About the project
Jalan Malaysia (previously Cafe Malaysia) is one of the very few Malaysian restaurants in Cardiff which is dedicated to Malaysian street food culture. When the owner Teoh approached us we could never have imagined where this journey would take us.
Teoh knew his business needed a change but didn’t know where to start. He had great plans for the future so he asked Me Design to help re-design their branding as well supporting their social media in the process.
After having our initial meeting with Teoh it was clear what the restaurant needed to communicate better with their customers. Our research showed that Malaysian culture wasn’t widely known in Cardiff so our first challenge was to educate the customers. Malaysian food had so much variety both in the types of food and the ingredients that are used to prepare the beautiful dishes.
This meant that our second challenge was to communicate the richness and variety in Malaysian Culture. Seeing Teoh’s eyes sparkle each time he talked about the food he ate when he was a child was priceless so we knew that the our third goal- to communicate authenticity. Lastly we had to communicate the street food culture and create a similar experience to Malaysian Street Food experience right here in Cardiff.
Naming: First of all we suggested a name change as Jalan Malaysia used to be ‘Cafe Malaysia’ The name needed to be original, authentic and memorable. After a wide search on Malaysian words related with street food culture, we settled on Jalan’ which simply means ‘street or road’ as well as ‘way or route’
Strategy: After setting our goals and objectives, we partnered up with Small Joys to help us strategise this journey. Small Joys did a great job on inserting our ideas into a communication strategy as well setting up Jalan’s core messages and tone of voice.
We had our own take on the street food concept and made the decision to keep it honest and use street food as inspiration instead of trying imitate an actual street food experience in Malaysia. This led to basing the branding around the idea of a travel journal, exploring new culinary delights for exotic lands afar
To bring the ideas to life we collaborated with the talented Lee John Phillips, an artist and illustrator who has an impressive collection of travel journals.Together we worked on a creative concept where the illustration style showcased the wonderful ingredients and also the street culture of Malaysia.
Interior Design Concept
We stripped the whole restaurant to create a blank canvas. Then pages of the travel journal were added to fill the walls. The ceiling design and lighting was inspired by
Teoh’s childhood memories in Malaysia; looking up and seeing congregated metal sheets and together with light bulbs hanging from the ceilings. We also collaborated with Sector Sixteen on the layout of the restaurant and furnishings to realise the full concept.