Coffee Brand | The Bronx, NYC

Don Carvajal is an agricultural startup and specialty coffee roaster with a goal of bridging the gap between good coffee and fair-trade farming through honesty, transparency and sustainability. Birthed from a college project, the company currently operates out of The Bronx, NY and aspires to foster a rich culture of community uplifting through coffee and sustainability. The company is Black and Latinx owned and seeks to prioritize giving back to communities, locally and internationally where their coffee is sourced, while creating jobs and new opportunities in underserved neighborhoods. 

The Objective

Don Carvajal Café had a speedy beginning since being created in college and jumpstarting not too long before the pandemic. Their brand identity was quickly put together due to them being focused on getting started. Since steadily growing in recent years, it’s come time to create a new identity that not only feels pleasantly modern, but fluildy and simply represents the principles of which it stands and the place it holds to the current and target audience. Here’s what we came up with.


After meeting for a couple of discovery sessions, we charted some buzzwords and characteristics that we wanted to see emulated in the identity and the voice of the brand. This would be the starting guide for designing the elements and will allow us to refer back anytime we need to be reminded of the direction we’re seeking to go in. 
Immediately following initial consultation and discovery sessions, a direction begins to be drafted. Using Style Scapes, a method of moodboarding, a couple of visuals were created to give this client a better idea of what this could look like when fully fleshed out. Though similar, a little variety in complexity is given to allow the client to decide just how in depth we want to take it. The client ended up choosing the first board, but wanted more color incorporated. 

User Personas were created to give us the opportunity to further target an audience and visualize our ideal consumers’ demographics and buying behaviors. While these people may be fictional, the buyers they represent are not. These may be simplified for quick consumption or written in depth to be added to a brand manual. They can be referred to at any time to remind us what and/or how we should be running the brand and how to make the best decisions to retain them as buyers and consumers. 

Logos and Brandmarks

Since this was a rebrand, I did have something to begin working from. The client was very set on keeping the mascot, his grandfather and the original Don Carvajal, as the face of the brand. I was given the icon on the left as inspiration to work from and began figuring out how I could not only simplify it and make it better, but how to best recreate it for it’s future applications. We opted for a silhouette styled one-color illustration and emphasized his wise sweet smile along with his signature farmer’s hat in an attempt to hone in on the friendly, trustworthy and authentic characteristics of the brand. 

These lockups were created by centering The Don Carvajal icon and pairing it with wordmarks and layouts to achieve the clean and digestable lockup the client was in search of. The typography is meant to compliment the icon rather compete with it in order to not only share the space it occupies, but still allow The Don to shine. We opted for a few different layouts to have depending on the application, such as stationary, bottle caps, stickers, and social media. 


The typography is inspired not only by Hispanic Culture, but by the influence it has on New York culture in The Bronx. The Title font should feel slightly Latino without feeling too specifically Central American, while the subheading is inspired by vintage New York signage and newspaper headlines. The body font pairs nicely to give a friendly and inviting touch in applications that need longer copy, such as a menu or website.


These coffee house inspired icons are for use across the brand and social media. Along with some typical western tools, we added a few that are native to Latin countries and islands in The Caribbean, such as the greca from The Dominican Republic. The lines are just a little imperfect and slightly sketchy to give a more authentic and genuine feel, as if someone drew them with a pen and ink. 


Picking an appropriate palette was especially fundamental in communicating the tropical rural feel of the islands. We wanted to keep it fun but still inviting so I opted for saturated accent colors that weren’t too bright to pair with the neutral browns.  Also keeping in mind the potential for packaging in the future that the logos would live on. 

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