Not being able to dine out during the beginning of 2020, created a major problem for working and non-working parents as well. Over the summer of 2020, we were also faced with realities of ignorance within the United States, which served as a wake up call for how much we had left to learn about the cultures that surround us.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, we made it our team goal to combine the concept of learning about minority cultures in America with a dining experience in a fun and educative way for kids who are stuck at home in quarantine. With Ki-dish, we wanted kids to have a stronger idea about these cultures aside from simply knowing how the food of the given culture tastes good.
The year 2020 had inevitably became a challenge in every way for all of us around the world. The impact of COVID-19 has left us struggling to find means of normalcy within our work, our personal lives, and even in the food we eat. Additionally, restaurants, especially local minority owned businesses, are grappling with the new reality of having little to no in-person dining.
Tasked with designing a restaurant brand, my team had the opportunity to receive feedback from a mother trying to adjust to quarantine life with her children. From her input, we learned about how the kids during this time were still craving new food experiences within the boundaries of their homes, since their options were limited.
Faced with the challenge to design a solution for the food industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, my team and I decided to address the issues confronting kids in quarantine.
Ki-dish: Branding for Kids in Quarantine
After our initial interview, we contemplated a few ideas that eventually led us to choosing a brand that would provide cultural kids meal options. Within our study and further research of the problem and the client, we developed the user personas.
We wanted to cater towards families with kids in the range of age 6 to 10. This age group of kids were struggling the most with transitioning online as they are still developing key skills in learning. Our program would provide them with an opportunity to learn in person like they would in a classroom through our activity books.
We wanted to support local minority-run businesses struggling in the midst of COVID-19, so we decided that each month’s featured page would collaborate with a local restaurant of the chosen culture in Philadelphia and package their food to go along with our learning activities.
We decided that the delivered food packs would contain an infographic or a coloring booklet (along with crayons or additional activity elements) presenting the specific culture we would be focusing on for the month. This would provide an interactive form of learning about the cultures for kids.
We generated a list of names that could work for our team. Looking for something fun and creative, as well as effective in telling what our brand is all about, we decided to go with “Ki-dish”. A combination of “Kid” and “Dish”, but also implying that this program is “kiddish”, in other words, kid-friendly.
In order to communicate the visual variety that this brand will entail, we decide to each feature a different culture of our choosing that exists within America for our Ki-dish branding. We created three months worth of content for the brand, featuring Bangladesh, Japan, and Greece respectively.
Designing the Logo
I wanted to showcase the main themes of our company idea through my logo, eating good food and educating kids. Finding similarities between the shape of a smiley face and a dinner plate, I found a perfect mesh of yum and fun. I wanted my logo to mimic the classic stance of a child waiting for food, eager to eat.
When considering a color palette, I wanted something fun and bright, which is why a rainbow theme appealed to me because it could bring energy and entertainment into my design. I wanted to have the classic yellow smiley face and the blue trim of the plate to associate with the blue in China and shaped the rest of my colors around those. I also ended up giving my logo an offset black outline to create definition and mimic the style of a child's coloring book.
I struggled with picking the culture I wanted to feature at first. I knew it should be a culture that has a rich history and visual content for me to expand on and experiment with. I ended up picking the Japanese culture because they have a huge influence on American culture, that not many people know about.
Japan has a vibrant past full of arts, traditions, rituals that could inspire my designs for the extension of my brand. I wanted to make the Japan feature fun and light-hearted like the rest of my brand, while also keeping the identity recognizable. I chose to highlight Kai Japanese Cuisine in Philadelphia as the restaurant that would be promoted as a part of the company's mission.
Since my brand was highlighting Japan as it’s menu of the month, I decided to make the company branding and the “Japan branding” separate. By giving the menu stylistic changes, in color palette, pattern, and logo variation, it would give the customer a clear indicator of a new menu change each month. I created a distinct fan-shaped wave pattern that would be associated with my menu as well as specific Japanese food icons.
The website for Ki-dish would be the main way for customers to engage with the products and services we provide, the layout and design would be an essential component of communication. I wanted my homepage to flow from topic to topic effortlessly, combining colors and patterns as you scroll, while still keeping the branding consistent. I also added fun bouncing hover effects to help engage children and make the website more interactive. A structured ordering system and informational guide to our deliverables was a crucial piece to the user experience, as well as keeping our information candid for parents' peace of mind.
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I originally had stationary tabs for each section on my menu, these tabs then gave me the idea for a more engaging system. I realized that having the tabs in a row along the top made the menu sections more distinct and created an easier user-flow, like you would see on tabs in a files folder. The icons and patterns used on my menu page then continued to inspire my packaging.
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I wanted the Japanese-associated deliverables I created to cross over into my packaging design, so keeping the same color palette and illustrations felt natural. Japanese food has more specific packaging requirements than other cultures. Designing aspects such as the reusable chopsticks and soy sauce containers, was necessary to the completion of my brand.
I wanted the packaging to feel cohesive, and noticeably branded. I also wanted to keep the same youthful design, as seen on my website, by adding details such as fun facts and engaging text on my packaging.
For my activity booklet, I designed and illustrated seven spreads that depict educational facts about Japanese culture. Each page has a different theme so children are able to learn about all aspects of Japan. These themes range from Japanese political icons to food and art. The illustrations also double as coloring book pages so they children are able to have a tactile experience.
A featured component of this booklet is the origami pages and instructions. Squares of paper are attached to the booklet in order for the children to practice their origami skills, and learn more about the history of origami in Japan.
From this point of the project, we started developing our individual brands and got our hands on to designing all the deliverables for our own versions of Ki-dish.