At Retail Experience Design our clients aren’t always established retailers or brands – we’ve also worked with new start-ups, often at the beginning of their business venture. A great example is our work with Bubble Brew – an established bubble tea business from China looking to emerge into the UK market.

The bubble tea business approached Retail Experience Design in helping to secure premises in central London. Without a tangible brand and identity, it’s difficult for new businesses to compete for commercial units in London’s fast-moving commercial property market. Landlords often favour those retailers and businesses that are established or with tangible business plans and vision. With that in mind, our design brief was to create a new brand identity as well as store concept to support the bubble tea business in successfully securing their first retail unit.

Design approach

The project started with competitor analysis and audience insights – with the research focusing on London’s café culture, as well as more traditional and bespoke cafes and restaurants. Emphasis on understanding audience behaviours and consumption habits as well as the social application of the product was fundamental in building the design strategy.

Following the research, collaborative brainstorming and a brand workshop helped develop the bubble tea bar with a brand personality and name, and once the brand values had been created, Retail Experience Design translated into visual styles, a tone of voice and brand statements that encapsulated the essence of the bubble tea business. Relevant imagery sketches and ideas provided guidance on design direction and were reviewed with the client.

The brand identity needed to translate into a 3-dimensional space, so as well as exploring graphics, logos, typography and signage, consideration was given to the physical environment areas such as POS, displays, menus, digital, seating, counters, and waiting areas.

The bubble tea business wanted to avoid the space feeling like an oriental tea shop after all this wasn’t a rollout of their existing stores in China. What’s more, the new identity and store concept, needed to be flexible enough to extend into kiosks/ pop up spaces in shopping centre locations.

What we delivered

The brand identity and store concept for Bubble Brew were created and visualised in a comprehensive brand book.

The store concept and design, including all key areas from signage, shopfront, counters, window display, ceiling, perimeter and flooring, retail unit and pop up/ kiosk were translated with 3D Concept visuals and the development of an 8-page landlord pack document.

“At Bubble Brew, our mission is to provide a fun and quirky drink experience for people passionate about tea and delicious flavours."

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