For coffee businesses, the importance of a well-designed logo cannot be overstated. It helps brands reflect identity, build consumer trust, improve recognition, and stand out from competitors.
According to a 2021 survey by Renderforest, 75% of consumers recognise a brand by its logo alone. This means that a strong logo needs to not only embody the brand accurately, but also make an immediate impression on whomever encounter its.
However, creating a logo can be challenging. Limited by space and colour schemes, coffee businesses often struggle to settle on a design that truly captures the essence of their brand.
To find out more about designing a logo for coffee brands, I spoke with Charlie Mertens, founder, illustrator, and designer at Stubby Duckworth.
See also: Rotogravure: The Printing Process For High-Quality Coffee Packaging
The Purpose Of A Brand Logo
A logo is an essential part of every company. It acts as a centre point around which a brand can build its identity, helping to showcase its values and establish instant brand recognition.
Logos are often described as the “face” of a business, as they are displayed across all products, websites, and social media pages. They allow companies to tie everything they produce back to a consistent message, helping provide customers with a strong sense of familiarity.
A recent example of how important logos are to brands involves Italian football club Juventus F.C. In 2017, they redesigned their iconic team crest with a more simple, stylised letter “J”. Although the club’s chiefs were conscious the rebrand would anger some corners of the fanbase, the new logo showed a desire to promote Juventus as “something wider than a football brand”.
This demonstrates how a logo represents more than just a useful indicator of a company; it can encapsulate a whole brand and the way it sees itself in the wider context of the market.
Charlie Mertens is the founder of Stubby Duckworth, an illustration and design company based in Oregon, United States. Over the years, he’s created eye-catching designs in his distinctive style for everything from stickers to furniture. He tells me that a logo is a vital part of a brand’s identity.
“It’s about more than just a logo,” he says. “There’s huge importance in establishing a strong brand identity. A brand identity encompasses everything from the logomark, fonts, and colours used, to how imagery and advertising is treated. All of these parts work together to build the brand’s visual story and create a meaningful connection with the consumer.”
In addition to building brand identity, a logo also helps foster feelings of familiarity. A recent survey by Study Finds reveals that 50% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand with a logo they recognise. For example, if someone arrives in an unfamiliar city and wants a coffee, they know they can look for the Starbucks logo to provide the same experience as they have back home.
“Coffee roasters like Stumptown, Verve, and Onyx come to mind as brands with strong identities,” Charlie says. “You usually know immediately when you’re looking at one of their products or advertisements.”
What To Consider When Designing Your Logo
Before you start designing a logo or hand the responsibility to someone else, there are a few important factors to take into account. For Charlie, figuring out your target audience and how you can appeal to them should be one of the first considerations.
“If your roastery plans on offering only micro lots and high price point coffees, you’ll probably want to design a brand that feels high-end and will appeal visually to a target audience willing to spend the extra dollar on rare coffees,” he explains.
“Whereas if you plan on mostly wholesaling bulk to local cafes, you’ll want to take a completely different approach and design in a visual language that feels more approachable for the everyday coffee drinker.”
Minimalist logos in black, white, or dark blue tend to convey a sense of luxury, while more rustic logos that use greens and browns showcase sustainability and healthy living.
In an article for Vistaprint’s 99designs, Antonia Gesch defines a good logo as one that retains its proportions and works well at any size and in any location. This means that the logo should have the same effect whether it’s on the front of a shop or the side of a coffee bag.
For this to work, roasters should avoid any text that may become unintelligible when shrunk to fit on coffee packaging. Similarly, any aspects of the design that may lose their visual impact when sized, coloured, or displayed differently should be avoided.
Today, the consensus in the world of marketing is to opt for a simple design. According to How To Build A Brand, a simple logo is not only easier to absorb, it’s also easier to recall when we see it again. Overwhelming consumers with complicated designs is a surefire way of confusing them and, ultimately, putting them off your brand.
Italian coffee company Illy has followed approach to great effect. By placing simple white lettering on a bright red background, they’ve been able to create a striking and distinctive logo without overcomplicating it. The logo is both instantly recognisable to consumers and works well across everything from tins to coffee cups to large shops signs.
Choosing just one or two colours like this for your logo can also help reduce costs and make it easier on the eye, particularly when viewed on a screen. Too many colours can create an illusion of distortion and noise, therefore it’s better to keep it limited to no more than three colours.
Standing Out: The Importance Of Making Your Logo Unique
Thanks to the broad diversity involved in coffee production, specialty roasters and coffee shops have a lot of scope when it comes to designing a logo for their brand.
However, Charlie notes that coffee companies often fall into the trap of creating a logo that’s been seen time and time again, making it hard for them to stand out on the shelf.
“You see a lot of coffee brand logos that lean heavily on something like roasted beans or coffee cherry imagery,” he says. “Naturally, those brands get lost among the rest and miss the opportunity to stand out.”
Starbucks is perhaps the most well-known example of a coffee brand that’s departed from typical coffee-related symbols. Inspired by the nautical world of Moby Dick, the logo incorporates an image of a siren from a 16th-century Nordic woodcut.
Not only does it pay homage to coffee’s seafaring history and Seattle’s strong seaport roots (the first Starbucks store was in Seattle), it’s memorable for all those who come across it. With only minor changes to colour and style over the decades, Starbucks has managed to capture worldwide attention with a simple, yet distinctive logo.
“Try to find a new way of getting your message across,” Charlie advises. “And don’t be afraid to try something new. If you have a family pet, or another passion, or funny backstory, those are the stories you should be telling with your logo and identity.
“A successful logo is achieved by finding your unique story and putting it front and centre in a creative and engaging way. Whether it’s a unique approach to illustrations, packaging, or merchandising, a lot of success derives from standing out.”
At MTPak Coffee, we understand the importance of designing a logo to suit your brand identity. Whether you’re interested in a more vintage or modern look, our sustainable and fully customisable packaging range can help showcase your brand and products.
We also offer low minimum order quantity (MOQ) stock bags of 1,000 units on which you can include a single colour logo. These are a great option for roasters looking for a small order with their own branding.
For more information on our sustainable packaging, contact our team here.
Photo credits: Stubby Duckworth
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