Logo Design: Concept to Execution

Our logo concept was this.  The logo should feature a shiba inu.  The shiba either should be some sleek and abstract rendering, or an animation-style character image.  It shouldn't be too literal, but it also should be restrained; nothing too loud, nothing too cute.  It should evoke Japan without going over the top with a classic Japanese design aesthetic.  It could be based on a Japanese family crest, a mon, or on an approach like those taken (to successful visual effect) by Starbucks and Chipotle: concentric circles with an icon in the center and the name surrounding.   It should be a color that is bold but balanced, probably a variation on red, and it should be near-monotone.  It should strive to be eye-catching and memorable.  It should be capable of becoming iconic.  

What a tail.

What a tail.

That, more or less, and over the course of several hours, was what we explained to our designer, Misa Grannis, when we met her in person for the first time.  We invited Misa over for dinner so we could get to know each other, and so we could explain to her who we are, where we're coming from, and what our motivations and goals are for Shiba Ramen.  Our view is that the better we all understand each other from the outset, the better we can work together toward the common goal.  Meeting our shibas here in their native habitat is also a pretty important part of the background.  

When Misa showed up carrying her personal copy of a book of Japanese mon seals, it confirmed our expectations that she would understand exactly what this project is trying to accomplish.  Also, did I mention that her actual initials are MSG?  Perfect person for the project.

Round One       

Misa took our guidance, went away for a few weeks, and then returned with a collection of prototypes.  She showed us a few dozen ideas in a sort of brainstorming exercise, the goal of which was to come to terms on the direction we wanted the project to take.  

One concept we liked was a shiba face, rounded in a circle, and bisected so that the bottom half was also a bowl of ramen.  This concept represented both the shiba and the ramen, and it was pretty streamlined.  It was cute, but not too much so. The second was Misa's attempt to infuse a shiba into the mitsudomoe mon.  And the third featured an S-shape meant to suggest the flourish of the shiba's distinctive tail.  We decided not to pursue concepts that appeared too traditional.

Brainstorming.   We considered a lot of concepts, but only pursued the three in the middle row and the one at lower left.  We asked Misa to try to hit a middle ground between the two  mon  concepts for the next round.  The others we didn't pursue for either being too suggestive of ramen, dogs, or traditional Japanese style.  

Brainstorming.  We considered a lot of concepts, but only pursued the three in the middle row and the one at lower left.  We asked Misa to try to hit a middle ground between the two mon concepts for the next round.  The others we didn't pursue for either being too suggestive of ramen, dogs, or traditional Japanese style.  

Round Two

Misa came back two weeks later with a set of refinements.  She'd honed the shiba/bowl concept and the S-shape, and had made a dramatic improvement to the mon, which now featured a sharp design abstracting the shiba tail and ears.  But she also brought a bold new design using a stylized shiba silhouette set in a surrounding square.  

We were pretty excited about this new contender, and asked Misa to do some small refinements.  We also asked her to try a few text and color variations on the shiba/bowl.  We thought the mon was in good shape for the time being.  We decided the S-shape, while simple and elegant, just wasn't the distinctive look we were going for.  The objective was now to refine the shiba/bowl and the silhouette square, then evaluate them side-by-side with the mon.  

Refinements.  Plus one standout new concept.

Refinements. Plus one standout new concept.

Non-Scientific Focus Group Exercise/Extended Rumination/Decision

Once Misa came back with her further refinements, we started taking an informal poll of friends and coworkers.  I showed the three concepts to 40-50 people and asked their opinion; I know that Misa and Hiroko also did some polling.  About 45% liked the shiba/bowl and 45% chose the silhouette.  10% or less picked the mon; most suggesting that it was too abstract and not really connecting with it.  I happen to like the mon, but I agree it doesn't resonate like the others.  We set it aside pretty quickly (although I would love to use it on a t-shirt at the store).

It was down to shiba/bowl and the silhouette.  The shiba/bowl had been the initial frontrunner, but a significant minority of people thought it was a cat, given the shape of the ears, the roundness of the face, and the chopsticks being suggestive of whiskers.  It turned out that this was a hard problem to resolve, especially because the roundness of the ramen bowl limited our ability to narrow the face.  

Finalists.    Mon  (right) is struck first.  Then shiba/bowl goes, doomed perhaps by being too catlike.  Silhouette in the center strikes the right balance.  We have a winner!

