“Wahaca was our first big project. As designers, we were naive, but we knew we needed an original story. We actually lost the pitch, but badgered Tommi and Mark until they hired us! We repaid their faith with a brand that became a streetfood pioneer and changed the language of Mexican food in the UK… We knew they needed an original story.”

Roly Grant, Co-founder and Creative Director of Without®

Context

In 2007 Mexican food in the UK generally looked like cheesy nachos and 2-4-1 tequila. Welcome Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby, with a vision for bringing Mexican streetfood to London’s streets. We embraced their challenge, eschewing dancing chillis and sombreros in favour of the colour and attitude of where all great Mexican streetfood comes from: the markets.

We needed to reject stereotypical iconography and reflect the joy and diversity of where Wahaca’s food came from: the markets.

DEFINE AND DESIGN

Every element of the brand is inspired by ‘Mexican Market Eating’ – from original street art on the walls, to vibrant colour combinations. A photographic reference of colourful canopies along a street in Oaxaca even directly inspired the ceiling of their very first site.

Working alongside F37 Foundry to create a new bespoke typeface, inspired by vernacular market signwriting: exaggerated proportions, quirky characters, angled crossbars and surprising twists.

DELIVER

Over a ten year relationship, we supported Wahaca’s growth from concept to over 20 sites across the UK, working on everything from advertising campaigns to internal culture (including creating bespoke football kits for an inter-restaurant competition that was featured in Observer Food Monthly).

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