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Last updated: 10 February 2022

8 Pro Tips To Help You Create a Caffeine-Charged Coffee Shop Logo

If you have plans to open up a coffee shop, the logo will become an important part of your brand. Coffee shop logos are displayed for signage, customized coffee cups, menus and more. Here are eight tips to help you create the perfect icon with your new logo.

1. Find Your Niche for More Powerful Branding

You aren't competing with the big, franchised coffee houses when you first start out. If you are a small, local startup, then your audience will be looking for that approach. However, even in a small startup, there are many things a coffee house can be.

  • A workplace hub for professionals to meet or work remotely.
  • An inspirational spot that offers live music or sells local artists' goods.
  • A brunch stop with fantastic food and reservation options for special events.
  • A family-friendly shop that offers fun kid's options as well as mature drinks.
  • A sustainable, eco-friendly café with a dedication to bettering the community.
  • A coffee truck for markets and special events, focused on simplicity and speed..

When you can establish a niche, you will have a more specific audience to target. A great logo is going to help define your coffee shop brand characteristics and increase your niche appeal.

2. Research Imagery to Appeal to Your Audience

For the most part, it's smart to avoid generic images that could be assigned to any shop. However, with the right combination of colors and fonts, even a clipart coffee cup or coffee bean can make a great icon.

Caribou Coffee uses a very stylized caribou icon that illustrates the brand name in a literal way but provides a very artistic interpretation. Starbucks, on the other hand, uses an illustration that isn't a direct representation of the name or coffee (the mermaid) but still creates brand distinction. Imagery can help your logo be more memorable.

In addition to researching coffee shops for inspiration, you should also look at products in the broader coffee niche such as coffee machines this will help give you more creative insights to draw for and help you create a more unique logo design.

Your illustration can be paired with text or without. Recently, Starbucks dropped the text from their logo for most uses.

3. Consider the Competition (And Go a Different Direction)

What other coffee shops exist in your area? If you want to stand out, it's important to know what already exists. Be very careful to take your logo in a completely different direction to avoid brand confusion. You want your coffee shop to stand on its own.

Consider:

  • What colors are used?
  • Can you tell what audience it targets?
  • Is any imagery being used?
  • What shapes are used?
  • Are textures included in the design?

When you can see some of the design aspects that are already covered by competitor logos, you will have a better understanding of where your brand can stand out.

4. Choose an Appropriate Color Palette

Coffee shops don't have any hard-and-fast rules on what colors work best in a logo. While earthy colors can convey a handcrafted element, bright colors can express how fun your coffee shop is. Bold colors (think deep jewel tones) can be artsy, broody and show strength. Vibrant colors, like intense reds and oranges, can show vigor and spark action.

The colors you choose are very important they help convey your brand personality. Colors make an impact from the very first second you see a logo. The eye is immediately drawn to color and processes it faster than text or imagery. Those milliseconds of subconscious thought inform your mind how you should feel about the brand in question.

We tie colors to certain feelings. For example, purple is typically considered luxurious and unique. A soft green color might represent wellness and something eco-friendly. Something tan or brown can give a warm, earthy feel to your coffee shop logo.

It's usually a good idea to stay away from color combinations that are already well-known. Bright red and yellow may cause someone to subconsciously equate your brand to McDonald's. Or, a red and green logo might make most people think of Christmas before they even give your brand logo a second glance.

5. Consider Letters and Fonts for Instant Identification

While color makes the first impression, it's the font that really makes your logo readable or cluttered. The wrong font will be hard to read or make your logo look busy. The right font will add class and convey meaningful characteristics about your brand.

Some brands rely heavily on their font. For example, Biggby simply uses a bold capital letter "B" on an orange background. Dunkin' uses a bright orange sans serif font spelling out their name.

However, other brands make the font a secondary point with the illustration or design elements of the logo taking over. Caribou coffee uses a very specific script font, but it plays second fiddle to the caribou illustration in the logo design.

To get ideas for some fonts that might work well with your brand you should try a font generator tool, these tools will generate hundreds of different fonts. Simply, enter your name and see which fonts appeal most to you.

6. Decide How You Will Design Your Logo

There are many ways to design a logo and prep it for use. You can use DIY options (like logo software), automated options like a logo, use a freelance designer or work with a logo agency. Using an agency or freelancer is usually a pricy option that many small startups aren't ready to afford.

For those of you operating on a tiny budget, you can choose to go the DIY route to create a logo yourself using design software. However, DIY logos can be difficult to create. You have to know what looks right and have proficiency with the design software. You will need to have a grasp of key design elements and at least a basic understanding of design history.

Some choose to use a logo maker these logo design tools can create logos automatically after receiving information about your brand. They are one of the cheapest, easiest and quickest ways to design a logo. The only downside to a logo-maker is that it can sometimes be a bit on the generic side. However, you should have control to make edits after designs are suggested, which gives you creative control over the process.

7. Design for Small Scaling

You may be designing your logo for your coffee shop sign, but don't forget about uses like business cards and disposable cups. You want a logo that won't lose impact when it is scaled down to a small size.

Try sizing your logo down until it is about an inch big on the screen—is it still recognizable? What about when you shrink it to the size of an app icon on your phone? Can you blow it up to a large size without losing sharpness?

Your logo should look good and relay information quickly at any size. You will want to make sure the final version is a vector-based design that won't pixelate with expansion.

One of the trickier parts will be making sure your fonts and illustration details aren't difficult to read when they are only thumbnail size. There is a reason many brands choose to use extremely simplified logos, like the Biggby "B." It is much easier to understand a logo when the design is limited in terms of elements, color and lettering. Many logos avoid using words for this very reason and rely on a single letter or image that still translates well at a very small size.

8. Get Multiple Versions for Different Uses

You want a professional logo result, so you will need different sizes, file types and designs to work for your business. For example, you will want a compressed web version of your logo that is perfect for loading quickly on your website or social media profiles.

You may also benefit from having different variations that include/omit your logotype, emphasizing your illustration or logo icon. It may be necessary to have a monochromatic logo option in case you ever need a B&W version.

Different logo versions make it easier to establish a style guide that explains when your logos should be used and how they should look. Consistency is crucial in making your logo recognizable and meaningful to your audience. Even small elements matter—like the size and positioning of the logotype when paired with the icon or the correct color codes for the logo elements. Once you make a logo you are proud of, you will need to protect its integrity by requiring consistency in how it appears.