Choosing a Coffee Shop Name & Logo

Choosing a coffee shop name and logo is quite a process. We started brainstorming ideas the very day we decided to pursue opening up a coffee shop, but it took seven months to find the perfect one (and seven more to finish the logo). We didn’t want to rush it, but to let it come together organically while developing our brand. How did the process work for us? Here are the steps we took in our search, and I’d say we found the perfect fit.

Choosing a coffee shop name and logo

Coffee Shop Name & Logo

Know your standards

You have full control of choosing whatever name and logo you’d like. However, there are still business-wise rules to consider for potential names. For instance, a name should more or less:

  • convey what’s good about your business; what makes you unique; or your competitive advantage
  • tell customers you sell coffee (or the main product/service sold)
  • be simple, clean, memorable, easy to spell and find online
  • be unique and differentiated
  • look good on the web, part of a logo, and on social media
  • express your brand identify

In the same way, your logo is shorthand for your business itself and gives your business an image for others to connect with. A good logo should:

  • help customers remember your business and what you stand for
  • reflect the brand image of your shop
  • be reproducible and useable in all different sizes; and looks crisp in color or b/w
  • be unique- not resembling any other

Brainstorm your brand

Having a name and logo that reflect your brand identity is key. Constantly be bringing your name and logo back to your vision, values, and brand image; all the elements of your brand should support each other cohesively. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want to communicate to others? Your name will convey your shop in as few words as possible so customers know what to expect when they enter.
  • How do you want to position yourself in the mind of the buying public? What sets you apart? Realize your name can also communicate various things like: is coffee you offer exclusive to the area? Your own blends? Expensive/moderately priced? How long are you open? Do you provide live music, a place to study, books or games?

Write down ideas

Start writing. Make lists of all the names that come to mind. Make lists for feelings or ideas you want your brand to stand for. Don’t be afraid to write down words even if you don’t want them, because they may trigger other words. Since I love to be organized, I’d make multiple lists and keep what stood out on a single “Namestorming page.” It helps to have your vision/mission, inspirations, and top names ideas all on one page. I’d make ongoing changes to this page for months until we found the right name. If it helps you out, I provided a template to download below.

If you still have no idea where to start, write down at least 10 names that reflect your answers to these questions:

  • What problems do I solve for my target market?
  • What words or phrases appeal to my target market?
  • What kind of atmosphere should people expect to find in my shop?
  • What kind of name would differentiate me, in a positive way, from my competitors?

Download the Name-Storming Worksheet template here

Downloadable Name-Storming Worksheet

Download the Name-Storming Worksheet template here

Test run your name

Just because you like a name doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your brand. Test it out by picking a name that:

  • reflects your brand image and vision, business philosophy and culture. It should also appeal to your target market.
  • makes people want to come to your shop, and doesn’t confuse them. Run potential names by friends and family to see what comes to mind when you say it.
  • you’re comfortable with saying aloud, seeing printed on business cards, explaining when you meet people. Make sure it’s easy to pronounce and explain.
  • is unique and hasn’t been claimed by others, online or offline. Do a quick web and domain name search, and make sure it’s not trademarked by searching it in the US Patent and Trademark’s office.

Create a logo 

I’m sure there are many ways to go about creating a logo. I wanted ours to 100% reflect our brand and develop organically, as the name did, so I did what I knew to do: lists.

  • Gather ideas from existing brands— brands you like, coffee shops, pinterest, and get an idea of how logos work to represent your brand image. Definitely do not copy, but research to see what kind of logos make an impression to you, and how they communicate their brand.
  • Gather inspiration. Whether it’s from your vision board, coffee shop journey, personal hobbies… find those areas of refreshing inspiration to put personality into your logo. Our branding team advised us not even to get ideas from other logos, but from raw things we encounter in life itself.
  • Draw, draw, draw. Like coming up with names of lists, come up with names of fonts/drawings. Edit them by crossing out ones you don’t like (including ones copied or practiced with– don’t use anyones work), redo ones you do like, and try combining elements of ones you did like.
  • Make more word lists of your name. List out feelings, thoughts, and ideas you want the logo to represent. This will generate more ideas to draw when you feel stuck.
  • Repeat. This process takes some time. We continuously went back to our branding team to bounce ideas off each other and make sure we were headed in the right direction for the perfect logo that represents our brand image. If it didn’t feel right, we didn’t want to settle for it.
  • Enlist a professional. Unless you created a logo that you’re satisfied with on your own, you may want to work with a professional designer to really pull the look together. Find someone with graphic design/logo skills that can take your idea and make it 10X better graphically and symbolically. In fact, you could have a professional work with you from any step in this process, even to help brainstorm and come up with logo ideas. We’ll introduce you to our team in our upcoming post ;).

Take your time

As the personality and brand of your coffee shop develops throughout your journey, so does your name and logo. Taking the time to create a vision board was helpful to track the changes of our evolving brand as we were writing our business plan and figuring out what kind of shop we wanted to be. Your name and logo should match the feel of your shop and brand, as well as your mission and values. All of these things take time to develop harmoniously until it clicks together. If you’re in a rush, or aren’t putting as much emphasis on brand identity, that’s one thing. But if you can, start the process from day one, and let it take as long as it needs to to develop a name and logo you’re excited and passionate about to share and reflect your vision.

Curious to see how this process evolved for us? Keep on the lookout for our next post on the behind the scenes of SONDER Coffee’s name and logo, and meet the team that made it happen!

What are some of your tips for choosing a business name/logo? Would love to hear below!

Business USA: Choose your business name
-Gilbert, S., Martin, W. E., & Formichelli, L. (2005). The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting And Running A Coffeebar. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
-Monaghan, J., & Huffaker, J. S. (1995). Espresso!: Starting and running your own specialty coffee business. New York: Wiley.
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