Bandit cafe gets (b)ready to open with an identity full of freshly baked motifs

Throwing off overbaked tropes of minimalist cafe branding, Valenlim Studio creates a bandit mask logo made from a baguette.

Date
18 March 2022

We don’t know if it’s the warm sunny day the Bandit identity photos were shot on, or the delicious-looking details that appear throughout, but the newest work from Valenlim Studio makes us want to drop everything and visit the cafe – or at least, pop that last slice of Hovis in the toaster. Valen Lim, the designer behind Valenlim Studio, has delivered the identity for the new Kuala Lumpur-based cafe venture in collaboration with designer Hammam Hidayat, aiming to create comforting branding that would entice passersby. The result is a masterclass in making playful details feel considered.

For starters, images of bread have been worked ingeniously into the identity, starting with a logo that sees a bandit mask mimic the shape of a loaf. Other playful design elements include an interactive menu that folds out to reveal two eye holes, allowing customers to peek through the bandit mask. Elsewhere, a croissant-shaped door handle can be spotted amongst the interior design, bringing the theme to physical applications. To ensure that the brand identity was applied to all visible signage within the cafe, Valenlim Studio worked with BoonMan Phum and Leonard Lim for the interior, who created a full set of brand collaterals. The project is a wonderful example of how the two areas can work in tandem; the wooden details from the building have also inspired some of Valen Lim’s graphic work.

Valen Lim also created the illustration for another visual signature on the work: the racoons. Playing with sizing to make the characters a bold feature within the cafe, the racoons appear in a series of graphics engaged with everyday activities, alongside taglines such as “break(in) bread” and “wearetroublebakers”, aiming “to up the playful factor”, Valen Lim tells us.

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Valenlim Studio: Bandit Cafe identity (Copyright © Bandit, 2022)

“There are many minimalist-themed cafes around Kuala Lumpur and we wanted to do something different to stand out,” Valen Lim continues. “I feel that Malaysian customers sometimes hesitate to explore new cafes or spaces, especially when it’s located within the neighbourhood, so the door handles featuring the freshly baked loaf of bread and croissant is a fun way to tell them what the cafe is all about.”

In an effort to prioritise a welcoming, comfortable space, earth-toned shades of light and dark green, beige, dark brown, and hints of yellow were used in the design. They all serve to complement the wooden fixtures in the cafe – “As if the raccoon mascot is hiding in the woods!” adds Valen Lim. For the logo and header typeface, Grenette by Colophon Foundry emphasises friendliness; Greed by Displaay Type Foundry was used for body copy on the menu and lightbox signages for the contrast it creates. For a final, very welcoming touch, brand photography has been shot by Isaac Tan and HeeHee Tan.

GalleryValenlim Studio: Bandit Cafe identity (Copyright © Bandit, 2022)

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Valenlim Studio: Bandit Cafe identity (Copyright © Bandit, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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