Finalists.  Mon (right) is struck first.  Then shiba/bowl goes, doomed perhaps by being too catlike.  Silhouette in the center strikes the right balance.  We have a winner!

But just by letting some time pass, it was easy to make up our minds.  Upon reflection, the silhouette was hands-down the best overall design, and it fit most closely with our ideal.  The silhouette was the clear choice for Shiba Ramen.

Next time, I'll tell you about our final logo task: picking the right Japanese text.  But I'll do it by explaining  the different types of characters used in written Japanese (it's not just a simple alphabet) and the different design options they create.  

Branding Step Two: A Face for Shiba Ramen

Last summer, with the aid of the state bureaucracy and a small filing fee, we breathed life into Shiba Ramen Corporation.  Just like that--poof--a California S corporation was born.  With corporate personhood thus achieved--yes, non-lawyer readers, corporations are people, too--Shiba Ramen needed a face.  So we set out to give it one.  Over the next few posts, I'm going to explain, step-by-step, how we did it, from our initial inspirations, to the various prototype logos we considered along the way, to the last bits of fine tuning before we finally said, "this is it!"

Mon  of the Tokugawa Clan.  The Tokugawa consolidated power over feudal Japan in 1603 and their hereditary military dictatorship--the Tokugawa Shogunate--ruled Japan until 1867.

Mon of the Tokugawa Clan. The Tokugawa consolidated power over feudal Japan in 1603 and their hereditary military dictatorship--the Tokugawa Shogunate--ruled Japan until 1867.

Vague Ideas

In Branding Step One, I explained that our shiba inu dogs were the central inspiration behind the name Shiba Ramen.  We knew from the start that we wanted to feature the shiba in our logo.  These very Japanese dogs have a unique look: pointy ears, curly and bushy tails, and distinctive coat markings.  They're at once cute, elegant, and noble.  Beyond saying something personal about us, having a shiba in our logo would give people an easy piece of visual imagery to associate with and remember our business.  

Now here's the thing.  It was clear to us that a delicate balance must be struck.  There are risks in having a logo that's too "doglike," especially for a food business.  There are also risks in having a logo that's too cute.  We needed a logo that captures something essential about the shiba inu, all while keeping a design aesthetic that represents the overall look and feel we want to project for the business.  Our view was that some kind of abstraction of the shiba's distinctive shape was probably the right way to go for us, but that something more on the cute side was a possibility.  

So there was a vague vision in place, a sense of the right aesthetic.  How do you then translate that into a product you're excited to go forward with as the face of your business?

Mon.    Traditional Japanse family crests. http://samuraitradition.tumblr.com/post/37191914793

Mon.  Traditional Japanse family crests. http://samuraitradition.tumblr.com/post/37191914793

Japanese Influences

While we looked for a designer to help us, Hiroko spent some time mocking out a couple of rough ideas.  She used Open Office to draw out some designs that might help set our initial direction.  Hiroko thought that something based on a traditional Japanese family seal--a mon--might be a good direction to go.  

Mon originated as heraldic crests of the feudal Japanese nobility, and were gradually adopted by the rest of the population.  In terms of designmon are always monochromatic, usually round, and often characterized by geometric symmetries or the use of nature imagery.

Mon    logos . Sushirrito uses a modern and more colorful take to nice effect (left).  Mitsubishi uses an actual family crest (center).  Berkeley Bowl uses a  mon  made of carrots.

Mon logos. Sushirrito uses a modern and more colorful take to nice effect (left).  Mitsubishi uses an actual family crest (center).  Berkeley Bowl uses a mon made of carrots.

It turns out that some well-known businesses actually use mon-inspired logos.  Examples include Mitsubishi, which uses the Mitsubishi family three-diamond mon (the word mitsubishi literally translates to "three diamonds").  Here in the Bay Area, Berkeley Bowl (home of the most glorious produce section I've ever seen), Sushirrito, and Monterey Market all use mon.  

For our purposes, we wondered if we could capture the essential features of the shiba, heavily abstracted, in the style of a mon.  Hiroko sketched out a very rough idea of representing the shiba's ears and tail in the style of a mitsudomoe, a mon that looks like three comma-shaped swirls, and is a fairly common design element in Japan.  The result looked sort of distorted and extreme, but we thought it could be viable in the hands of a trained designer.  I asked what my good friend Angel thought, and she likened image to "spiky whale sperms."  This logo was going to take some working through.

Can Somebody Help With This?   Our rough first draft modified the swirls of the  mitsudomoe   mon  to represent the shiba's curly tail and pointy ears. 

