8 Coffee Shops Using Color & Design to Attract Customers

When it comes to coffee shops, cafes and espresso bars the focus–as it should be–is usually placed on the quality of the beans and the craft of the baristas, but there are instances when coffee takes second seat to atmosphere: when having a meeting; when you’re unfamiliar with a city and just searching for a cup. In a saturated market like coffee, where most cities have more coffee shops than Starbucks (*that’s a joke) owners and designers have the task of creating a unique atmosphere that is at the same time fresh & clever yet includes comforting nods to an understanding of the evolving coffee culture.

Here are 8 colorful coffee shops with concepts that are percolating through the coffee market into many others, and grabbing the attention of consumers (coffee snobs~).


1) Unique Interiors

Cielito Querido Café, Mexico

by Esrawe

In collaboration with Ignacio Cadena and inspired by Mexican and Latin graphic design of the late 19th to early 20th century. More info and images.


by NemaWorkshop

The client approached nemaworkshop with a single espresso bar existing and the ambition to build an espresso empire. For the location for the second shop, on Madison and backs up to Grand Central Terminal, nemaworkshop and the client agreed that the design needed to be immediately striking to the goal-oriented suits and wandering tourists alike.

The concept for the design is straightforward, bold and receptive to future locations: take the ordinary and turn it on its side. Drawing from the nearby New York Public Library in Bryant Park, the space is lined in a sepia-toned full size photograph of books printed on tiles. The custom tiles run along the floor, up the 15’ foot wall and across the ceiling. The frosted glass wall behind the service counter illuminates the space and the wall directly opposite is clad in rich brown herringbone. The thrust of this concept finds expression in the lighting and materiality, and ultimately the space gives definition to the emerging brand.

Thatcher’s Coffee, Vancouver

by fix studio

This friendly gathering place has the environment in mind and includes reused coffee pot lamps, and the familiar burlap coffee bean bags to upholster their chairs.

2) Multifunctional Spaces

Is it a coffee shop or a retail space?  Yes.

The smokey, dark cafe full of eclectic furniture and poets is sure not to go out of style anytime soon, but more and more people are looking for, and creating, unique retail experiences. Maybe it’s the benefit of spreading the customer net wider than a single focus, or maybe it’s because it’s a sure bet that at least they’ll be back for more coffee, but whatever the reasons: we love it. Here a few multifunctional coffee shop concepts.

The Caffeine Fixies

Lock 7 Cafe, London

At Lock 7 you can come in and have a drink, some cake, a meal and get your cycle repaired or just browse our selection of cycle accessories or second hand cycles. The shop opened in April 2008 inspired by a trip to Copenhagen. The owners are two local residents who know the area, loved the space with its view of the canal and cyclists passing.

by Ibán


by everydaylifemodern


by D1v1d

Mojo Bicycle Cafe, San Francisco

“We’re out of grease. Grab me the schmear.”

Retail, Really?

Prufrock Coffee at Present, London

2009 World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies serves up cups at Present, stockists of Wings and Horns, Heritage Research, Nanamica, Nom de Guerre, Haversack, Nigel Cabourn, Porter, Trickers, Gitman Vintage ….

by rhea o’connor

by leoniewise

Coworking / Codrinking

Urban Station, Buenos Aires by Total Tool

The brightly colored Urban Station is a combined office and cafe for those looking for a different working environment.

3) In-House Roasters

Roasting Plant Coffee Company, NYC

Even in Manhattan where space is at a premium Roasting Plant finds room for their computer-controlled roasters with overhead pipes that deliver just-roasted beans to a custom espresso maker for each order. You can’t find a fresher cup of coffee anywhere.

If you’re looking for some help to stay ahead in the coffee retail market you might want to inquire about Future Coffee Retail by YourStudio.

This report looks at the evolving world of coffee. Inspired by the high quality of the independent coffee shops, we looked in depth how they are styled, there service style and approach and what makes the coffee lover choose them over the big high street chains. We also looked at how the high street chains have observed this trend and how there design and positioning is evolving with it.

Have you been inspired to add some color to go along with your morning cup of joe? Check out Creative Market for some awesome downloads.

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (http://thepostfamily.com/), a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.