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Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum

A fun and interactive brand

The Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum opened in 1994 as an attraction where visitors can not only learn about ramen, but eat it too. The museum features 9 restaurants, the Sunset Shopping Street, an interactive exhibit on the history of ramen, a bar, and a slot car race track. It is designed to look like a Japanese town in 1958, the year that instant ramen was created. 

With this project, I rebranded the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum in a way that highlights the rich history of ramen and traditional Japanese culture.

 

Brand Idea

My goal was to make the space and branding look fresh and updated. The demographic is 18-60+ year olds with a mix of tourists and locals. This museum is unique as it has both food and exhibit areas. It also has the potential to utilize technology as it has its own TV station playing throughout the museum. Smart phone technology is becoming a standard in public spaces, such as using apps and QR codes for experiences, so it would be beneficial to use this.

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Brand Application

Using brand applications to reinforce the brand will make the visit to the Raumen Museum memorable. It also shows to the consumer that the museum pays attention to detail. Because the restaurants and shops in the museum all have different themes, it would help to have branded items to tie them all together. Using the theme colors also helps to reinforce the idea of brand. Chopsticks are something that every visitor will need to eat ramen, there will be beer glasses at the bar, and the box packaging would be from the gift shops.

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Wayfinding

One of the strengths of the Raumen Museum is that it is a 5 minutes walking distance from the Shin-Yokohama Station, so there’s the possibility of adding signs there. Outdoor and indoor signs are essential, and since there often tourists visiting, I designed signs with English as well as using common, internationally recognized symbols.

The space is separated by floors, with the food being on the ground floor, so I kept that in mind while making signs. Since the technology is outdated, I made an interactive display with the map of Japan allowing the user to move and highlight different areas to learn about the ramen that originated there. This will be more engaging to the user. Also, there were complaints that tourists could not read exhibit signs, so there is the option to change the text from Japanese to English. The posters with the time line of ramen history has text in both languages as well.

To show the museum’s TV channel, RA-HAKU TV, I created a display using 3 different screens with bowl shaped seats surrounding it. The chairs bring a playful element to the space and the setup allows many people to watch the show at once.

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Interactive Component

Snapchat is a popular mobile app where you can share and send pictures and videos to friends. Additionally, popular destinations often have a Snapchat Geofilter, so your snaps will have an overlaying UI that shows where you are. Integrating social media is almost essential to businesses now, and many stores and companies have apps to go with the consumer’s shopping experience. 

If the Raumen Museum had a Snapchat filter, it would improve the experience of teens and adults  by adding some humor as well as a social aspect to their museum visit. It would be easy to use the filter as a lot of people already use Snapchat. Also, the Snap code, used the same as a QR code, would be on the entrance ticket, ensuring that everyone who goes to the museum will be able to use the filter.

This can also be useful in the future. The filter can be changed when the museum has an important event, an anniversary, or for a holiday, and it would be easy to re-print the Snap code on the tickets.

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Re-creating the Brand

After deciding the key words, I did sketches of abstract shapes to try and represent those concepts. The sensory experience is an important aspect of the museum, and that was the inspiration leading up to my final symbol. I also tried combining these symbols with Japanese kanji.

It is important to have a clear branding strategy to bring awareness and extend consumer loyalty. With the Raumen Museum branding, I wanted to give consumers an idea of what the museum was about before they even enter. The old logo was a seal with typography. It gave off a serious tone and was not well designed, so my goal was to give it a fun personality and try to incorporate the whole of the museum in the symbol and typography.

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Symbol Development

The symbol is comprised of the Japanese kanji for “roof” and a noodle. I experimented with angular shapes first, then free-form, curvy shapes, and came to the final symbol, which combines both aspects.

I drew the symbols then composited different parts. Both sides are disconnected  so that it has an ambiguous meaning but is still readable kanji. The accent on top has a handwritten look and the wave, or the noodle, represents the food and sensory experience of the museum.

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