How do you reignite a fading star?
Austin Java is one of those special institutions that was around before it was cool to be from Austin. (Since 1995 to be exact.) In its original permutation, its brand represented an eclectic mix of funky Austin culture and Texas heritage. With a home brewed aesthetic, it compensated with charm for what it lacked in scalability or professionalism. However, the city we call home has changed a lot in 23 years, and it was clear the brand hadn’t kept pace. So, the ambitious owners of the beloved cafe chain sought the counsel of Tilted Chair to help set the brand on a new course. Which prompted the next question: how far would we need to go?
Q: What’s special about Austin Java?
A: It’s right there in the name: Austin.
We went through an extensive and—with a new store opening three months away—fast brand exploration. It was intensive and exhaustive, and it yielded some very interesting potential solutions. Working closely with the client, we were able to extract the awesome Austin-ness from the brand, maintaining what people loved about it, and leaving everything else behind. The final direction taking shape before our eyes was more evolution than revolution. Or as we like to call it: Javalution.
Austin Java had a chance to be something special, and we knew there was a way to get there. So, we constructed a brand architecture that would stand for something more than coffee. Working closely with the client, we codified the four c’s that formed the pillars of Java’s brand: caffeinate, create, collaborate, and celebrate. These all-important tenets created the framework for Austin Java to make more than just marketing decisions going forward.
The beautiful essence of the Java brand was there all along—it just took some digging to bring it out in its most compelling expression. Leaving no stone un-turned and no touch-point un-touched, Tilted Chair set about crafting a visual design language that was equal parts expressive, quirky, fun, and polished.
The brand launched recently in December to overwhelming positivity, earning unpaid attention from Eater, Culture Map, Austin Business Journal, and even our favorite branding and identity review blog Under Consideration’s Brand New. While our efforts with Austin Java are ongoing, we can say with confidence that this Austin star is burning brighter than ever.
Louis Cantu, Director of Operations | Austin Java