Whether standing over a machine groggily in your kitchen or waiting in line at a local cafe, we can all agree that coffee is what starts most people’s mornings. In fact, this commodity is so impactful that the average American spends roughly $1,092 annually on coffee alone.
Smoky Hollow is one of the many coffee shops that plays an integral role in the mornings of those who reside and work nearby, though it certainly stands out from cafes like it. Located near Los Angeles, this particularly alluring coffee roasters shares its rich history with the Smoky Hollow industrial district of El Segundo. The “hollows” of the area were composed of warehouses and aviation facilities during the 50s and 60s, and represent rugged industrial modern background Smoky Hollow Coffee Roasters continues to represent.
Today, the shop sits just three miles from the Los Angeles International Airport. It’s known for its duality: being a swanky cafe as well as the source of fragrant and freshly-roasted coffee beans.
The commonality of coffee shops means that branding them is well-charted territory for designers, but branding a combination cafe and roastery known for its location and firmly-embedded heritage is perhaps a feat of its own.
The first challenge in branding Smoky Hollow Coffee Roasters was defining its community and company role, which had become muddled due to sharing a space with its child company, Blue Butterfly Cafe.
Smoky Hollow has supplied both its own cafe and Blue Butterfly with internationally-sourced yet locally-roasted coffee beans from the start, but coffee lovers knew only Blue Butterfly as the place to be for craft coffee drinks. With a unique identity wholly unknown to anyone outside of the employee staff of the two stores, establishing brand independence was integral.
To streamline Smoky Hollow’s identity as a totally separate coffee supplier, strategists, the client, and myself met consistently across a timeframe of four weeks. Through revisions and brand applications, our team effortlessly conceptualized dozens of different brand logos, marks, and appropriate typefaces.
We finally decided upon two iconic word marks that illustrated the boldness of the Smoky Hollow’s rustic traditions with the hand-crafted nature of its origins.
Using the logo, the history, and the client’s vision as a jumping point, we created a fully-fleshed brand identity. In addition to a digital and visual aesthetic foundation, Smoky Hollow’s physical product line of bagged roasted coffee beans were redesigned to incorporate country of origin and type of roast through print color decisions. From there, full digital and printed content collateral was developed and implemented.
The end result? A brand that looks as good as its coffee tastes.