Can Somebody Help With This?  Our rough first draft modified the swirls of the mitsudomoe mon to represent the shiba's curly tail and pointy ears. 

Know When You Need a Professional

Obviously, we needed a professional to work with us.  We don't have any graphic design training, but that's not too important.  What's important for us as business owners is to be able to find the right person for the job, make sure that person understands where we want to go, and then having a good sense of what we like and don't like when we see it.  And we need to be able to give the designer good feedback along the way.  It's up to the designer to mock everything out and then go through iterative refinements en route to the final product.

We weren't sure where to go to find the right designer.  We're obviously budget-conscious as a brand-new company with a lot of costs coming down the road, so we couldn't go to some established design firm.  We needed an individual who could work with us on a freelance basis, and who would be willing to get to know us and get a bit immersed in the broader Shiba Ramen project.  

We briefly considered crowdsourcing our logo--you can set up online competitions where you post your project and the price you're willing to pay, and designers from the online community will submit designs for you to consider.  This could be convenient, but we really had no idea what to expect in terms of quality or service.  We would be more comfortable if we had an actual collaborator and a face-to-face dialogue.

Pointy Ears, Curly Tail.   Can someone please turn this into a sleek and effective logo?  Toro in Mountain View, CA.

Pointy Ears, Curly Tail.  Can someone please turn this into a sleek and effective logo?  Toro in Mountain View, CA.

It was our great fortune that we found one on the first attempt.  We were introduced to the very talented Misa Grannis by my friend Angel.  When I looked at her website, I learned that she's half-Japanese, speaks Japanese, studied in Japan, is a designer and architect-in-training, and lives right here in Oakland.  Misa had been a bridesmaid in Angel's wedding just a few weeks earlier, so we'd seen her face-to-face before (she'd given a very sincere toast to the happy couple).  That kind of thing--having seen someone live and in-person--is actually important when you're looking for somebody to help you with a job that's as personal as this one was to us.  

When I contacted Misa, I learned that she was an even more qualified candidate than I'd first thought.  She's eaten a ton of ramen, and knows it pretty well, and she loves shiba inus.  Based on everything we'd learned, we realized that there couldn't be a more perfect fit for this project than Misa.  We were pretty sure we were going to hire her even before we met with her, and we never thought it was necessary to talk to anyone else.  She got the job.  And we got off very easy on our designer search.

In the next post, I'll show you how Misa tried to work a shiba into the mitsudomoe mon, along with the other avenues we pursued before making our decision.  


Branding Step One: Choosing the Right Name

We settled on the name Shiba Ramen long before we were remotely serious about starting a company, back when this project was just some obscure weekend fantasy, bandied about in between billing hours at the firm and changing diapers at home (fyi, the only thing that's changed in the intervening 9 months is that today we actually work on the business in between billing hours and changing diapers).  Shiba Ramen was intuitive to us, and we never seriously considered a different name.  Let me explain why.

Muses .  Our shibas, Momo (white) and Toro (red)

Muses.  Our shibas, Momo (white) and Toro (red)

A name is significant.  If you're a business, you make a conscious choice when you select your name.  You hope it helps customers identify and connect with you.  You want it to be easily spoken, and easily remembered.  And you want it to say something about you, to be part of your narrative.  Shiba Ramen is both functional and personal, and that's why we chose it.  We think it works for our business at the same time it says something about us.  

Distinction Is Critical

The first point is that the word "Shiba" is distinctive, just as a business's name needs to be to set it apart from its competitors, or even from general background noise.  It is an arbitrary word in that it has nothing to do with ramen, noodles, or even food.  Not many other companies or products (if any) use this word, at least here in the U.S. 

There's also an important legal reason to have a distinctive name, if you want intellectual property protection for your brand.  Federal trademark law is based on protecting distinctiveness.  The law gives the most protection to brand names that are "arbitrary" or "fanciful"--i.e., names that don't suggest or describe the nature of the product, either because they are entirely made-up words or because they are common words that don't hint at anything about the underlying product.  

Think about names like Xerox, Apple, Starbucks, and as the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office notes, Old Crow Whiskey (a good friend of mine in college, as it happens).  Names like this are "inherently distinctive" so that the government will grant a trademark without much red tape.  If you choose a name that describes your product (lets make up an example--"Noodles Ramen"), you have to prove to the government that customers out in the marketplace actually associate that name with you.  That's a real practical difference:  by using Shiba Ramen, I can apply (and have) for my trademark now and expect to get it, but if I picked Noodles Ramen, I'd probably have to be in business for quite a while and develop a serious reputation before the government would be willing to put its weight behind my alleged economic interest and give me a trademark.  

