Archive for February, 2011

branding the conversation | coffee common

Yes, this is another unapologetic coffee-focused post.  It’s not that I am promoting my coffee photo blog (and to prove it, I will wait until the end of the post to even mention the URL), but because of that project, I have been hanging out in the land of coffee roasters, coffee shops and coffee blogs. There’s a lot to learn…for instance, did you know that it takes five years for a coffee tree to reach maturity, and the average yield from one tree is the equivalent of one roasted pound of coffee? Makes your three dollar cup look pretty darn cheap, doesn’t it?

Of course, I believe that design can fix almost everything in the world, or at least build a sturdy bridge to knowledge and understanding. And there’s a pretty big gap in our knowledge of how great coffee shows up in our cups. Another designer who seems to believe in the power of design, and is actually doing something about that is Brian Jones of  Welcome Design and Dear Coffee, I Love You.

I also believe that branding is not about visual assets, or even “the story.” Branding (if we must call it that…and for an industry of creatives, I can’t believe we couldn’t come up with a better tag) is the conversation. Simple. Complex. Evolving.

Like coffee….just like coffee.

Brian and a group of others, who could also be considered competitors,  have a brilliant idea to bring together the top roasters and baristas to share the truth about coffee, and they’ve named it Coffee Common.  Coffee Common boldly (though we now know that bold does not describe coffee) claims that great coffee is a collaboration of an empowered coffee farmer, an artisan coffee roaster, a dedicated barista, and an enlightened consumer. They are starting at the TED Conference, and the conversation and collaboration will continue.

“We of Coffee Common gather as a community with shared values. We understand coffee as the most complex and extraordinary beverage in the world. We believe that great coffee requires study, experimentation, craftsmanship, and humility.  We believe that collaboration can be an act that promotes global economic prosperity, social parity, cultural exchange, and culinary expression.”

This is branding at it’s best. A conversation, a collaboration, a way to help us see, understand and experience value.

I can’t wait, even if it means paying more for my coffee.

And….since you have been so patient, my new blog project is Coffee|Served Daily, collecting and curating 1000 cups of coffee, one photo at a time. And if you are still reading, I suspect you must love coffee. And I also suspect you have a camera or an iPhone close by. So come over and visit, or better yet, take a photo, send it to me, and then let’s linger over a cup of great coffee.