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Offbeat Creative Visits Caffè Culture, 2018
Team Offbeat | 22 Oct

As the UK continues to see an influx in coffee shop openings, its crucial to remain innovative in the hospitality industry. At this year’s Café Culture exhibition, Offbeat Creative attended a talk with Michael Fern – creative and strategic director of architectural design practice, Edge. Touching on coffee shop branding, marketing and design, he provided valuable insight into how to create differentiation within a crowded market.

Highlighting key design strategies from their recent revamp of Costa Coffee, Michael Fern shared the processes that led to the new interior design roll out.

The Brief

He began by asking key questions; Who is Costa? What makes them different? What are their values and what do they want to be remembered for? This information was then used to direct the design process. Moving away from the current dated and intimidating ‘brown’ Costa image, they wanted to bring Costa into the twenty first century. Introducing more dominant, industrial design elements along with emerging trends, Edge have created an altogether lighter, brighter and more upbeat Costa personality.

Colour and Form

Noting a basic human instinct to respond to colour and form before the functionality of speed, price and ease, Edge have introduced brightly upholstered, comfortable lounge seating in window areas to replace uninviting, formal dining furniture. In-store artwork has also been reconsidered. Noticing a short dwell time between service and handover, they recognised an opportunity to educate and inform customers. Overly branded marketing messages have been replaced with informative wall art promoting craftmanship, reiterating Costa’s core values.


The way people move through space has been re-evaluated with the aim to maximise service. Edge have altogether reconfigured floor plans to create zones. The space has been divided into short and medium dwell as well as introducing a relax zone, coffee theatre zone, express zone and refresh zone.


Edge have reconsidered uniforms as well as in-store music, experimenting with casual dress codes and customised playlists for different times of day. They wanted to give staff more control over presentation as well as the ability to assess and adjust the mood of the coffee shop through the use of music.

Ultimately, Edge have redefined Costas brand personality, bringing it up-to-date, to create an altogether more inviting and uplifting coffee shop brand. Is it time to reflect and update your coffee shop design?

By Charlotte Anderson

Opening a coffee shop or restaurant and need advice on brand or interior design? Let’s discuss your concept at or call 020 7060 3121