Image from the Wolseley's new digital identity, shown in a photo of a person with a black bob and fringe sat at a table while holding a newspaper next to a small dog leaning over a coffee

People take centre stage in the Wolseley Hospitality Group identity

The restaurant group’s new digital identity shows that it’s the staff and customers that make a visit to a WHG restaurant special

Brand design studio Without has collaborated with the Wolseley Hospitality Group (TWHG) to create a new identity for its website and online presence. Known for its high-end eateries such as The Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel and, of course, The Wolseley, TWHG is a verifiable institution in London, and as such needed branding that aligned with that reputation.

But rather than adopt the classic approach of simply championing the food and the interiors, Without looked for something more. The agency knew that, beyond the sumptuous dishes and grandiose surroundings, TWHG’s restaurants were memorable because of the people that keep them running each night.

Image from the Wolseley's new digital identity, showing a chef piping filling into a tray of pink macarons on the left, and a photo of a customer in a black dress smiling while walking up a flight of stairs with vintage posters in the background

From the front of house staff to those working hard behind the scenes, the teams at each of the restaurants have become the focal point for the identity. In fact, Without even travelled to seven of TWHG’s eight branches to speak with them and get their input on what the new branding should communicate.

“That’s where the magic lies,” says Philip Koh, director of strategy at Without. “Through the process we came to understand that you don’t experience the restaurant; you remember the doorman who greets you, the manager who shows you to your favourite table, the waiter who charms, the chef who packs an unprompted gift for you to take home. Ultimately, what makes the Group different is its people – staff and customers are the heroes.”

As a result, the identity is exceedingly down-to-earth, capturing the “energy and buzz” created by the people in each of the restaurants. Here, warm photography takes centre stage, revealing the personable faces of staff and customers alike (including one notably fancy dog).

The images were shot by local photographer Bella Howard, whose “flash-forward” style adds brilliant pops of light to scenes already bursting with laughter and fun.

This feeling is matched by Without’s typographic choices, which bring even more character into the mix. Alternating between the sleek serif GT Alpina by Grilli Type and the humanist sans-serif Satoshi by Indian Type Foundry, the text in the identity is both stylish and welcoming.

Finally, all of these elements sit within minimal, pared-back layouts, and soft colour palettes that let the imagery do the talking. The old adage ‘less is more’ certainly applies here, and Without has excelled at making the identity feel subtle yet enticing.

Image from the Wolseley's new digital identity, showing a photo of two chefs in a kitchen and the headline 'We create places where people feel they belong' layered over the top in white serif and sans-serif fonts
Image from the Wolseley's new digital identity, shown on a photo of a chef with a hand on their hip stood over a dessert and the page headline 'stories from the people that deliver our experience'. The web page is shown on an iPhone resting on a grey velvet couch
Image from the Wolseley's new digital identity showing three vertical website screenshots of its careers, leadership, and team pages, layered over the top of a photo of a chef preparing a plate of food
Image from the Wolseley's new digital identity showing a photo of people laughing around a dinner table shown on an iPhone screen on the left, and a photo of two waiting staff in white shirts and black waistcoats and bow ties, while holding a stack of tea cups, saucers and plates in a wood panelled room
Photo of two bar staff in white shirts and black waistcoats stood smiling behind a bar filled with rows of glasses and bottles, as shown on a website screengrab from the Wolseley's new digital identity