NUK | Designing brand identity in Phnom Penh, 2014

Naming, brand identity design, and showing up to make space—quality space—for the process of people who want to discover somethign new, together, is what we did for NUK Cafe. This was 2014. DK had just opened up our doors in Phnom Penh for business, and this was our first gig.

Since then, five years’ experience of living and learning here in Phnom Penh has given us a chance to flex our creative and intellectual muscles. We’ve gotten into very different kinds of projects, since moving away from typical brand identity deign. Still, I think it’s important to share the jo gurney, and how we got to where we are from where we stated. This post is part of a series of updates to our portfolio.

Discovery, networking, change, and reinvention has led us through a wide set of experiences.

Journeys that, for better or worse, taught us some important lessons. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s a long story.

 

DK designs NUK. Here’s a detail of NUK specifications for usage, 2014

A new DK portfolio

Really enjoyed the NUK project.

Sharing as I go, now, since DK’s going to open again for design commissions from February 2020. That’s a lot of stuff to anticipate, for DK, but the short story is this. We’ve done things, we’ve been places. We’ve learned. We have more to do.

The work is the work, not the pretty pixels you see at the end of hte design process. If learning by doing and seeing how we get from a blank page and zero idea of what to do towards the finished things, which almost always are a 100% co-created set of designs (yes, we hand you pencils sometimes, and get to work together!), then yeah. Get in touch. This is the place to do that.

 

Being honest

We’re really only interested in working with business owners who have 5+ years’ experience. For those interested in solopreneurship or personal branding, perhaps try our 8-week workshop, The Mirror, instead of our heavy-hitting journey of brand identity design for DK (which is also waaaayyy more expensive.) It’s not for everyone. (Still, there are 1 out of every 100 people who ‘get’ us, our approach, and see that there’s value in doing it right the first time, even if that means going through the hard question-asking series of things that we will ask of our clients. Apply to be a part of DK’s brand identity design programs from February. Apply here.)

The original post about the story of how we came to make this design for a cafe  in Phnom Penh back in 2014, is below.

 

//

A throwback.

To 2014.

Phnom Penh. DK had just arrived to Cambodia.

‘Never imagined we’d stay five years:’ DK.

 

Emergence, innovation, change: Inventing as we go

Design. Making meaning out of vague and abstract collections of thought. Streamling and clarifying…

I still remember when we did this, for the NUK Cafe, which we named and branded back in 2014.

That was DK’s first gig in Cambodia.

Things have evolved for them quite a bit at NUK, I think they’ve moved on from our original design, but the ‘N’ is still there on the cups that DK’s Dipika Kohli drew.

Which is this:

Brand design for NUK Cafe // DK 2014

I really like this story. Of how you start with ‘…’ and get to this design. It’s not a straight line. The creative process moves around and changes a lot, in the middle. It’s how it goes. It’s how we learn, and how we grow, too. Since DK had been doing branding work for more than a decade, it wasn’t hard. (These days we’re not doing branding work, by the way. More consulting. More experiential programs. Like these.)

 

Flux

Breakfast in Cambodia by DK’s Dipika Kohli. See all of her books.

Of DK’s founders hitting the road in 2013, going in search of ‘I don’t know what it even is yet’, and discovering the first team in Phnom Penh to give DK an open hand to design the way we know how to design. By asking questions. Listening. Learning. Gathering. Percolating. Generally: trusting the process. Why not? It’s worked for us for so many clients in the past.

It makes me happy.

Funny, all that drawing of the ‘N’ and exploring it led to the birth of something completely different.

Things. Turn into things. Don’t they?

#trusttheprocess

S P A C E | Phnom Penh, ‘Miniparty’

LET’S TALK ABOUT learning. How we discover, find, and make new connections. Ideas, shapes of thinking and the input that comes from places that might not be the ‘usual’ ones.

No more boring meetings: What are the containers that make great conversations *happen*?

Conversations that lead to better collaboration and better work? Those are important. Let’s not waste time. Let’s make things better, together.

