Established in 1995, Austin Java is a small chain of coffee shops in Austin, TX, and nearby cities, with five locations that serve breakfast (all day, thank you), lunch, and dinner, they roast their own coffee, hold plenty of events, and support many of the city’s charitable organizations. When we moved to Austin, back in 2009, Austin Java clearly stood out as a staple of the city: at the time it was the only coffee shop in the airport, it was one of the few food establishments in Barton Springs Road, and it was legit funky. Austin’s growth, however, has taken its toll and property taxes have forced the coffee shop to close two of its landmark locations but, in turn, have opened up a few more in friendlier areas, like its most recent in deep South Austin, which is the first to feature a new identity designed by local firm Tilted Chair.
I do acknowledge this would be a better fit in the Noted section but Austin things get a pass, especially if they are one of the things that attracted so many people to the city. The old logo was absolutely terrible, mostly thanks to the star that was drawn by someone’s two left feet. The hippie-slash-1950s typography was interesting but it was continually muddied by the star. Luckily both client and design firm turned their attention and care to the typography and evolved it to become the core of the logo. I love how they were able to keep all of the quirks in the old typography but improve on them and give it a more contemporary rendition. There are a couple of spacing issues in the stacked version — the “A” and “J” could have been separated just a tad, and the “JA” kerning could have been opened to match the rest of “JAVA” — but the overall effect is great. It maintains the oddity of the original and prepares it for the present.
Choosing the free Wayward font as the primary font is a little risky in the sense that many other companies can more easily use it as well but in combination with the set of patterns, the use of black and yellow, and the logo, it does manage to become a relatively unique tone of voice that maintains the applications loose and funky.
Overall, this is a fun redesign and it’s so, so, so good that they resisted to make it hipper or more attractive to millennials or some other decision that perhaps could have attracted a bigger clientele and instead they have stayed more true to the original.