Soul Deli: Cafe Interior Visual

If you are considering opening a coffee shop or want to transform an existing site you already have the potential to create an incredible experience for your customers. But how do you turn your vision into a reality and create a coffee shop design that connects you with customers and goes above your competitors? 

Crafting a coffee shop interior concept is a good way to start shaping your vision, but have you taken time to consider you brand yet?

Brand focus 

We believe that leading with brand clarity and brand purpose is the key for successful interior transformations. Establishing exactly what it is that your brand stands for and getting to grips with its wider purpose is a key starting point for interior projects. It’s only when you break a company down and carefully consider each element on a deeper level that you get a sense of the brand’s true and authentic culture. Building brand clarity as a foundation for an interior concept will help guide a more authentic outcome and provide your customer with a much more connected experience across the entire brand. It’s a no brainer.

Coffee shops have so much scope to be able to integrate their brand into the interior design but many do not explore this and consequently become just another average coffee shop. Aligning brand and interior throughout the entire interior process will ultimately strengthen the brand and the connections it has with its customers, as well as elevate your offering. Essentially the coffee shop interior is a blank canvas to tell your brand story, the focus should be to create a connected brand experience for your customers. Don’t be a coffee shop that provides ‘good coffee’ be THE one one that provides a ‘memorable experience,’ this will intrigue people to know more about your story and naturally they become more invested in your brand offering. The brand experience is what sets you apart from your competitors and encourages your customers to come back for more. 

Whether you want to transform an existing coffee shop or embark on a brand new coffee shop project we encourage you to think ‘brand first’. If you are ready to delve deeper into your brand have a look at our Brand Strategy blog. Once you have invested time into your brand it’s time to start formulating and moulding those interior ideas into a considered design concept.

Soul Deli - Interior Transformation Project Visual 1 - Grey Coffee

How do you unlock brand storytelling within a coffee shop interior? 

The chances are if you are thinking about opening a coffee shop you probably have some initial ideas of the concept or ‘vibe’ you want to create. Taking a look at your initial ideas and breaking these down with brand in mind will help to solidify a holistic and considered interior concept that holds much more value to your brand.

There are many elements to consider for an interior concept and knowing how to tackle this can be tricky. We have broken down and outlined a high level process below, this will help to nurture and guide those creative ideas into a comprehensive connected interior concept that when put into practice will provide a much more successful coffee shop brand.

Initial Ideas

Your initial coffee shop ideas may refer to the style of the coffee shop, but there are so many different interior design styles from minimalist to scandinavian and industrial to rustic, it’s about making sure your design aligns with your overall brand. It’s not just about how the coffee shop looks, like mentioned above, each step of this process should be led by your brand’s purpose and this should be integral to any decisions on the interior concept. 

Any retail or hospitality brand has the potential to be able to implement their values and principles into their interior space. For example, brands who are on a eco mission can put this value into practice by adopting a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to both the design process, material choices and day to day running of the shop. Equally a coffee brand based around the Scandinavian lifestyle may implement traditional Scandi design principles into their design to authentically personify the origin of their brand and allow their customers to experience this. Staying true to your brand within your coffee shop interior reinforces your values and intentions and shows that you are prepared to implement these key values across all areas of your brand.

Top tip: The initial stage of this process is a good time to think about the mood you want your coffee shop to create. What personality it has and what brand culture you want to build? As well as design styles think about the use of the coffee shop, will this be a grab and go offering or will this be a cosy destination for long stays? Consider the overall coffee shop and whether it will exist as a premium/formal destination or a more relaxed and casual location for coffee drinkers. These decisions should be led by your brand personality and characteristics.

Interior Research 

Once you have some idea and direction around the style of your coffee shop it’s a good idea to collate some visual references. Research is a great way to find inspiration and to help shape and visual reference of how you see your coffee shop looking. 

Research the design style in detail; what does the overall style look like, what is it that brings this look together, is it the material finishes, is it the use of colour, is it the style of furniture and how can you translate this into your coffee shop design? Keep a note of these features as this will help refine your concept later on in the process.

It’s useful to research existing coffee shops to see how other people achieve their desired coffee shop designs. You could conduct an audit on a few cafes, restaurants or coffee shop interiors (both good and bad). This auditing process will help you to focus on what could work and what wouldn’t work for your own project, bring together visual references as well as notes on this. The research you carry out at this point is for inspiration only, trying to copy a coffee shop design that already exists defeats the whole point of crafting your own authentic shop. 

Top tip: These images should reflect your brand, throughout this process keep your brand purpose and personality at the forefront of your research. Remember this interior concept is a physical representation of your brand and you should be building up a considered collection of images that closely align to your brand. 

Soul Deli - Interior Transformation Project Visual 7 - Grey Coffee

Refining the Concept

As you start to develop design ideas for your coffee shop concept it’s wise to go back to reflect and refine these visuals. Start by creating general mood boards that help bring together the overall concept and design research. These mood boards could include visual references of the colours, materials, furniture, layout, countertop, storage, soft furnishings or flooring.

Once you have a general mood boards, start to identify the key elements of your coffee shop design

Focus on creating smaller more refined mood boards, these could look specifically at furniture ideas, materials and finishes, serving area/counter details or colour inspiration based on the general mood boards. This process should involve further more focused research into each of these design ideas.

This process is all about starting to create a considered look and feel for your coffee shop concept, it  breaks down the defining features of your concept and helps provide clarity around your branded coffee shop interior. The look and feel should encapsulate your brand and be a visual representation of how this would be crafted into an interior. 

Top tip: The most important thing to remember here is that each image should add value and be a valid reference point for part of your design concept. If it’s not quite working or duplicates an idea already demonstrated is best to remove it. Less is more, the more concise you can be the clearer the concept and vision will be. 

Soul Deli - Interior Transformation Project Visual 5 - Grey Coffee

The coffee shop design process may seem daunting but implementing a brand into the beginning of the process will make the interior concept much more directed and valuable. The outcome of blending brand and interior into your coffee shop design process is that the end product/interior provides authentic connected brand experiences, which in turn allows you to access a wider community of people who share your goals and values and purpose. 

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