Better and more enjoyable: that’s the key.

How do we design the S P A C E that lets fresh thinking flow?

Let’s consider. Let’s discuss.

Min 2. Max 10.

WHAT YOU’LL GET. DK will share very short introductions to design and lateral thinking methods, including:

  • Grice’s ‘Maxims of Conversation’
  • Six Thinking Hats, a method of opening dialogue.
  • The Open Space Technologies how-to.

This mini-conversation will be hosted by DK’s Dipika Kohli. She has delivered seminars at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on the topic of Design Thinking, a series caled SELF as a 9-week experiential program at Stanford University, and for an architects circle in Seattle DK was invited to present, ‘Just Be You.’

LEARN MORE

DipikaKohli.com | Processed Identity | GOOD | UNC-Chapel Hill | ThisBigCity | DesignKompany.com

S P A C E | The State of Publishing

JOIN DK and friends in HANOI for this unique conversation salon on the state of publishing.

LAST SEEN IN DURHAM, NC, when DK and bloggers, editors, photographers, and writers had gathered at Mercury Studio for a short, packed, nonlinear and very frank conversation about the state of publishing. Some of the outtakes informed how DK evolved into the zinemaking atelier that we are today. It’s remarkable to note that we still have the honest, real, and relevant conversation notes: they still hold, today. I’ve been going through this right now, as we look at our archives and get rid of most things that are no longer part of what we are doing here at this studio, but wow. The conversation salon, ‘The State of Publishing,’ was, by far, one of my favorites.

Maybe because I worked in newspapers before DK.

Or because I love community publishing.

Breakout groups at State of Publishing roundtable, Durham NC 2012

Lately, reading and learning about how to design for the aesthetic moment. More ahead, if you are part of this online conversation that we are getting going now, in small circles, in our eZine and its attendant forums, S P A C E. More here.

Inspired by the things that are popping up now as we review our past works in salon making and the outcomes that came from those, I’m interested in convening more people gain for a conversation about publishing today. This time it’s 2019. This time it’s not Durham NC but Phnom Penh. I’m looking for people to co-host this with. Are you curious? Get in touch. This is the beginning. Let’s converse. Let’s play. I’ll personally be there to host this event. Ask me anything about vector art and image trace: I’m lately getting super into these things. Design. Zines. DIY-style publishing.

Who else finds this intriguing? Let’s find out.

 

S P A C E M A K I N G

It’s become clearer to me that my job is to continue to do this: to make space (ie S P A C E) for a conversation that stretched across the different disciplines, and even connected some people who never had met but who had lived in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill for decades, was great. I want to thank some of the people who were there, that night: Laura Ritchie, a curator, who was one of the most supportive of DK’s projects in Raleigh-Durham NC; Michael Faber, a designer who also came out to many of our meet ups to see what we were doing and share what he was up as well; Clarion Content’s editor Aaron Mandel, who gave us shout-outs sometimes when we least expected them, theIndependent Weekly‘s then editor Lisa Sorg for showing and and lending the voice of that paper; and Paul Deblinger for telling me to go and read R. Pirsig’s ZAMM (and insisting, and that, in the end, led to the things that came from there: journeying, the road, adventures, the rest).

Disparate voices convening in the forerunner of what’s now S P A C E: that was the point of it. That was the goal. Getting together to learn from one another. Be inspired. Share. The actual learnings, in real life, where it’s not packaged into things that go out as blips into social media feeds. Instead, it’s a conversation. Lately, reading and learning about how to design for the aesthetic moment. More ahead, if you are part of this online conversation that we are getting going now, in small circles, in our eZine and its attendant forums, S P A C E. More here.

Inspired by the things that are popping up now as we review our past works in salon making and the outcomes that came from those, I’m interested in convening more people gain for a conversation about publishing today. This time it’s 2019. This time it’s not Durham NC but Phnom Penh. I’m looking for people to co-host this with. Are you curious? Get in touch. This is the beginning. Let’s converse. Let’s play.