So Are Authenticity and Accessibility 

"Shiba" is short--five letters, two syllables--and easy to remember in English.  That's important, and it ties into the second reason we chose our name.  Shiba is a Japanese word.  We wanted to use a Japanese word to emphasize that our product is authentically Japanese, that it's the real thing, done the right way.  Also to reflect Hiroko's Japanese heritage, which is important to us and to our family.  

Hamamatsu Ramen?   Naming our business after Hiroko's hometown (for example) just wouldn't have the same impact.

Hamamatsu Ramen?  Naming our business after Hiroko's hometown (for example) just wouldn't have the same impact.

But if we're intent on a Japanese name, it has to be something that is easily remembered and passed along by westerners.  If a name is too foreign, I think it's just harder to remember.  We have a harder time internalizing sounds that don't follow a familiar pattern.  Shiba is a word that I think people can get.  One reason for this I think is that "Sheba" with an "e" is a word we're already familiar with in the West, probably because of the biblical Queen of Sheba.  More than one person has mistakenly spelled our company's name with an "e".  The point is that Shiba (we think) strikes the appropriate balance between authenticity and public accessibility.    

Wrong Shiba.   But maybe the Queen of Sheba makes our name easier to remember.   The Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba,   Circle of Juan de la Corte  (Belgian), early 17th Century

Wrong Shiba.  But maybe the Queen of Sheba makes our name easier to remember.  The Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Circle of Juan de la Corte (Belgian), early 17th Century

Crazy About Those Dogs

The third reason for our name is personal, and explains why it was so easy for us to commit to calling ourselves Shiba Ramen.  The literal translation of "shiba" is "brushwood," but shrubs are beside the point.  It's the shiba inu ("inu" is Japanese for "dog") that we care about.  The shiba inu is the iconic Japanese fox-like dog with pointed ears and a curly tail.  We are dedicated and enthusiastic owners of two of these unique and amazing dogs, Toro and Momo.  Crazy about these dogs, to be honest.  Like really nuts.  I'll write more about them later. 

Shibas are universally associated with Japan; they're a cultural icon of sorts.  And they've become really popular in the U.S. over the past decade or so (fueled, perhaps, by the shiba "puppy cam" that was viral on the Internet a few years ago).  So the shiba--this very Japanese image--is slowly entering the American cultural vernacular, just as the word is starting to enter our language.  Our name comes with built-in imagery, and the imagery in turn acts as a hook to help people remember our name.    

Dogchildren.   Toro and Momo in 2013

Dogchildren.  Toro and Momo in 2013

Now you understand why we are Shiba Ramen.  Ramen Chemistry would have been a good alternative, for a lot of the reasons I've explained (we are former chemists, after all), but we think that name fits better with the theme of this blog. 

Next time, I'll explain how we went about creating our Shiba Ramen logo.

Creating a Brand: Japanese Food, American Business

Later this year, we're going to open Shiba Ramen (details soon!).  We want our new business to be a success.  That means--to state the obvious--we a steady stream of customers who like our product and are willing to come back for more.  But how do we get those customers in the door in the first place?  And how do we get people to recognize and remember us?  Doing that requires more than just serving a tasty product.  We have to build our brand.  And then we have to project it.             

Shiba Ramen Logo.   In an upcoming post, I'll explain how we got here by taking readers through our inspirations and creative process.

Shiba Ramen Logo.  In an upcoming post, I'll explain how we got here by taking readers through our inspirations and creative process.

I've been thinking about branding ever since committing to the Shiba Ramen project.  The scope of this question continues to expand as we hammer out the details of our restaurant concept, and put the whole thing into motion.  The importance of branding, of creating positive associations and spurring customer recognition, seems to apply with special force in the super-competitive restaurant market, in which consumers are literally saturated with reasonably comparable choices.  

Over the next couple of posts, I'll explain what we're doing to create our brand in the early days of our business, before we've even served a bowl of ramen.  The purpose is to illustrate what goes into starting a consumer business and share our approach.        

