Summer 2022

Haven Café Merchandise


Merchandise Design · Illustration · Lettering · Packaging
Haven Café takes the effortlessly trendy white-walled coffee shops of LA and brings them to Covington, Kentucky. The independently-owned shop has been serving specialty coffee, artisanal pastries, and locally sourced small bites since August 2020. As a both a barista and designer at Haven, I was commissioned to create the café's first t-shirt, as well as an accompanying tote bag.

I wanted to capture the personality of the shop while appealing to its mostly millennial to Gen-Z clientele, with a fun youthful cartoonish look that still reflects the “safe haven” of the café’s environment. In addition to the t-shirt, I decided to imagine what a an expanded line of merchandise and packaging would look like, along with re-designed coffee cups and pastry boxes.

Capturing the Haven look

To capture Haven's personality in the t-shirt graphic, I wanted to incorporate its smiley face logo, and was additionally inspired by the checkered paper used to package the food, and the abundance of plants in the café. These are common visual motifs in the café's online presence as well as branding elements to the brick and mortar store.

Images from @havencafecov on Instagram

A single-color design and sans-serif typeface

For production purposes, I stuck to a single-color design with the shop's signature saturated blue printed on a white t-shirt.
To create a light airy look, I used an extended sans-serif typeface with elegant wide curves. This reflects the environment that Haven strives to create for its employees and customers alike: a safe haven. The loose tracking of the type further leans into the light feeling of a heavenly safe retreat.

Liquid Lettering

Haven puts a twist on classic coffee shop beverages with its various drink specials containing turmeric, mushrooms, ashwagandha, or other natural ingredients.
I wanted to reflect this in the custom lettering through fluid organic forms and influence from the psychedelic lettering of the 1960s. I manipulated letterforms to exaggerate the melty psychedelic qualities, create more irregularity, and create letters that flow into one another like liquid.

The final t-shirt

After iterating through various layouts in the design, I arrived at the final t-shirt design including the wordmark, illustration, and café slogan, “you are safe here.”

Extending the design to further applications

Using the assets created in the design of the t-shirt, I also created a tote bag to be sold at the café and imagined what more merchandise and packaging would look like under the same branding concept.

Process explorations