–DK

 

RSVP…

RSVP to make sure you have a spot. Limited seats. Advance bookings only.

YOUR HOST…

DK’s Dipika Kohli will host this event. ‘Ask me anything about vector art and image trace: I’m lately getting super into these things. Design. Zines. DIY-style publishing. Is this of interest? Let’s find out.’

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT DK’S SALONS…

Processed Identity | GOOD | ThisBigCity

#innovation #design #designthinking

Photo: Design Kompany

Atelier S P A C E | Phnom Penh

LET’S TALK ABOUT work. How we discover, find, and make new connections for meaningful work. Let’s cover all of the ways ‘value’ is exchanged. Be it through the mutual interest that leads to the sharing of new, fresh ideas, or unexpected input that develops the shape of thinking that comes from places that might not be the ‘usual’ ones, or something else.

No more boring meetings: What are the ways we can define and realize our own best ‘work?’ How can we find a way towards better collaboration, design, and meaningful contribution-making? These are important. Let’s not waste time. Let’s make things better, together. Better and more enjoyable: that’s the key.

How do we design the S P A C E that lets fresh thinking flow?

Let’s consider. Let’s discuss.

Our first conversation salon on this topic in Phnom Penh will take place on one afternoon, only.

WHAT YOU’LL GET. DK will share:

  • Grice’s ‘Maxims of Conversation’, as introduced to us by Eric Chuk, who studied narrative ontology
  • Quick intro to ‘Six Thinking Hats’, a method of opening dialogue.
  • Distributed and autonomous organization, or TEAL/Holacracy organization

No application required.

This salon will be hosted by DK’s Akira Morita. He has delivered design thinking and leadership seminars in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Manila, and Hanoi, and prior to that co-founded the brand design boutique Design Kompany in Seattle. He brings a decade plus worth of experience talking passionately about the meaning of work—and relationships as the key—as a participant and a host of fringe salons alongside coworking conferences in: Austin, Bali, Raleigh, and Portland, Ore.

RSVP…

To RSVP, get a ticket here.

Or, to connect personally, find Akira Morita on FB. If you don’t have fb just contact us through the form on our contact page.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DK’S SALONS…

Processed Identity | GOOD | ThisBigCity

#innovation #design #designthinking

 

Salon: Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh

MEET ME IN THE SKY?

Get together with a very small group of people to talk about things that feel more interesting than the usual drone of:

  • ‘How long have you been in Phnom Penh?’ (yawn)
  • ‘What do you do here?’ (Why? Are you job hunting?)
  • ‘Where are you from?’ (How about ask me where I’m local?)

USD 10. Max 6.

To reserve a spot, register here.

Questions? Connect through this form:

Zinemaking workshop: Atelier S P A C E || Phnom Penh

Meet new people. Make a zine. Share the journey of the creative process over this unique, once-off weekend conversation salon cum real life workshop. We’ll meet three times over the 3-day weekend workshop. Date, time, and place to be shared with those who are selected to take part. We’ll add the final works to our S P A C E || Cambodia collection, which has featured at the Singapore Writers Festival and the Georgetown Readers and Writers Festival, in 2017. Discover more when you apply. Apply here.

The Prospect of Beauty

Join DK and jazzy guests at this conversation salon. Our theme is ‘The Prospect of Beauty’. Discover the parlor games ‘Art of Not Knowing’ and ‘Excerpts of Note,’ as shared in similar small scale salons in clubs in Tokyo, London, New York and Hanoi. RSVP requested. Tickets just $10p at the door, inclusive of materials, and exclusive of drinks. A concert follows, which is arranged separately by the venue. Advance bookings only. Book here.

លេង

JOIN DK, DESIGN PHNOM PENH, and others in a conversation circle about:

លេង

Anyone is welcome. We are going to talk about the creative process, with a few simple exercises that you can try together with us on the day. Anyone can join. No special requirements.

We will be talking together in an open format about the idea of play. About creativity. The process of starting with nothing at all and making something interesting. What makes a thing interesting? What is art? What is design? What can we do when we build something together?

