What's in a Name?

We call ourselves Timpla—the Tagalog word meaning to blend or mix ingredients together to make the perfect dish. We chose this word because of its obvious ties to cooking; but on a deeper level because it is our identity. We are a blended culture—Filipino and American. Throughout our childhood we’d follow the slang, pop music and mannerisms of our American friends, and then went home to our parents speaking Tagalog, cooking dinner in big pots and constantly hearing The Filipino Channel in the background. As children, we didn’t realize that we were experiencing two different cultures. Now as adults, we understand the significant roles each culture played in defining who we are.  This is why we chose to share our story of growing up multicultural through food.  That, dear readers, is why we’re Timpla.

Our name is not the only factor that represents our blended culture—equally representative is our logo. When creating the logo for Timpla, our goal was to visualize what Filipino/Modern American meant through design. We wanted a very sleek and modern design because of the exquisite presentation of our dishes, but it was also important for us to incorporate traditional elements to represent our Filipino culture and history.

We started off the way all branding projects do—lots of research. We read about Baybayin, the tribal writing used in pre-Spanish Philippines. We also bought a book on Philippine tribal tattoos, a lifestyle custom that pre-Spanish Filipinos used to represent their families, ancestry, occupations, location, coming of age, and other aspects of life. We discovered that both Baybayin and tribal patterns were highly developed and seen as symbols of respect and honor in the Indo-Polynesian society. Unfortunately, when the Spanish invaded Philippines, they denounced these practices as slanderous and demeaning. As the Spanish gained more prominence in Philippines, these traditions inevitably died out.

Today, there is a movement of Filipinos on a mission to reconnect with pre-Spanish Philippines and revive the forgotten practices of Baybayin writing and tribal patterns. These practices represent the true identity of our ancestors and artisans are coming together to record the lost symbols as well as create modern interpretations of them. Filipino-Americans and similar groups are particularly interested in this revival because of its powerful connection to our homeland. As such, we knew incorporating Baybayin and tribal patterns into the Timpla logo would be the best way to visually pay homage to our Filipino culture.

Embedded in the logo are several symbols that relate back to our mission of integrating modern trends with traditional elements. First, we wrote out timpla using Baybayin syllables and came up with this:

We played around with these symbols looking for ways to incorporate them into the word Timpla, deciding on turning “ti” sideways and make it the top of the T. Next, we used tribal patterns including diamonds to represent the strong and deep connection with family, and circles to represent eyes of ancestors watching over us, as well as the connection between past, present, and future of Filipino culture.

After several rounds of sketches and edits, we came up with a design that we properly suited everything we stood for.