Avatar Coffee Roasters is an expert team with decades of combined experience in cafe and business management, roasting, leadership, and logistics. They foster open-minded, ethnically diverse communities through philanthropic activities and ethical sourcing of curated coffees to cultivate meaningful relationships.
All touchpoints beginning with the logo are context-rich, honoring the Hindu way of life—hence the company name—for Avatar’s founders. Even still, it’s refined, looking effortless while considering the meaning of everything included and excluded, and is always intent on enlightening. Themes of devotion to excellence and personal growth comprise a brand identity that beckons people to uncover new rituals and renew others through Avatar. These customer-driven solutions open dialogues by demonstrating care in what Avatar does because they care about helping them. They ebb and flow while guided by their core purpose and meet them at the ground level, where they’ll grow together as their trusted brand by helping make their lives transformational.
Avatar Coffee Roasters is growing. However, with a national expansion in mind, they needed to tackle their primary problem, which they thought was sales. So first, we held several deep dives to uncover the core issue, which meant realizing sales for what they are, results. From there, the Avatar team brought Playstead onboard to help clarify and design solutions for the real problem—their brand. In 2015, the estimated number of specialty coffee shops in the US exceeded 30,000. Pairing this highly fragmented, saturated market with peoples’ lack of time compounds the issue.
So for Avatar, potential customers’ minds demand their active brand development focused on establishing trust. After all, trust is branding’s foundation.
That said, we began by acknowledging their prospects’ needs to build systems that serve them. Above all, Avatar operates at a time of historically weak human connections where consumption patterns are in flux and don’t nurture relationships. Rituals, on the other hand, thrive on connectivity. So creating new rituals or renewing them is Avatar’s answer. It’s about the producers, importers and exporters, roasters, baristas, cafés, coffee, communities, and everything in between to deepen peoples’ relationships with their brand. And it represents the shift from functional to near spiritual levels of brand worship for them, all wrapped around memories of their experiences.
Playstead created a more harmonious symbol.
Indian heritage informed the design decisions. What a history! Millenia of ancient traditions, rituals, and temple architecture to British colonizers and finally their independence and search for a national identity. It turns out it was modernism!
The sun rays use glyphs from the typeface, which helps bring it and the text together. It’s bolder—clear—with improved visual weight to it. We used negative shapes to simplify the radiating triangles but maintained 108 in total—2 positive forms of 36 triangles and one negative form of 36. Unlike their first logo, it’s an actual circle with fewer visual elements, so we can focus on its entirety and then pick it apart for understanding.
Just as factors of 108 are sacred, others like 7 and 12 consistently carry meaning. Avatar expresses this through the 19 rays revolving around its symbol. Playstead imbued the mark with this and the following in mind tying into ancient narratives to improve its strength, meaning, and longevity. There’s a lot there!
Surya, symbolizing the sun, represents perception and knowledge. It’s common to divide Surya’s chariot wheel into 12 sections representing time past through months of the year. Seven horses draw the chariot. The total equals 19, a sacred number that we frequently encounter. The seven directions of space, or the septenary, also represent the passage of time. The sum of heaven and earth is expressed through the number seven and is sacred to most religions. The number 12 represents boundless possibilities or infinite realities. Again, 19.
Finally, seven corresponds to esoteric Hinduism and the planes of human consciousness: sensation, emotion, reflective intelligence, intuition, spirituality, will, and divine intimations, which comprise experiential qualities of Avatar Coffee Roasters.
Other symbols include Navagraha, or nine planets, influencing a person’s destiny. When placed on an altar Surya resides at the center. The center is mystical, too, where an individual’s journey represents divine revelation. The 108 triangles radiating from the center of Avatar’s logomark relate to Hindu doctrines about a central deity; the concentric circles relate to the 12-month cycle of labor upon the land. And the circle and triangle derive from their cosmic symbolism, the heavens (the circles) and fire (the triangles). Appropriate, considering roasting transforms beans and releases their potential, which ultimately supports Avatar’s revelations of the sublime for its customers. A last note about the type choice—it’s expressive and decidedly not neutral. It’s lowercase, in this case, as a nod to freedom. Title Case is a western design that’s muddied with class structures. For instance, the ruling class commonly capitalizes White, whereas black was not—Queen instead of peasant. India fought to regain their independence and identity. This gesture acknowledges that.