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Brand Strategy, Business Tips & How To's, Design Strategy, Space Design

At Zeitgeist, we design experiences for people.

The best way to do this we feel, is to design a space keeping its “soul” in mind.

For a private project, this “soul” may be reflective of an individual’s (or group’s) aspirations, personality or achievements. For a commercial project, it should be reflective of the venture’s brand. In both cases the experience is designed keeping the end user in mind.

The best opportunity to do this arises when a concept is born, but its personality (brand) has not yet been developed.

One of the instances where Zeitgeist had the opportunity to develop a brand and then give it life via a space and brand extensions was when a client presented us with their idea of developing an authentic Italian pizzeria in Whitefield, Bangalore.

Understanding The Personality

The project proposed by the client was for their flagship restaurant, which they had plans to expand into a chain in the future. Upon immersing ourselves into a Brand Development Workshop with the client, it was clear that their USP was to be an authentic Italian pizzeria.

As part of the Brand Audit process, we conducted in depth research into our target market – expatriates – using Focus Groups as our methodology for this particular project. We chose this method, since we were given a very clearly defined market segment. (You can read more about the relevance of Focus Groups in the brand development process in an earlier article of ours.)

From this we understood that the target market would respond well to a homely “mamas and papas” pizzeria – the kind you’d find in a quaint alley in Naples.

Further expanding on what our research revealed, we used the framework of design thinking to design the entire experience for the end user.

Once we were clear on the brand’s personality and had ensured that it represented a match between the client’s vision and the market’s desires and expectations, we set about the Brand Development process, beginning with ideating for names, logo direction, fonts and colour palettes we thought would work.

Now that the Brand Language we needed to develop was clear, we also began to work on integrating it into the design of the space.

The proposed site for the pizzeria was an abandoned 8000 sq. ft. industrial warehouse that had previously been used to manufacture aeronautical parts.

Speaking the Language

The finalised Brand Name, Affettato – Italian for “sliced”, represents authenticity, while alluding directly to the product.

Staying true to being authentic, we proposed retaining the feel of the old warehouse and developed a Space Design that would tie in nicely with the Industrial look trending across the globe. The idea was to give the customer the feeling that he could be at a trendy, hip restaurant in any part of the world.

Nothing says ‘authentic’ like inviting a customer into the process, and so we developed a plan wherein the kitchen wall would be conceptualised as the window to good Italian street food. In the same vein, we also designed a large, open pizza bar, allowing for a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces, while simultaneously working this idea into the design of the logo as well.

The Logo is framed by a large cutout, just like the bar – open and authentic; the triangles represent slices of pizza, while the sans serif font is in harmony with the trendy, industrial vibe of the brand and space.

Finally, we set about extending the brand language to the Brand Collateral – including the menu and branded merchandise like pasta sauce and wine bottles.

Tying It All Together

The benefit of interweaving the brand development process with the design of a space, is that it puts us in the advantageous position of first understanding the market we are designing for.

Once we understand the end user it becomes easier to design a brand and a space that speak to each other and to the end user, and does not end up being a disjointed, unsatisfactory experience – something that benefits neither the end user nor our client.

Do you have an innovative idea or a new venture just about to take off? Using the framework of design thinking, Zeitgeist can help you develop your brand’s personality, give it a unique voice and translate it into an experience of value to your customer.

Get in touch today.


Business Tips & How To's

Once upon a time, you came up with an idea; an idea you just couldn’t let go of; an idea you believed had the potential to change lives through innovation.

After days, months and years of giving it all you have, it’s now finally time to make your case for why this labour of love of yours is worth it. We get it – it can be nerve wracking.

First, Relax. Take a deep breath and remember what led you to this point in the first place.

Next, here are a few tips that don’t tell you how to make a presentation or whether it should be a ppt, a video with Amitabh Bachchan reading the script or a simple verbal explanation of your idea – you are the best judge of that.

These tips instead offer a process to keep in mind – a process that could help you bring out the heart and soul behind your idea, highlight your commitment to the idea and showcase your ability to pull it all together.

Before you read on, there’s only one more thing left to say……Good Luck!

1. Imagine

Walk the journey in your mind over and over again. Know your story. With an investor you have 3 to 5 minutes. A compelling pitch must have an amazing opener – you have to believe you can change the world.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

Confidence only comes when you repeat your key points over and over to yourself.

3. Use Tools That Are Readily Available

Dont stress if you don’t know how to use crazy designer tools. Just a simple ppt will do. You’d be amazed at how much creativity you can draw out of it if your brand message is well defined. Remember, if you know what you are trying to communicate, you will be able to put the message across. Just give yourself enough time to visualize the journey.

