In the last months of 2015 we were commissioned by a Tulsa entrepreneur to brand and develop a web presence for a budding coffee importing company called 1804 Coffee. 1804 Coffee was started after an experience the founder had while in the developing nation of Haiti, realizing that almost no one in the modern world had tasted Haitian coffee. The interesting thing was that back in the 18th century, Haitian coffee dominated the market. This coffee was still being grown in Haiti by farmers descending from the very same plantations, and tasting almost exactly the same. They came to us with nothing but their ideas and their products that would be for sale, along with a lot of big design goals.
We began by working on a number of ideas for their brand. Developing a strong brand is vital in order to create a relevant and strong web presence. The initial parameters given by the client were that he preferred “old-fashioned” logos. The client was looking for a client that represented visually the way that it made them feel while they visited the country of Haiti; aged, rough, and hand-made.
So we decided that hand-lettering would be the best route for them. We hand-lettered a number of ideas, and after a thorough revision process, landed on a few different versions of what you see below. This hand-lettered font was inspired by the standardized numbering you would see on the side of train cars in Haiti during the American industrial period. The hand-made “1804” became the standard icon, with a few different variations for multiple applications.