Research, Strategy, Branding / Coursework / 2019
How can we redesign a café with a focus on its values that strengthens its ties to artists and the community?
A renamed, rebranded café that serves as a hub for artists and the community and supports local farmers with each order.
Adventure and Exploration, Conservation and Sustainability, Kindness and Positivity
Linnaea’s Café is a San Luis Obispo, California staple. They’ve been serving up made-to-order café drinks, vegetarian meals, and house-made treats and goodies for decades, and are a gathering place where all different kinds of people—community members, students, families, businesspeople, and everyone in between—come to relax, work, and connect with one another.
They’re small in size but large in heart; and with new coffee shops popping up more and more frequently around them, it’s sometimes hard to distill down what makes Linnaea’s different amid all the noise. This project came about as a result—a new brand that helps Linnaea’s lead with their values and intimately roots them in the community and art scene, plus supports the local businesses and farmers that have helped them grow all these years.
The new brand needed to be designed from the ground up to help Linnaea’s showcase who they are, what they serve, and what they stand for. First and foremost, they’re a café and coffeehouse, but they’re also an integral part of the San Luis Obispo community and a space that is welcoming, warm, and open to all. I dug into researching where they are now—their history, customers, and what they stand for—and built out three goals to help them get where they’re going.
We want to become a larger part of our customers’ lives by providing a warm, comforting place where all feel welcome.
We want to become a more integral part of the San Luis Obispo creative scene, serving as a space for local creatives and makers to connect with other members of the community and showcase their work and talents.
We want to encourage the expansion of sustainable and locally-sourced food, as well as promote a more conscious lifestyle focused on connection, creativity, and nature.
Conveying their values—creativity, connection, and sustainability—loudly and clearly was paramount, as was leaving the impression that this is a place where guests can see themselves belonging, no matter who they are, and that Linnaea’s means quality. They do their best to make sure their food and drinks are the best that they can serve and made with locally-sourced ingredients that support farmers and create a stronger, more resilient community.
During the rebranding, a whole lot changed, including the name, but the spirit and values of the café stayed constant throughout. The new name itself—Hearth—was chosen to reflect those values, just like the warm, comfortable gathering space around a fireplace where conversation, laughter, and sharing between friends and strangers happens. In its entirety, the new brand spanned logos, a business system, a new website, print promotions, café cup designs, and a revised strategy for the business as a whole.
You can take a look at the brand in its entirety in the Brand Standards Manual PDF below, or check out the Creative Brief that started the whole project in the first place.