Thali — A taste of everyday India

Brand & identity, concept development & menu design

Thali started as a street food truck at Glastonbury Festival in 1999. The idea came about after a trip to India which immortalised the concept as a celebration of Indian food and culture. Thali has since evolved into six neighbourhood restaurants.

‘Thali’ refers to a style of eating in India – a selection of dishes are served on one large plate offering six key flavours: sweet, salt, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy. The brand and spatial philosophy was founded upon the discovery of the parallels between festival life and the atmosphere, attitude and spirit of Indian life. Portrayal of these parallels are weaved into every point of the dining experience from the makeshift fanzine menu to the central water station in homage to the traditional washing rituals of India.

The coming and going nature of India whether experienced on the truck or everyday life calls for a non-static identity. Drawing inspiration from the bold visual language and signage of India that often involves handpainting typefaces drawn from memory, the Thali identity was constructed in a similar manner. A set of four horizontal and vertical wordmarks were handcrafted where each one is allocated to different brand application whether that is the fanzine menu, takeaway packaging or the signage of the restaurant.

The large poster-lined exposed brick wall provides an evolving backdrop to the restaurant. Each time the menu changes, a new layer of posters are applied with the old ones left underneath. The wall becomes an ever-changing collage or a fanzine building up a new patina over time and reflecting the character and humility of life on the streets of India. This method of application adds to the spontaneous and adaptable nature of the brand which can be seen slightly differently on every touch point.


Spatial philosophy in collaboration with Sarah Wakefield & Simao Romualdo
Special menu creation by Meera Sodha
Photography by Mark Benham
Project completed at Blacksheep Creatives