant space.

While our proposal, appreciated and liked by the client, was not produced in the end, we still feel, as always, that it is beneficial to communicate the concept and process behind our speculative design ideas.