Drink sake, stay soba! Gather your closest friends for a crazy good time with crazy good food at Hamaru—a hip-and-happenin’ izakaya by chef Niño Laus. Hamaru serves mind-blowing izakaya-style food, pairing modern Japanese cuisine, featuring yakitori, sushi, and sake culture with just a dash of crazy.
The idea was to bring izakaya and the sake culture from the city roads of Japan to the streets of Manila—all with a flair perfect enough to keep clients wanting to come back for more.
Hamaru originally started hidden in a food park in Quezon City with a vision to cater (not just good but) devastatingly good food with a unique, modern take. Eventually, the restaurant moved to the heart of the social scene Poblacion. With lockdown protocols in place, Hamaru sits in wait for the much anticipated return of the nightlife—but the crew can still be contacted for an out-of-this-world sake experience.
Looking to start with not a whisper but a bang, Japanese izakaya Hamaru brought the challenge to our studio’s table to mold their brand into one that exuded the right amount of crazy and addicting.
After some bottles of sake, we found a way to perfectly enmesh the long-standing spirit of izakayas and sake with modernity. We came down to the root of the culture: crazy good food always equates to a crazy good time.
Hamaru's vision is to bring the izakaya and sake culture from the Land of the Rising Sun to the Pearl of the Orient's shores. We used red as the iconic color in our visuals to represent the cuisine's roots, offsetting against dark blue or black for a striking contrast.
Japan’s known for its ultra-modern society with an underlying belly of weird, lending us a contemporary, super-bold brandmark.
With a brand unafraid to break from the norm, we had the distinct opportunity to conceptualize a unique and modern flair that would scream ‘Hamaru’ from blocks away. We pivoted away from the conventional imagery of Japanese restaurants and stepped into a wittier, cheekier direction.
Breaking away from the conventionally strict Samurai imagery, we made the distinct choice to portray them in casual settings (grooming each other, getting drunk, etc.).
Creating a stark contrast from the thicker, heavier feel of the logo, we provided light texture and rough detailings in the illustrations—calling to mind the traditional techniques of Japanese woodblock printmaking.
For brand collaterals, we created a myriad of collages and mixed vintage Japanese comics, old-school ads, and traditional paintings—as if transporting clients to the well-known joints of after-hours Tokyo: a dizzying frenzy of izakayas that light up the night, calling for clients to have a good time.
Hamaru’s crew is decked out in a simple tee with the bold red brand colors against a black field, and “banzai” (cheers!) emblazoned on the back.
Accompanying Hamaru’s tagline in blazing red neon lights is a contemporary mural of a geisha watching over customers—inviting everyone to sit back, drink sake, and stay soba.