Here is a chance to talk together about these things.

Let’s *make something*. Let’s play?

S P A C E || លេង.

Free. RSVP to Design Kompany, for venue.

 

This Atelier S P A C E is kindly sponsored by Design Phnom Penh

 

Lifehack

LEARN DESIGN KOMPANY’s top 4 tools to uncover the answer to a very important question:

What will be your legacy?

Get four top tools from our toolkit, which DK’s creative directors developed in-house over more than 10 years while working with different kinds of people and engaging with their unique learning styles.

Here is what you will get. A workbook from DK with our best-of collection of 4 modules, which each give you the spreadsheets, tools, and instructions we will work through together. You’ll be able to apply what you learn right away to manage and direct your career, make better-informed decisions, and look forward to the next steps with confidence. This is our agenda:

Module 1. Starting & Self (as seen in Bangkok)
Module 2. Finding Flow (as seen in Malmoe)
Module 3. The Chart & Choices (as seen in Siem Reap)
Module 4. The Plan
This will be in English. It is aimed at mid-career professionals. It’s for people who are interested in doing work they really care about, work that matters, work that will leave a true legacy. We’ve been working with people in Europe, N. America and Asia for 12 years, and we are ready to share the highlights of what we know works. This is a unique workshop where you can explore with others also interested in taking time to look at what work is personally important to each of us, and why. You’ll walk away with a 5-word ‘self-concept,’ and a professionally-worded summary statement. Useful for resumes, especially when looking to work abroad. This is designed and hosted by Design Kompany’s Dipika Kohli (TEDx, ‘There’s Not That Much Time Left’).

Your ticket includes lunch, tea, and snacks. Lunch will be a Khmer meal, served family-style.

ABOUT DESIGN KOMPANY. DK started in 2006 in Seattle, USA, working with discerning architects, software developers, artists, and other process-oriented people to design or redesign their brand identities (Capitol Hill Chamber, Baltic Room, NW Asian Weekly). Since arriving in Phnom Penh in 2014, DK branded NUK Cafe, and took on several ad hoc projects to get people thinking more clearly about how to clarify goals so as to optimize for the right metrics. ‘Lifehack’ is part of a fall series of workshops and programmes in S P A C E, an online community that meets regularly in destinations around Asia. Find out more about that here.

FAQs

Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

Ages 25+. Best for mid-career professionals.

What can I bring into the event?

No need to bring anything. Everything will be provided on the day.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Use the form at our website to contact us.

How can I order tickets?

Register here.

 

Chance Encounters

MEETUP SERIES for new and locally-based members of our conversation salon, S P A C E.

Read more here.

Breakfast in Cambodia

MEMBERS OF S P A C E who are in Phnom Penh will be invited to this exclusive event, a reading and conversation about life in a rapidly changing Cambodia. Meet the author of Breakfast in Cambodia, DK’s own Dipika Kohli. You’ll be able to talk about publishing, editing, and writing as well as the process of putting together a finished piece. Or just enjoy the short reading, on the day. To book your spot, just order the eBook. When you do, we’ll share the location details directly with you by email.

Order here: http://gum.co/villagereport

 

Origin

ORIGIN: ‘What is fromness?’ is inspired by ‘Ask me where I’m local’ by Taiye Selasi: ‘When someone asks you where you’re from … do you sometimes not know how to answer?’ Selasi speaks for “multi-local” people. In other words, people who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two. How can I come from a country?, she asks. How can a human being come from a concept?’

Origin: What is ‘fromness?’ Join Design Kompany in an informal setting for a conversation salon, ‘Origin.’ We’ll be talking about questions that help us all reflect on self-identity, whereness, and the notion of ‘where I am from.’ The program is light, and a slight redesign of our 2014 Origin conversation salon, also held in Phnom Penh, in which 16 people gathered for an unusual experience of talking with complete strangers about close-to-the-heart questions. We enjoyed the outdoor and informal setting, so we’ll keep that. Come to meet people from a wide mix of backgrounds. People whose paths you might not have crossed. Who are interested in taking a good, honest look at questions like: Who am I? Where am I ‘from?’ Who is my family? Where is my home? Questions that, we learned in 2014, truly open the heart. And help us learn more about one another, as well as ourselves.

