Samsen is a Thai street food concept, bringing bold flavours from Thailand to bowls in Hong Kong. Headed by chef Adam Cliff, the restaurant emulates the authentic Thai street-stall vibe and flavours. Samsen is named after an area in Bangkok where historically the Chinese and Thais traded. Samsen was in the process of opening up their second venue and wanted to evolve their identity. They wanted their identity to be more detailed and sophisticated.
As the concept behind Samsen was inspired by Bangkok’s Chinatown area, kith&kin worked to bring that retro Thai feeling into the visual identity as well. To ensure the visual identity was authentically Thai, we researched Thai graphic design throughout the 20th century. We were inspired by old Thai match boxes, cigarette packets, royal letters and books for the borders in our design. We took colour references of rich reds and greens from old Thai stamps. For the typography, we looked at old advertisements.
Process & Design
The final design is more interesting and varied and it celebrates Thai authentically by paying homage to Bangkok’s Chinatown with its vintage and rustic feel. We wanted the new visual identity to be more mobile and flexible with any future growth, which is why we created a stamp system for Samsen. This new stamp system brought the whole identity together and is the core of the rebranding. We created the stamps in Thai so that the identity would be able to continuously reference back to Thai food and culture without being too obvious. We created two sets of stamps, ones that say Samsen in different styles, and ones that are representative of each menu section (e.g. curry). These stamps can be seen sprinkled across all collaterals and are even physically present at the restaurant.
We also created a custom typography as modern Thai fonts didn’t have the right vintage advertisement feel we wanted. We designed posters as well that are integrated into the interior design. These posters once again pay homage to Bangkok’s Chinatown where there is a wall of posters with large phone numbers on posters advertising businesses. We also re-designed their chilli sauce jars to help showcase their unique sauces and to give them more visibility in the restaurant.
With their refreshed visual identity, Samsen’s second venue had an extremely successful opening. Their restaurant has become a hugely popular staple among the locals and you can expect long wait lines to get in. Additionally, Samsen has enjoyed a new stream of revenue from their sauce jars.