Interview by Ida Kärrby from the magazine Cap&Design, on may 26, 2005
Ida Kärrby: I feel like Bruce Lee is going to make my Sushi, What was your inspiration to this logo?
David Shabtai: Well, first of all, I usually don't think that corporate identities and logos should consciously describe the activity of the brand. It should give a feel, try to establish connections with the audience, definitely be subjective - and this is true for the biggest companies in the world. The main concept I wanted to explore was the blend of asian foods and asian cultures, the idea of diversity: it should not be cantonese, or japanese, or something else, but a mix of it all. For that, I used oriental elements such as: verticality (both in the format and the lettering), the red, sand-color paper and white paint, the japanese drawing style of the chinese dragon. The framing (sand background) of the actual logo for instance is definitely a part of it, since it reminds of those asian paintings, where the compositions don't really go all the way to the edge. I then went for a light, modern look, in order to suggest quality and upper value.
IK: How did you create the dragon?
DS: Well the whole logo was first drawn with pencil on paper, then scanned and processed into Illustrator. I ended up redrawing the dragon completely as I touched up the letters. After that and for better accuracy, I used a few pictures of dragons I found in Google, from different angles, of different kinds, some sculptures, some paintings. The shape of the dragon was cut in several pieces that allow for going in front of or behind the letters. I used simple gradients to produce transparency effects for each portion of the dragon independently.
IK: What about your choice of colour and typography?
DS: I thought right away red was going to be part of the design because in both Asian and Western cultures, it rings with positive aspects for a store (wealth, heat, apetite, love, generosity, etc.) and immediately identifies that store as chinese or asian. Soon after, I knew I wanted to work with a sand color for the background, as an echo of some oriental papers or fabrics that designs are drawn/embroidered onto. The white and its transparency is the last element that works well in suggesting Japanese designs and paintings.
IK: Is this a design that would blend in or stand out in your neighbourhood?
DS: This design would definitely stand out! I live in a rural town in southern France, very interested in its own culture and its traditions. Besides, we are used to more clichéd designs for asian restaurants. I think this type of identity would perfectly fit in a more metropolitan area such as San Francisco, which used to be my neighborhood!
IK: Is it typical for David Shabtai?
DS: I don't know. I guess something typical of me would be the curves. It's an element I particularily enjoy using in conjunction with straight lines, for balance, harmony, and variety.
IK: Have you ever designed for a restaurant before?
DS: No, it is my first work for a restaurant.
IK: What was the hardest part about the mission?
DS: The hardest part about the mission, and about every other job, is when we have no real direction or orientation as a guide. It comes down to the our client telling us "I want my logo to reflect my business", which is part of the definition of corporate identity anyway! There were indeed many many ways in which to treat "quick, genuine, good value asian cooking".
IK: What part of the logo/design took up most of your attention and time?
DS: It depends on how you look at it. Yet study time is always the most consuming. In this case I spent I think more hours trying to come up with a global, coherent concept. As it is often the case, the more time for study, the less time to actually complete the project.
IK: If you where hungry right now, what would you eat?
DS: Sushi, sushi, sushi. And California Rolls!