Primary Considerations: Name and Logo

We've started from the assumption that name and logo are key.  It is usually through them that a business has its first chance to make an impression.  Customers see a restaurant's logo and hear its name before they ever walk through its doors, let alone eat its food.  They also give non-customers the means to identify and communicate about a business.  I'd bet that an awful lot of non-coffee drinkers know exactly what a green mermaid signifies out in the marketplace, giving them the ability to tell their coffee-drinking friends where to find the closest Starbucks.

A Face I'd Recognize Anywhere.   Chances are, so would most people.

A Face I'd Recognize Anywhere.  Chances are, so would most people.

Beyond impacting conscious brand recognition, name and logo operate subconsciously to influence our choices as consumers.  Choosing a restaurant is a zero-sum thing; if a customer eats at a different restaurant, he doesn't eat at yours.  The odds are that there are number of pretty comparable choices in terms of product and price, so things like image and aesthetics are what tip the scales.  The way a logo appeals to us may well cause us to give one business a chance at the expense of another.  Logos signal something to us, implicitly setting up our expectations about the business behind the logo.  

Unforgettable Name.   I've seen only one of these places in my life-Iowa City, 2003-but the name was permanently imprinted in my memory.   

Unforgettable Name.  I've seen only one of these places in my life-Iowa City, 2003-but the name was permanently imprinted in my memory.  

The point is that I'm looking for a name and logo that not only cause people to recognize and remember my business, but also cause them to form positive subconscious associations and expectations about it.  I have a lot of levers at my disposal--quality and cost of my product, look-and-feel of my physical space, customer service, etc.--to deepen the customer's impression, hopefully in a positive way, but only after the customer has already decided to patronize my business.  I need to make people want to come and eat our ramen in the first place.  And I need to give them easy ways to remember us after they've left, lowering the barrier to a return visit or a recommendation to a friend.     

Japanese Food With a Brand?  Does That Exist?

Here's one way we want to be different:  we want to serve authentic Japanese food while simultaneously placing a heavy emphasis on brand building, starting with name and logo.  Why do I think this is a differentiator?  Well, can you think of many Japanese restaurants with a recognizable brand?  A name that's catchy, or a logo that really stands out?  My guess is that if even if you can, the number is likely pretty low.  Even as we increase in generality from ramen shops to Japanese restaurants to Asian restaurants, I can't think of too many examples where strong branding has been deployed to create broad market awareness (let's set aside mega-chains like Panda Express and P.F. Chang's).  

LA Area Ramen Restaurants.   Jinya Ramen Bar's approach is similar to ours. It's name and logo are much easier to remember than the others. Apparently that was the  intent . We're going a step further by using a more English-friendly name and animal imagery in our logo.  

LA Area Ramen Restaurants.  Jinya Ramen Bar's approach is similar to ours. It's name and logo are much easier to remember than the others. Apparently that was the intent. We're going a step further by using a more English-friendly name and animal imagery in our logo.  

One reason for this, I think, lies in the nature of the food and the identity of the restauranteur.  Most Japanese restaurants are run by Japanese nationals who are first and foremost chefs--not businessmen--and they go for the Japanese feel.  Usually small owner-operated places focused on the food, not brand recognition, and catering to a small geographical area without thoughts of expanding to multiple outlets. Their logos, if they have them, are often indistinguishable from one another, at least to western eyes.  Too many Japanese language characters, and too much use of calligraphic brushstrokes.  More modern logos seem to almost always use the image of a bowl of noodles.

This is not to disparage the aesthetic qualities or the elegance of such designs, not in the least.  The point is that a logo should be distinctive of your brand, and these kinds of logos just aren’t doing much differentiating.  In the end, we Americans simply don't have the cultural background we need to make sense of symbols and imagery that resonate perfectly well in another cultural context.  I'll say it again (three times):  context, context, context.  We might be serving Japanese food, but we're an American business.  That's how we're thinking about this.  

Next time, I'll tell you why we decided to call our restaurant Shiba Ramen.   After that, I'll take you through our logo design process.

