BPO


Roster Bar & Restaurant by Bond, Finland

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Logotype and branded apron by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

Roster is a bar and restaurant on the corner of Pohjoisesplanadi and Unioninkatu in the Tori Quarters of Helsinki. It features an impressive interior made up of custom furniture with a vintage twist, raw and refined materials and hand-picked design objects. Although sophisticated in its design, Roster is a casual rather than formal dinning experience.

The eclectic but cohesive style that proliferates interior, its high-quality food but with a more informal service, and the brisk and humorous character of Roster’s two founders informed the development of the restaurant’s brand identity. This is characterised by typographical contrast and a series of tattoo-inspired illustrations created by graphic design studio Bond. This links a variety of printed assets that included business cards and menus, as well as uniforms and awnings.

Logotype and signage by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

Interior of Helsinki restaurant and bar Roster

Interior of Helsinki restaurant and bar Roster

Roster has a lovely interior design, also created by Bond, with plenty of material, form and colour contrast, yet a pleasant continuity throughout. There is a neat juxtaposition of delicate metal work and large upholstered shapes, wood and metal surfaces, fine detailing and statement pieces. Lighting, colour and space moves between the dark and cozy and the light and spacious. It is thoroughly contemporary but with an almost period elegance in materials and finish. Brand identity manages to draw this out through typographical juxtaposition, whilst working in some of the character of Roster’s founders and service in the use of illustration and staff photography.

Interior of Helsinki restaurant and bar Roster

Wordmark by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

Brand identity by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

There four choices at work, that together, pretty much cover Roster’s restaurant and bar experience. La Pontaise alongside L10 from Or Type mixes a calligraphic elegance with a modern restraint and simplicity of form, and a custom typeface of irregular strokes and rough edges, in conjunction with an old style serif plays with of what might be considered the formality of the past and a very current informal attitude to dining.

Brand identity by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

The contrasting of type is far from unusual. It is frequently used to provide both visual interest and communicative breadth to a piece of work. Check out Glasfurd & Walker’s work for Earls.67, an acute mash-up which plays with past and preset. What you see less often, and even less successfully, is the compounding of four within single words. It is incredibly difficult to pull off, but here, and for the most part, it works. Kerning conventions give way to an optical balance, with consideration given to weight and shape. Differences, and the communicative intention that underpins these, are evident and contribute to a greater whole.

The interior design is full of character, however, outside of this, in the form of campaigns, signage, posters, any other visual tool, brand identity manages to work together and express, not only the material quality of bar & restaurant, but also some of its ambience and character.

Brand identity by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

Branding and embroidered uniform by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

The character of custom type also plays out in the drawing of tattoo-inspired illustration that run across print and website. Again, it is a familiar visual tool, effectively leveraging association, but in a way that contributes another well-intended expression to a broader experience without either getting lost or dominating. The way that these manage to move between the simple black ink of menus, simple images punctuating the website and the more high quality gold embroidery of uniforms is a particular highlight, and really captures the essence of the restaurant.

Online highlights include the dynamic changing letterforms of logotype, the personable way in which staff photography has been art directed, the illustrated staff heads and imagery, and the way that these more convivial elements have been worked together alongside the rich detail of more fine dining dish photography. Much like interior, and as distilled down into type, website is made up of a few different ideas, neatly resolved.

Branding and embroidered uniform by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

Branding and embroidered uniform by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

Brand identity and menu design by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

For the most part, the juxtaposition of type works well, particularly when worked together within single words and within logotype. Across menu, where font is used to pull out specific dishes, it feels a touch more haphazard, far less resolved. Weight and size may well intend to direct the eye to some preferable house specials, but visually it looks awkward, and looses some of the personality and attitude established elsewhere.

Branding and menus by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

Logotype and gold foiled business cards by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

BP&O regularly writes about, within the context of restaurants, cafes and bars, the idea of brand identity as either distilling down and expressing, in a fairly straightforward manner, experience, or contributing to it with new visual elements. Bond’s work for Roster does a bit of both, it captures and conveys some of the material and menu, in type and print finish, but also adds a distinctive an unexpected quality on top through image, informed by the less tangible, and the way this is then worked into interior through print and uniforms. More work by Bond on BP&O.

Design: Bond. Opinion: Richard Baird. Fonts Used: L10La Pontaise.

Brand identity and illustration by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

What do you think of Bond’s brand identity for Roster? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or get the conversation started on Twitter.

Logotype, business cards, menus and uniforms by Bond for Helsinki bar and restaurant Roster

If you liked this then you may also like:

Branding – Paley  Branding – Earls.67  Branding – Kimski


  • yng yng

    Some elements seems to disconnect from the main brand. I love the interior, the logo and the uniforms! But using the mix and match of typefaces doesn’t work for the menu or long sentences, it’s much better when it’s short and stacked in the logo.