Art direction, branding, and web design for a specialty coffee brand in Houston

Coffee isn't a drug, it's a vitamin

Southside Espresso began as a small venture with barista Sean Marshall learning to roast his own coffee beans, but has since evolved into a specialty coffee shop and roastery that serves hundreds of customers every day while also supplying coffee beans and training to numerous restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops in the Houston area.

Fusion Beans was the first arm of Sean's business, and early on he approached me to help establish a distinct brand for the roastery in a crowded marketplace. After lots of brainstorming (and caffeine, working for coffee roasters has its perks) I started exploring the idea of abstracting the interior of a coffee grinder into a sunburst shape as a metaphor for “fusion”. The client loved it, and to this day Sean still gets lots of smirks and knowing nods from other coffee professionals upon seeing the mark for the first time.

Retail packaging for Fusion Beans

Branding a physical location

Sean’s ambitions grew with his roastery, and he came to me a few years later for help branding his first retail location, Southside Espresso. He wanted something with a bit of a retro feel to reflect the eclectic Montrose neighborhood of Houston where the shop would be located, and we landed on a clean slightly vintage feeling identity with a simplified magnolia flower (for Houston, the Magnolia City) as its centerpiece. The logo can be simplified to a type only mark as needed, and the magnolia icon is used in a variety of applications both in the shop and on its marketing.

Everyone needs a good diner mug
Southside Espresso signage (nice neighbors, right?)
It looks great on a tee
Fusion Beans new site enables easy ordering of beans for both retail and wholesale customers

Implementing online sales

Earlier this year, Sean wanted to update the Fusion Beans website to be able to increase online sales; the existing site had a rudimentary PayPal based shopping cart that worked for basic needs but didn't offer any advanced functionality nor any tools to manage customers and inventory. Fusion Beans has also been providing cofee to a number of local restaurants and cafes over the past several years, and Sean wanted to be able to manage those wholesale accounts along with retail sales from the same website.

I worked with him to architect a new site before developing the art direction and building the site in Shopify. We were luckily able to launch the site right as quarantine regulations were being put in place, and greatly increased sales from the new online store have helped sustain the roastery and shop throughout pandemic closures.