Bao buns and brand strategy: how How&How created Yum Bun’s undeniably joyous identity system
Found at the hearts of London’s Spitalfields Market and Seven Dials Market, Yum Bun offers the English capital the best in feel-good Japanese tastes, having launched over a decade ago as the city’s first steamed bun vendor. Based across LA, London and Lisbon, design studio How&How took on the challenge to rebrand London’s first streetside bao bar, resulting in an identity as light, playful and enticing as the buns themselves, epitomising the eatery’s role in shaping the capital’s contemporary cuisine scene.
“The logo is based on the bold footprint of Japanese Hanko stamps,” Creative Director Christian Beck tells us, discussing Yum Bun’s typographic centrepiece and the intrinsic influence of culinary contrasts. “It’s inspired by Yum Bun’s culinary approach of merging classical and contemporary and East meets West,” Beck explains, “we took the monospace footprint and boldness of these ancient kanji stamps,” he suggests, building a bespoke wordmark, structurally opting for Leme’s Ogre Mono Grotesk as its base. “We then added an uplifting twist based on a sunrise or ‘bunrise’ as we liked to call it,” he adds, turning to Luzi Type’s Faro as its supporting typeface, “adapting it to seemingly rise like their infamous buns.”
How&How’s velutinous tone, guided by its concept, ‘bounce and rise,’ is driven by the studio’s meticulous, sensory-led brand strategy developed for Yum Bun, shaping a distinctive, unapologetically joyous tone of voice. A tone, we’d suggest, which is no greater embodied than in the brand’s happy hand-rendered bao buddy. “Our brand idea ‘bounce and rise’ was a call to raise the bar on quality and ethical standards in street food,” Beck remarks, “but also a nod to the lovely gently rising steam and softness of the bao buns,” he notes, detailing the concept’s influence on the brand’s colour choices. “We wanted to create the impression that these little balls were like soft pillowy clouds of flavour fusion,” Beck concludes, “as a result, we chose soft, ambient colours which suggested warmth, fluffy sky gradients and sunrises,” fully encapsulating Yum Bun’s unique vibe and character.