The Bao

Brand identity, packaging and environmental graphics for a Chinese American NYC hotspot.


The Bao is a popular downtown restaurant that has been servicing the Lower East Side for over 50 years. Bringing together traditional Chinese recipes and comforting American flavors, The Bao puts a fresh and sophisticated spin on what takeout should be, and their identity needed to reflect this modern sensibility. To connect the hotspot with a younger audience, I designed a complete identity for the eatery, including bold and playful copy.


The visual language was refreshed to be bolder, incorporating a system of iconography as well as a custom typeface which is featured throughout the branding, and new colors that moved away from the banal and overused treatments of Chinese American restaurants (think red and white takeout boxes).



The typographic system for The Bao included a custom all-caps typeface, Mantou, whose letterforms are inspired by the curvilinear forms of the traditional Chinese steamed bun of the same name. Letterforms were drawn out and refined over a period of three months.


Select photography by Gabriela Ong.