Columbus Coffee

columbus coffee

Brand identity refresh
External signage

The brief

Columbus Coffee are a New Zealand-wide coffee chain. Being the first coffee shop in New Zealand, they brought the art of barista made coffee to the country. Not having had a re-fresh since they first started, they were in need ofa brand refresh to reflect their forward thinking approach.

Being made up of franchises the length of the country, the identity had to be easy to use, with items such as menu’s easily amended. Working with a strategist, we gave the brand an overhaul.

The key areas we focussed the brand on are:

– fresh food, made on-site
– local ownership of every store
– the nature of ‘discovery’ within the Columbus brand that already existed was to be kept but modernised


Produced at Switch


The Columbus logo is very well known around New Zealand so we re-drew it to be fit for use across multiple platforms. There were several different versions being used and it was in need of some simplification.

A hand-drawn compass was in use as a wall graphic, so to simplify and modernise this, we created the ‘kitemark’  from the 4 points of the compass, which can be used in many more situations and becomes ownable.

We introduced FS Blake as a new typeface. It was chosen because it has many different weights enabling it to change the personality of the brand.

We developed a simple but robust set of guidelines for the franchisees to follow, covering logo usage, colour and typography.

Store graphics and textures.

Working with an architect, we created signage for the cafes, and looked at the textures and colours to be used inside. This included looking at how the Columbus yellow could be used in fixtures and fittings as well as brand collateral.

Menu’s signage and uniforms.

We developed the idea that every franchise would have a selection of local specials, so the menu’s had be to easy to swap out.

We designed printed menu’s that could easily be slotted into the menu boards we produced.


Brand packaging had to be bold yet simple.

Coffee cups were designed to be bold and playful and sandwich wraps contained copy which describe delicious meals.

Take-home coffee packaging had to be unique but flexible to use.

Store artwork.

To replace the old compass design on many of the cafe’s walls, we created various different pieces of artwork, much of it relating to each individual cafe location.

We also developed a visual coffee menu, ‘A users guide to coffee’, which visually depicts the different coffees available at Columbus.