The FUTURE they PROMISED reference SOMA’s heritage and context for the bar’s timeless identity
London-based creative studio The FUTURE they PROMISED have crafted an elegant identity for SOMA, a cocktail bar that reinterprets iconic Soho speakeasies for a modern audience; finding inspiration in its Indian heritage, architecture and iconic location.
Telling this story, and graphically indicating the new direction SOMA are aiming for, the studio designed the bar’s identity, art direction and creative expression – developing an experiential and tactile visual language. This is principally demonstrated in SOMA’s expressive logomark, which references the notion of shared experience through its stacked aesthetic, as well as making reference to the calligraphic styling found in ancient Indian texts. “The logo was constructed to flow naturally,” studio founder Ross Fordham tells us, “the singular relationship between the ‘O’ and ‘S’ in particular reference the idea of a calligraphic gesture,” he adds, “and being able to write the mark in essentially two singular strokes.”
The logomark was refined in collaboration with Rotterdam-based type designer Jacob Wise, adopting his typeface Monarch with a reduced weight and emphasised letter sizing. “We added a few flourishes that spoke to the conceptual intent,” Fordham explains, “I liked the fact that in essence it’s quite a contemporary, stylised typeface but wanted to use it in a relatively refined and classic way.”
Alongside a bespoke cut of Monarch, The FUTURE they PROMISED made use of Univers Extended and Sabon as the supporting act, both of which contrast the calligraphic tone of the logomark. As a result, the visual language feels timeless, referential to both contemporary and classic eras without becoming a pastiche of either.
Sitting at the heart of the identity is its cosmopolitan use of texture and colour, providing a greater sense of luxury through its high-end print finishes and tactile paper stocks. “Colour has great symbolic power in Indian culture,” Fordham concludes, “and the inspiration came from 15th-century depictions of Holi festivals and the natural dyes and pigments used to paint them.” As a result, SOMA’s intense indigo blue is found not only throughout printed material but also across the interior textures of the bar itself.