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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Carr

Motif Coffee Brand and Visual Identity Development

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

How we brought a new home coffee brand to life, from sketchbook to shelf.

Seattle, WA

Consumer Goods

Focus: B2C, Internal


Espresso Supply, a leading distributor of high-quality coffee brewing equipment, was facing increasing competitive pressure and wanted to bring a new line of home coffee products to market quickly. The team had a code name, a rough concept, and some intriguing sketches in the founder's notebook. Fueled by competitive research (i.e., coffee), we developed a fresh new consumer brand in just a few short months.


Brand Strategy

Stakeholder interviews; detailed competitive and category analysis

Archetype analysis and external inspiration

Brand architecture analysis and recommendations

Development of brand purpose, position, and pillars

Brand Activation

Creative direction for visual identity development and brand standards

Development of messaging framework with key messages

Development of voice/tone guidelines and brand vocabulary

Distillation of best practices and philosophy into an ownable, step-by-step process supported by content and product

Brand Expression

Naming and tagline development

Development of short/medium/long brand story


One of the pivotal ideas came from the company's founder, Laura Sommers, who insisted that the new brand be inclusive, not exclusive. She felt that the coffee industry had become too snobby and full of itself, and she wanted the brand to make great home coffee available to everyone. In her words, "It's science, but it's not rocket science!"

We determined that the Sage archetype, with an approachable, short & sweet, and encouraging tone, was our ideal north star. We rallied around a new purpose: "To make the knowledge of how to brew the best possible coffee at home, and the tools to do it, widely available."

We rallied around a new purpose: "To make the knowledge of how to brew the best possible coffee at home, and the tools to do it, widely available."

As we developed the brand, we combed through industry research for relevant statistics and trends. We discovered that 28% of millennials said that a single-cup brewer was the only way they knew how to make coffee. This pointed to a significant opportunity to show that with the right tools and information, anyone can brew great coffee at home--and it's well worth the effort in terms of taste, satisfaction, and environmental sustainability.


The Motif brand strategy came together smoothly, but naming proved especially tricky. After many rounds, our carefully crafted shortlist was rejected by the legal team, and we had to go back to square one. "Motif" bubbled up at the last minute and sailed through internal feedback and legal, and we were even able to secure Once Hovie began developing the logo, using one of Laura's original geometric sketches for inspiration, everything came together beautifully.

Hovie used one of the founder's original geometric sketches for inspiration.

Original sketch for Motif concept

Motif logo


This concise "About Motif" brand story incorporates all of the key elements of the Motif brand: coffee expertise, rational design, and informed choice.


"Thank you for all the work you've done on the Motif brand. The framework that you provided was essential in making Motif successful." Chris Legler, CEO, Espresso Supply


The Name Inspector (naming and tagline development)

Design Hovie Studios (logo and visual identity, trade show design)

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