• Transform magazine
  • September 27, 2021

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Run For The Hills creates brand identity for fine dining Indian restaurant

KHAI KHAI Multi Logo Lo

Branding and interior design studio, Run for the Hills, designed the brand identity and interior design for new, Newcastle-based Indian restaurant Khai Khai.

Having previously worked with visionary restaurateur Jaf Ali on his Dabbawal brand, the design studio was tasked with helping realise his latest venture, Khai Khai restaurant and bar, a new food and beverage concept. Khai Khai is centred around ‘Smoke play’, which aims to reflect the expertise of chefs cooking over coals, bringing to mind the shifting interaction of darkness, fire and transparency.

Quirky illustrations of village scenes, smoky painted textures and ornate lattice work patterns are central to Khai Khai’s brand DNA. Run For The Hills weaved them through different brand touch points, from the in-venue graphics and art, through to the restaurant menus and digital content. The Khai Khai logotype has three different variants, used across materials such as beer mats, gift vouchers, food packaging and team uniforms.  

“The design concept was centred around making Khai Khai effortlessly cool, keying into its heart-warming brand and cuisine story, with the added pop of Smoke Play theatre. To tell this story through the interior design, we created a suite of bespoke artworks, adapting some of the patterns and textures we designed for the visual identity into mixed-media pieces to be displayed throughout the restaurant,” says Chris Trotman, creative director at Run For The Hills.

Run For The Hills wanted to create a sense of being transported to another time and place, reminiscent of fireside gatherings, where authentic communal cooking and eating would have taken place. One of the standout features of the space is the creative signage, which takes the form of candle-light glowing lamp boxes, neon artworks and customised tube lights.

“We wanted Khai Khai to be a very different beast to our iconic Dabbawal Restaurants. Where they championed Indian Street food, Khai Khai is about celebrating the heritage of Indian cuisine, and we wanted to create not just the best restaurant in Newcastle, but in the UK. We needed to be brave with the design for this new concept,” says Jaf Ali, founder of Khai Khai.