I often tell people that our graphic design is far ahead of our coffee, and our business acumen. I’m very proud of my coffee, but I am far prouder of the team that we have to create our logos, signage, art, and messaging, mostly because, they are my brothers.
When we first started going to farmers markets we operated without a logo of any kind, just writing John Joseph Coffee on our bags. It was fine, every other part of our operation was amateur, so why pretend. Behind the scenes, we had a several people working to clean up our visuals. Jeff Brennan, is 28, 21 when this was happening, and is a skilled designer and advertising grad from UW-Milwaukee. Jim Brennan, also a great designer, but a better teacher, and with the tools necessary to help us pull off Jeff’s ideas. Dan Kelter, again, a graphic designer, who named us, John Joseph Coffee. It’s not quite a rag tag group, but they do work mostly for free, and wear a lot of plaid, so call them whatever you’d like.
The first logo we used is the one above, hand written, but with the basic idea of the cursive JJC, formed into our clover, in honor of our Irish heritage. I came up with it, but John Sr, with his far better handwriting was the more frequent inscriber. Jeff saw it, saw the possibilities, noted that it was vaguely phallic, and went about improving it. And boy, did he.
And we put it on everything. We had a linoleum block made, so that we could stamp every bag we used. We had signs and mugs, and t-shirts, which Jim made by hand. All of which made our job much easier when we decided to open our RoastShop. Jobs that would have taken a lot of time, were already done. Oh, and on the logo, the little branches in the letters, those are coffee tree branches.
When we cut a bathroom door out of our Wall, in the new space, Jim asked for the wood. He said he had an idea. He had been playing with a simplified version of our logo for a while, but we had no idea that he was going to create this. Our signature piece in our RoastShop, built as a surprise for us, and never coming off our wall.