Ramen Chemistry

I’m Jake Freed. I just started a restaurant company. It’s called Shiba Ramen. We’re going to open our first shop (selling ramen, of course) in 2015 somewhere in the Oakland-Berkeley-Emeryville area of the East San Francisco Bay. This blog—Ramen Chemistry—is going to follow our progress and explain, in detail, everything that goes into building what we hope will be a successful business. And I mean everything in the broadest sense of the word: food and design, business and legal, science and technology, and the way our unique backgrounds inform how we run our business.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 9.04.37 PM.png

Starting and running a successful business means mastering all the elements of the business. For a restaurant, the core element is unquestionably the food. But the food interacts with a manifold of other elements to produce the whole. Now, I’m not a restauranteur or a chef by training—I’m a chemist and a lawyer—but I love picking up new tasks, figuring out what I need to know, and going out and making myself competent. The same is true of my wife and collaborator (also a chemist!), Hiroko. And I think that skill set is suited to this task. We’re going to have to learn everything as we go. Some things—forming a corporate entity or applying for a trademark—are transparent enough from my legal training. But other things—renting and renovating commercial real estate, managing employees, building a brand—are altogether new territory for us. Believe it or not, so is ramen! But making ramen seems a lot like chemistry to us, and we think we’re up to the challenge.

My objective with this blog is to convey, as comprehensively—and as comprehensibly—as I can, the elements that go into the making of our ramen business. And that’s why I’m calling the blog Ramen Chemistry. Nevertheless, I am planning to do a series of posts on the chemistry of ramen. Not only the chemistry-like process of making ramen, but also the actual chemistry underlying its ingredients and flavors.

Once we decided to go forward with this business, it occurred to me that I should write about the experience of building it. There is unlikely to be another topic that I can write about with more intimacy and insight than this one, especially writing in near real time as the experience unfolds. I’ll write about ways in which our backgrounds in chemistry, law, and Japanese language and culture impact and inform our business, our decision-making, and our strategic thinking. I’ll take forays into science and law when I think there is something interesting to share. I’ll tell you about some of the confidence-building projects that we did in our home over the past few years, which in effect enabled us to take on something this significant.

I want my readers to learn as we learn, every step of the way. It’s the learning process that makes this so interesting to me. If we want to succeed—and we very much do—we will have to be open-minded and adaptable. We aren’t experts, and that’s the whole point.

My goal is that, a couple of years down the road, readers of this blog will have a roadmap to go out and build a business. Not an abstract roadmap, but a practical one. I want you to read the posts on Ramen Chemistry and feel enabled to go out and do things you didn’t think you could do. Read this blog and you’ll learn a lot about making ramen, but you’ll also learn how to renovate and design a restaurant space, how register a company with your state and how to secure a commercial lease. I’ll combine our real-life experience with Shiba Ramen with the insights from the resources I rely on to educate myself along the way. I taught organic chemistry at Harvard for five years, and my days as a lawyer are dedicated to explaining complicated concepts. I’ll use those skills to make Ramen Chemistry both entertaining and educational.

Here are a few areas I’ll explore as Ramen Chemistry gets going:

  • Ramen – What goes into a bowl and how it’s made. I’ll cover our product development process and Hiroko’s recent trip to Japan for ramen school.

  • Design – We’re designing our brand from the ground up. Logo, menu, website, physical space, the works. This is the fun stuff.

  • Business – Securing commercial real estate, finding and evaluating suppliers, controlling costs, raising money, employment issues.

  • Legal – Incorporating a business and getting the entity up and running, issuing shares, applying for trademarks and licenses.

  • Science – The molecules responsible for umami and the molecular mechanism of the umami response.

  • Japan & Shiba Inus – We’re selling authentic Japanese food, so Japanese food and culture is central to our business. And that iconic Japanese dog, the shiba inu, is the inspiration for our company’s name.

  • Starter Projects – You have to figure out what you’re capable of before taking on this kind of project. It’s an invaluable process, and it’s exactly what we spent a few years doing before starting Shiba Ramen.

I love imagery and photography and I value them as teaching tools. I will make Ramen Chemistry as visual as I can, not only to be nice to look at, but also to be maximally informative to the reader.

With a scope this broad, I understand that not everyone will be interested in every topic I post about. My goals, though, are to tell an engaging overall story through examination of its component elements, and to enable readers to go out and make their own uses of those elements. Sure, the food aspect of this blog might be most interesting to most people, but aspiring entrepreneurs might care most about knowing how to decide between forming an LLC and an S-Corporation, or how to set up a board of directors. And because I will write based on my experience, readers will be able to take comfort in knowing that somebody has actually done a given task, and that instructions and pitfalls are being shared. To that end, I will do my best to establish my own credibility and earn the trust of my readers. I’ll do this by telling you what we did, why we did it, and whether or not it led to a good result.

And with that, Ramen Chemistry has its first post, and is off and running. In the next posts, I’ll tell you where the Shiba Ramen project is today and a bit more about us, our backgrounds, and how we ended up starting a ramen company.