SRI, the incredibly unique Sri Lankan transeasonal fashion brand commissioned us to create written content for launching its collection on the online fashion portal FMLK. Staying true to the brand’s allure of uber-cool tropical vibrancy, we worked on creating something that is commercially sound, hard-selling and Instagram friendly.
Suba Gaman is the pioneer in tuk tuk tours in Sri Lanka before the market got flooded with similar brands that somehow, could never do it as well. In Sinhala, ‘Suba Gaman’ wishes well for a journey ahead. The identity developed by Sri Lankan visual designer Thilini Perera was that of a fun, easygoing, approachable brand that had a touch of tropical vibrancy to it. Keeping with this identity, our challenge was to create written content that was flexible for both print and web.
A city, culture and chaos on three-wheels
Colombo is a place where fantastic remnants of culture and exquisite glimpses into history exist side by side with absolute chaos. This tiny island nation’s commercial capital– Colombo is slowly growing into a full-fledged metropolitan. This is why its last remaining strongholds of a bygone quaint city teeming with heritage becomes increasingly interesting and also sadly, more tiresome to reach amidst the daily pandemonium of traffic and business. This is where ‘Suba-gaman’ saves the day. This small-scale local tour operator conducted solely on three-wheeled vehicles is run by husband-wife duo. They host a fantastic sightsee of hidden city gems which are a fun mix of beautiful, quirky, awe-inspiring and just plain bizarre. Trained drivers who double as English-speaking, informative tour guides are all yours minus the fancy charges making it easily among the most delightful and economical ways to experience Colombo.
The little three-wheeled taxis fondly known by locals as ‘tuk-tuks’ after the sound of their sputtering little engines, are infamous for their surprising speed, ability to manoeuver through tiny streets and traffic with ease and open sides that allow the city to sweep right through you with all its sounds, sights and scents in high definition. The lovely people at Suba Gaman allow tourists to get this adrenaline-charged experience of riding a tuk-tuk, within a safe setting, assisted by trained, English-speaking tuk-tuk drivers. Yes, they are real tuk-tuk drivers who conduct tours with Suba-gaman on a reserved basis. This is awesome, because these men who are patron dwellers of Colombo have their own takes, stories and memories of the city which they will share with you throughout the journey.
What is truly cool about Suba-gaman is their standard tour itinerary, which is no standard tour itinerary by any means. Keeping an admirable distance from ‘touristy’ main retail streets of the city, Suba-gaman takes you on a rather unusual and eccentric string of places that will give you the most raw tour experience of Colombo. The approximately 2.5 hour excursion steers you through a series of fun places like the creepy old Town Hall Museum, the beautifully post-gothic Wolvendaal Church, colourful Sri Kailasanthar Hindu temple and even obscure delights like the jail cell of the last king of Sri Lanka, a queer coin museum and the Galle Face Lighthouse that looks like it was specially made for sunset selfies. With a few more added perks like a mineral water bottle and king coconut drinks (not forgetting your own obliging tour-guide), Suba-gaman is a sure deal for 25 PP USD.
‘Suba gaman’, in the native Sinhala tongue, is an affirmative bid of farewell to a traveller for a joyful journey. And that’s certainly what this mini city-escapade is.
Colombo Design Studio is Sri Lanka’s first product design studio, and for the longest time, the only one. Its founder Lee Bazalgette is one of the most pragmatic designers we’ve met. Like him, CDS is also a function-first, minimal, fuss free brand. Writing their website content, our task was to make it interesting and in line with this brand identity of the studio. CDS is also an approachable brand, which we interpreted as an easy-going, semi-formal conversational tone.
Serendip Strings is an interesting children and music based charity set up in Sri Lanka by an Australian musician who wanted to share learning opportunities with rural children. When they approached us to create online content for them, we understood that the challenge was in creating flexible content that worked for web, and print. The idea was to give them a piece that could be used for information, or as a proposal to present to stakeholders, partners and possible investors.
When speaking to our client, we discovered a beautiful sentiment behind Serendip Strings that touched on bringing people together through music; we wanted to give this a focal point through the writing so that the reader will understand how much impact this project can really have.
The Colombo Innovation Tower is one of the biggest ventures related to creativity to take place in Sri Lanka. So, it was quite interesting to get an insider’s view into the project by being commissioned to write for their website. The project would bring forward the largest space dedicated to design, creativity and innovation in Sri Lanka, and offered our industries a creative catalyst space to be part of. It was crucial that website text helped the viewer understand the big picture of the project; this means the philosophy behind CIT and why it is necessary for Sri Lanka. At the same time, the commercial paradigm of the venture was paramount; the website had to sell the spaces at the end of the day. The challenge for the writer was in creating this balance in the text.