4. Know Your Potential Investors

Do some research and ask around. Typically you’d look at presenting to 7-10 potential investors, before you decide to reevaluate your presentation. Look for things about your investors that might be interesting vis-à-vis industry – their personality, interests, risk appetite, corporate goals and reputation. Look for things that strike a chord with your business and can anchor down the relationship to things of common interest to drive the vision into the future together.

5. Be Honest

This is one of the most crucial elements of a good pitch and partnership. A seasoned investor will catch the ‘B.S.’ in a second. Relax. If you don’t know, you don’t know. There will always be more to discover

6. Know Your Numbers

An effective pitch is one where you leave your investors with little doubt. Of course he or she will be able to fill in the gaps, but that doesn’t show you in a very good light. Make sure you know your model, its assumptions and future projections inside out.

7. Stay Authentic

It’s easy to get carried away with your ego in the crossfire. Don’t let fear sway you. Be prepared to learn with humility, and always – stay true to your story.

Madhuri Rao
Founder & Chief – Design Strategy


Business Tips & How To's

When it comes to Space Design, be it architecture, interior design or landscape…..dealing with a fussy client who has fixed ideas and isn’t willing to budge, can be the most time consuming and stressful part of the entire project!
But, the customer is ALWAYS king, so it’s best to develop a few techniques for rolling with the punches!

Choose Your Client Wisely

This is difficult, especially when you need the bucks to sustain your business. When you can’t be choosy, know that you have got into something that will be difficult, but remind yourself of the greater purpose. Look at it as a challenge; an eventuality that you will need to confront and overcome to mature. If you have the luxury of choice, it’s simple, choose someone you would enjoy spending the next 4-12 months working with!

Build A Personal Relationship With The Client

Get to know them, spend time with them, let them get to know you, open up to them, share your journey and your tribulations on a personal and a professional front.
Be transparent and prepare the client for the murky road that lies ahead to achieve greatness. Prior to signing the contract, prepare the client for the hurdles that lie ahead, but assure them that you are their lead and will make sure to tie all loose ends and build something beautiful – achieving greatness is never a cakewalk!

Be Confident In Your Recommendations

It’s not easy to sway a fussy client and convince them to choose your way. Remember, you are the Designer. Keep the dialogue open and always assure the client that you will be incorporating their requirements. Listen to what the client wants, but be confident in suggesting what you believe will actually work.

Never Get Defensive With Your Client

This opens up a can of worms – you will go back and forth trying to prove your point, while the client will ALWAYS have their point of view. Clients generally like to have the last word, so best not to indulge in such dialogue; accept the client’s point of view and move on with the project.

Bounce Back Quickly From Unpleasant (but sometimes necessary!) Interactions

If your last communication with your client ended on a sour note, make sure you have a big smile at your next interaction. Be warm and welcoming; greet the client, ask them about their day or the weekend that just went by or talk about something interesting that happened to you before you start talking shop. Dilute the situation as if nothing ever happened and get on with what the client needs you to get done.

Treat Your Clients Like Gold

Finally, never let your client know that you are also dealing with other clients and their grievances. Your clients should feel like they are your number one priority, that their opinions are always right (even if that’s not always the case).

At the end of the day, professionalism, respect, honesty, and truly being able to listen to a client’s needs are what will make or break your business.

Raoul Parekh
Founder & Chief
Design Management


Business Tips & How To's, Design Strategy

Step – 1: Identify The Problem

To have an anchor to the process you need to begin with identifying the problem and defining it well. Often problems exist and are entangled in a larger web of co-dependent issues that need resolving also, for the problem to be resolved. When a problem statement is well defined, the rest falls into place.

Imagine a tangled ball of yarn. Step one is about loosening all the knots and tangles and straightening out the fibre to see it clearly from beginning to end.

Step – 2: Use Both Sides of Your Brain

Design thinking is about using both sides of the brain – logical and creative, simultaneously.

It is also about being able to critically observe one’s own process and consciously switch from a rational and structured way of thinking to an emotive and intuitive approach as and when required.

Step – 3: Keep The Big Picture In Mind

While distinguishing all parts of the problem and attacking them individually is the key, it is also important to zoom out every now and then to look at the general overarching problem and to make sure that the bigger picture is not being lost.

Step – 4: Be Ready To Adapt

In a tight time-resource equation, things don’t often work out as expected. This is when being level headed and adaptable – in order to find the most feasible solution – becomes a design thinker’s most valuable quality.  Stay hungry for a solution and you will find it.

In a nutshell, this is what the overall process of solving a problem using design thinking looks like: