A design agency in Hong Kong has rebranded one of the region’s most established and beloved bars

.Oddity Studio in Hong Kong takes a contemporary twist on the stories of Hemingway in The Old Man bar’s new visual identity.

5 April 2022


It was never going to be an easy task to redesign The Old Man bar, one of Hong Kong’s most beloved bars in the business right now. But, five creatives at the Hong Kong-based .Oddity Studio have risen to the task: giving a bar with a cult-following a refreshed and innovative identity for its patrons. It’s full of “multilayered compositions with photography and expressive typographic layouts,” says Alice Mourou, creative director and founder of the studio. “The brief was to re-brand a well established bar and to give it a burst of energy to prove things are indeed getting better with time,” she adds. It’s a tie-in to The Old Man’s use of aged alcohol and innovative cocktails, which provided a wealth of inspiration for the studio. “We kept the original symbol of the bar and turned it into a system of dynamic shapes that still keep that recognisable visual, yet are more flexible and playful,” says Alice.

More interestingly, the bar has chosen to tie-in its identity with literature – much to the delight of the team at .Oddity. “We had to introduce a great deal of Hemingway’s writings, his life and work into the bar,” Alice explains to us. “The challenge was to adapt quite wordy content for the menu, with stories for each cocktail, a lot of information that can not be just simply laid out as a body copy as no one would read it in a busy bar.” To do so, the studio experimented with shapes and motion, “making it relevant to today’s social media which is anything but static,” says Alice.

Gallery.Oddity Studio: The Old Man (Copyright © .Oddity Studio, 2022)

It wasn’t just literature that helped .Oddity’s vision come to life. “The name of The Old Man inspired the ‘and the sea’ hint of blue colours within our visual language,” Alice tells us on the typographic aspect of the redesign. “Typeface choice is a quite obvious homage to the typewriter: we picked GT Alpina and GT Alpina Typewriter, with a particularly pointed pen sealing our choice.” Tapping into the bar’s mostly-digital communications (across social media), .Oddity also worked on motion design to grab audiences’ attention. “This medium of type in motion inspired us to create more playful and experimental layouts that are used in both print and digital.”

Now, The Old Man has a beautiful visual tapestry to accompany its stunning menu, with everything from colour combinations to the “humorous falling letters reflecting on Hemingway’s irony and boldness,” Alice explains. “And each cocktail has a connected story: the ‘Fisherman’ cocktail type layout has the shape of a fishing rod, for example.” We know where we’ll be stopping by for a drink the next time we’re in Hong Kong.

Gallery.Oddity Studio: The Old Man (Copyright © .Oddity Studio, 2022)

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.Oddity Studio: The Old Man (Copyright © .Oddity Studio, 2022)

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About the Author

Joey Levenson

Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.

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