When The Surf Café from Dubai approached us with a request for rebranding, we could tell the challenge was significant, and very intriguing. The owner Claudio Leenders realised that the old “surfer” identity could no longer reflect the newly-developed values and philosophy of the restaurant. That’s how Leen’s replaced The Surf Café: a new entity created by Zambelli Brand Design. It transformed the identity from a restaurant into a gourmet oasis that combines a relaxed atmosphere with five-star foods – and finally communicates with its ideal audience.

New brand name and new product category

The name “The Surf Café” carried a different feel from the one we established as the new direction, so we decided to change it to Leen’s. Here’s why:

• Given that people prefer to identify with people rather than brands, we have chosen restaurant owner as the central figure. We shortened his last name, Leenders, to a more memorable version.

• From an audio standpoint, the name Leen’s is reminiscent of the English word lean, which resonates well with the restaurant’s ideal audience that is very conscious about healthy eating.

• Finally, Leen has a geographical significance, since it represents an Arabic female name, which means softness and gentleness – like the service that Leenders cherishes with its team. Also, the name signifies life prosperity, which is very much relatable to the target audience.

Since the concept of the restaurant is entirely new in comparison to typical restaurant types, we have developed a new category: casual-to-gourmet. It is characterised by a relaxed atmosphere, with no dress code, and five-star food.

The logo “at a second glance”

The first thing to recognise on the logo is miniature illustrations of palm trees as typical elements of the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula. This “herbal element” reminds of a desert oasis, also alluding to a gourmet oasis in the middle of the city. The oasis is further enhanced by a soothing green colour, contrasting with a warm and subtle pink that symbolises the desired sense of tenderness and attention to guests.

At first glance, the letter S from the new brand name is emerging as dominant. However, a more extended observation reveals all the other letters from the restaurant name: L-E-E-N-S, which overlap and disappear in each other’s contours.

Fields of work:

Brand strategy
Brand verbal identity
Brand visual identity