One year ago. March, 2015. The last stringy pieces of easter candy lay abandoned in their eggs and the dust of the viral tornado called Goat Simulator was settling. I had been curating PR-assets for journalists for months and thought a lot about brands, logotypes, internet presence and naturally how we, Coffee Stain, related to it all. A spark fired and lo and behold: an idea for a new project was born.
It was time for a face lift. Our logotype was starting to feel rather shoddy and wrinkles of age had start to show on our website. Perhaps this was the time for something new? I pitched the idea and it was well received. The Coffee Stain refurbish project was a go. So I started researching different design bureaus to find a good fit for us. After some back and fourth a victor emerged. The dynamic duo that formed the company 1910 was to be our partners in crime.
We started talking and I was asked questions I hadn't the faintest idea how to answer. What defines Coffee Stain? What are we trying to accomplish and who are the people working there? Of course these things seem obvious at a glance but when I actually had to define Coffee Stain in concrete terms trouble came a knockin'. Distilling a whole company, its employees, its culture and its vision to a easily digestible paragraph of text was difficult. I managed to spit out something contrived just to get the ball rolling.
Pictured below is the first pitch we received from 1910. Interesting ideas are bountiful in these concepts but we felt they severed the ties from our coffee stained roots too thoroughly and in all honesty, we weren't ready to abandon our caffeinated self image yet.
Things went back and fourth for a bit. Many hours were spent thinking and analyzing both brand and website. We were building something almost completely from scratch and I naively underestimated the daunting task of good design. Eventually though, magic happened.
We decided to go for a warm, vintage coffee shop kind of feeling. After making the decision to go in a more casual direction things fell into place quickly. A mood, color scheme and type was set just a few days following. As all of this was unfolding we were in the midst of relocating our office to a new building and the decorators needed input. Voilà! A mood and color scheme already existed and if used the office would look and feel just like our new logo and website. A serendipitous coincidence, no? Yes. So we went for it.
Focus switched back to the logotype. 1910 hit us up with lots of great designs but it felt like an impossible task to make a final decision on any of them. Once decided it would become real and that was a bit unnerving. What if people didn't like it? This tentativeness made the process lag. Finally we settled on a logo with handwritten script. It was on two lines that fit well in a square ratio, bundled together with a nice and clean coffee stain 'stain' ready for 2016. Once decided we relaxed about it all and suddenly realized what we actually had. Our profile was gorgeous. Functional. Expressive. Exactly what we were looking for.
Parallel to everything else that was going on there was work being done on the website design. I won't go into details but lets just say a lot of thought went into the final version, the one that's rendered in your browser right now.
The second phase started. We needed to populate the website with our own assets and pictures. We hired a photographer. Sebastian Bularca. Check his great work here. A person very easy to work with, I'd highly recommend his services. That said, the workload on my part here was, again, severely underestimated. Ever tried taking pictures of awkward and nerdy people? Surprise surprise, most pictures were awkward. We can't have that. We live by the axiom to try our hardest to make it look that we're not trying so hard. After cherry picking among hundreds of pictures I found enough assets to populate the site and make it look good. While keeping everyone's cool, of course. Just kidding, we don't have any cool.
So where we at today? We've moved in to our new offices, which were decorated in tandem with the rebrand, so everything feels nice and consistent. It's like working in a hipster café. We're in the process of defining our vision and strategies for the future. We have also started working on new exciting projects. Read more about them here.
That's all from me for now. Live well and prosper.