Our first shop will be located on the beach in Provincetown, MA, on Cape Cod. The primary audience in Provincetown will be a young, "hip" gay male one. Following closely behind the opening of that shop, we plan to establish a series of shops along the cape and likely into Boston and greater New England. Thus, the logo should not only play well to the initial customer group, but also be flexible enough to appeal to a much more diverse audience over time. Note that there are also immediate plans to create a mobile shop out of a customized airstream trailer to further spread our brand and test specific markets.
The logo should be simple, yet flexible. It should work well both stamped on a cup at a small scale, and plastered across the side of a vintage airstream at a very large scale. It should be able to stand on its own as a graphic symbol, or incorporate the Kohi Coffee Company name. It should be "young" and vibrant, yet with an air of sophistication and quality equal to that of our product.
Because Kohi is a Japanese translation of the word "coffee" (most of our brewing techniques come from Japan), the name itself is very difficult to trademark. Thus, we need a logo graphic that is strong enough to carry a trademark on its own.
Note that Kohi can also be spelled Kōhī. Depending on the graphic approach, this method of printing the name may be more visually interesting. Please note, however, that there is an iPhone app that has been recently introduced by Kohi Labs that uses this spelling. We would (of course) like to stay well clear of any logo that looks similar to that of the app.
A few companies that we are drawn to with regards to their branding:
Blue Bottle Coffee: http://www.bluebottlecoffee.com (note that Blue Bottle will likely be a partner of ours, so our two logos will often appear together.)
Gregory's Coffee: http://www.gregoryscoffee.com
Shake Shack: http://www.shakeshack.com
Final art should be in vector format, if applicable, and layered PSD file otherwise.
The logo should work on light or dark background (can be different versions). We will also need a black and white (or gray) version.
Logo needs to legible at a small size.
On review of the first round of submissions, I have Eliminated several designs which do not necessarily align with our brand vision. Generally speaking, the traditional coffee cup with steam rendered in brown is likely not going to win this competition. We are looking for something a bit more outside the box. For imagery inspiration, I would prefer to look to either aspects of our brewing processes (Chemex or Bonmac Dripper, for example) or a more abstract form, rather than a coffee cup.
The best example of the "type" of branding/logo that we are looking for is Blue Bottle. Their logo is simple, and bold enough to be legible when stamped at a small scale on a coffee cup. It does not scream "coffee", yet is immediately recognized by those who know Blue Bottle as a symbol of quality and consistency.