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Building a Local Coffee Brand Identity with Wells Collins

Connor Murdock

Rockstar brand & logo designer, Wells Collins, talks about his process building Denver-based coffee brand, Caffè Figurati

Basil got the chance to catch up with Wells Collins, a rockstar brand & logo designer. While his past clients include big brands like Delta, he also enjoys working with smaller brands on their brand design systems, wordmarks, and logos. I asked him all about his process working with Denver-based coffee brand, Caffè Figurati.

Q: How did Caffè Figurati find you?

Wells: The client for the Caffè Figurati project reached out to me via my website contact form, but he had originally found my work on Instagram. I’m unaware of any competing designers, but we met in person a couple of times to walk through the brief before I sent over an official proposal. The project was a fairly quick turnaround, so I’m sure my availability and quick process helped win the work. I accepted the project alongside my business partner at the time, Jeffrey Zucker.

Q: What was the client's original brief?

Wells: The original brief for the project was to design a visual identity for Caffè Figurati: a Southern Italian inspired coffee brand & retail location focused on premium coffee drinks, brewed with older traditions with a flare of new age brewing. Adjectives to describe the Caffé included:

cheerful, warm, witty, and approachable.

The original scope was fairly loose (which I no longer do these days), which at the time allowed us to design what was needed. The first round of identity directions included logo concepts, colors, fonts, and coffee related mockups. The owner/founder, Jason Farar, was very open to pulling the best elements from each direction. We used color and a bold illustration style to tie all of the brand assets together.

The scope evolved from the original brief to include signage for the physical location. We applied the brand pattern in vinyl around the bar, and I painted a small mural on the opposing wall that showcased the merch and coffee beans for sale.

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Q: Can you walk us through your unique process for this project and how long it took to complete?

Wells: This project was when I stopped looking at a visual identity as pieces to add to a logo and instead, started looking at all of the visuals as a cohesive system. When the logo is removed, is the brand still recognizable? The color, typography, illustrations & patterns should all be strong individually while pairing well together. These elements need to be thoughtfully considered early in the process rather than an afterthought to be tacked on to a logo design.

The founder, Jason Farar, was all about having fun which I’ve found to be so important! We were less concerned with creating strict guidelines and more interested in showing the playful personalities of the founder. We humanize brands to give them personality to allow people to see themselves within the brand. People support brands that further their own identity. Rarely do people who go into a coffee shop think of themselves as corporate and rigid, so why would you create a brand with stuffy and strict visuals?

The timeline for the Visual ID phase of the project was about a month and a half. The rest of the collateral pieces were completed in the following two months.

Q: What kind of deliverables did you end up creating for the client and how many deliverables in total?

Wells: This project was definitely a learning experience as it was a physical location that needed a good deal of printed collateral. My original scope was a visual identity design plus essential applications. After establishing the brand’s look and feel, we then built out the printed pieces such as a letterpress menu, a vinyl wrapped coffee bar, a small logo mural, branded postcards, apparel, a rotating specials board, and patterned to-go cups. 

As far as the Visual Identity deliverables go, I created

  1. Primary logotype
  2. Secondary logotypes 
  3. Brand color palette (with a balance of warm and cool shades)
  4. Primary and secondary typography
  5. Brand patterns
  6. Set of 6 custom illustrations

Q: What terms & expectations did you set up with the client?

Wells: The scope or terms of the project were broken down into 3 rounds. After creating a thorough creative brief based on conversations with the client, I begin the first round with a very thorough exploration. My design process with a wide array of sketches, both tactile and digital, based on a creative brief. The solutions start very broad, exploring a multitude of stylistic approaches. I find that quantity leads to quality - the more rough ideas we throw at the wall, the more educated we’ll be.

I created a comprehensive Round 1 presentation that includes fairly refined marks and application examples to show the client how their new brand could work in the wild. After this presentation, 2 rounds of revisions are included. If more collateral pieces are added as the project progresses, I then charge per round of revisions.

Q: How did you charge for this project & what was the cost breakdown?

Wells: I normally charge a fixed rate for logo and branding projects. I do my best to avoid any added costs because I like the transparency and clear expectations that come with a fixed price. While design is technically a service, I charge clients for a deliverable and not my time.

My brand identity projects start at a base price of $12k and can vary based on scope, timeline, and number of revisions. For most of my logo and brand identity projects, I charge a fixed rate and request a 50% deposit before I begin work. This deposit solidifies the client’s commitment to the work and makes them feel invested and ready to collaborate. I then charge the second and final 50% payment at the completion of the work (before I send an organized collection of all of the brand assets).


While Wells had a blast working on this project, he also had a clear path and process for working with Caffè Figurati. You'll find more of Wells' amazing work on his website.

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