  • ‘I never imagined I’d meet so many different people.’
  • ‘I wish we’d had more time! Thank you.’
  • ‘Weird and interesting!’
  • ‘Refreshingly honest.’

Order ticket — $11.25

Naming, concept and brand identity for NUK Cafe in Phnom Penh

Nuk Cafe, Design by DK 2014A VERY SAVVY team approached Design Kompany through a mutual friend and that opened the door to a fun project that tapped all of our best creative offerings. Naming, concepting, and brand identity design. That was exactly what they didn’t know they wanted, but appreciated, at the end, in the manner of clients preceding them. ‘NUK’ came about as a name idea after a series of serious conversations, and a visit to the site, which was then under construction.

Nuk Cafe, Design by DK 2014
Nuk Cafe, Design by DK 2014


Client:
NUK Cafe
Work: Concept, Naming, Brand identity + consulting on interior design
Location: Phnom Penh
Year: 2014

Naming, concepting, and brand identity design. ‘NUK’ came about as a name idea after a series of serious conversations, and a visit to the architectural site. A section towards the back of the first floor seemed well-suited to holing up with a great paperback. That’s how we found our way to the name ‘NUK,’ a play on ‘nook, but minus the visually awkward double ‘o.’

Fewer letters—heck, even just an ‘N’—made for a versatile motif that one could just take in as a total image (that’s what a logo mark is, more than ever, just an impression, not a ‘word’ to be read—who has time to think?). As soon as we presented the name idea to our clients, three people got on cell phones and called friends in Vietnam, Thailand, and even further afield via Line and WhatsApp. ‘How does that sound? Does it mean anything bad? No? Good.’ Nuk fit. Snug.

Many times designers will do what you tell them to do. But you two would not. You would say, ‘No. That’s not a good idea, and we’re not gonna do that.’ That was new. You made us think, and in the end, we got to a stronger design together. Thank you. —Kenneth Hui, NUK Cafe

NUK opened on Street 154, and our clients invited us to sample the ice cream. Last we heard, they’re gearing up to open a second store.

Guest post: ‘Skipping the awkward get-to-know-you-phase’

GUEST POST from a guest of ’16N,’ our international conversation series of salons: ‘When we met, it was like we didn’t have a long awkward get-to-know-you phase, it was easy to chat and talk about less usual things.’

Published in S. P. A. C. E.

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A guest post today from Sarah Rhodes. Sarah had joined us at ‘N’ Phnom Penh, and reflects on that experience. 

WHEN I FIRST moved to Siem Reap, I was attending a lot of different events to meet different people and try and find my place and friends in a new city.

It was at one of these events where I met [DK], who was hosting ‘N’, an event that sounded a bit interesting, and although we didn’t get to talk directly, it was a few days later that we ended up having a great chat watching the sunset on a rooftop in Siem Reap town.

Whether it was the first meeting or the sunset chat there was no doubt that the connection had been made, so when I was visiting Phnom Penh in April last year and it coincided with the ‘N’ event, I considered myself very fortunate.

Sunset

It was during this visit that I realised the other attendees of the event had also had similar encounters with [DK], so it was no surprise that when we all arrived for this event we found that we automatically connected, as we had one main thing in common. The way the event was organised was well thought through; from the personal invitation, individually crafted official invitations, creative activities which with facilitated conversation beyond the usual ‘who are you?’ and ‘what do you do?’.

WHEN WE MET, it was like we didn’t have a long awkward get-to-know-you phase, it was easy to chat and talk about less usual things. I met many interesting people that night. I now have friendships with people in Phnom Penh from ‘N’, after all a friendship is formed by first talking with someone, and then talking with them again. —Sarah E. Rhodes (@saraherhodes)

Published in S. P. A. C. E.

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