Boxpark Sushi

The branding for a sushi restaurant opening in the new Boxpark Milwaukee popup mall.

The Challenge

Boxpark Sushi was set to open on Milwaukee’s east side in the new Boxpark pop-up mall and needed a brand that would build interest and establish them in the area. As an extension/sub-brand of Boxpark Milwaukee, the Boxpark Sushi’s brand needed to complement the mall’s established branding while expressing their unique brand characteristics.

The Approach

→ Differentiate Boxpark Sushi

→ Honor Boxpark Mall

→ Define the Brand

→ Unify the Vision

Differentiating Boxpark Sushi

Following long-established design processes, a firm understanding of Boxpark Sushi’s product and its competition was formed before researching its customer base’s needs. George Felton’s Advertising Concept and Copy was heavily relied on as a guiding light to understanding consumer behaviors by exploring Boxpark Sushi’s customer motivations and how the brand could position itself in the marketplace. 

This part of the process aimed to establish a creative brief that would guide the brand through the remainder of the branding process. Developing the creative brief entailed:

→ Knowing the Competition

→ Understanding Consumer Behavior

→ Defining the Target Audience

Honoring Boxpark Mall

The exterior of Boxpark mall with Boxpark Sushi pole banners advertisements featuring the brand's signature characteristics and tagline, where flava meets flavor.

As an extension/sub-brand of Boxpark mall, Boxpark Sushi’s branding has to identify the restaurant and complement the mall branding. Research showed that the Boxpark mall brand identity was developed to sit above resident brands without diluting their characteristics. According to Studio Makgill, the studio responsible for establishing Boxpark’s branding, the shops in Boxpark are more energetic and experimental than average retail mall stores (Studio Makgill, n.d.). 

Defining the Brand

Positioned as a diversion to its audience’s hectic schedules and fast-paced lifestyles, Boxpark Sushi’s brand characteristics needed to show devotion to their craft and experience while expressing a vivid, natural, and spunky take on their presentation. The brand’s voice was established as optimistic, lively, and compassionate while maintaining a level of casualness. Their tone would consist of zestfulness, encouragement, and care, positioning the restaurant as an excellent place for date-night, small business lunches, and special occasions.

Several logo options were considered, but the most effective direction ended up being one that steered away from the cliche Asian-inspired visuals. This approach made the logo distinctively Boxpark while conveying the restaurant’s casual, zestful, and dynamic brand characteristics.

Unifying the Vision

With the defining characteristics, voice, tone, and mission established, it was time to visualize the brand identity. While everything up to this point of the project was essential and would be referenced throughout the project’s continuation, it had all been words. On their own, words fail miserably when translating design concepts (WDD Staff, 2008). Visually, the Boxpark Sushi brand would need to exhibit the devoted, vivid, spunky, and natural characteristics of the brand through typography, color, textures, and words. The outcome of this portion of the project would be a collection of visual assets and the development of static and dynamic vision boards.

The static vision board for Boxpark Sushi. This document helped guide the visual development of the brand, eventually leading the development of an in-depth brand guide.

The Outcome

After months of development, Boxpark Sushi was ready to make a splash on Milwaukee’s east side. Transit ads were rolled out across the city while pole banners and interior environmental advertisements were displayed around the mall, effectively making the Boxpark Sushi brand an extension of Boxpark mall while differentiating the restaurant from their competition.



Felton, G. (2013, August 5). Advertising Concept and Copy (3rd ed). W. W. Norton & Company.

Studio Makgill. (n.d.). Studio Makgill - Boxpark.

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