The Birth of the Bear

We're just downright tickled by the response we've received over the logo design for Bear Coast Coffee. Jeff Clinard, the grand Bear-master behind the company, is one of our favorite people in the known universe, and an absolute delight to work with. Full of creativity and brilliance, we always leave his company feeling stoked and inspired. Our meetings regarding his new coffee adventure were no exception, as he shared with us his vision and passion for what was to become Bear Coast Coffee. What's more, he held this project with open hands, and allowed us complete creative freedom in creating the visual identity for Bear Coast Coffee. Here's a basic breakdown of our process in doing so.

While the branding of Bear Coast Coffee is steeped in thoughtfulness and intention; bringing to life a serious love affair with all things California - some parts just fell into place. Like this sketch we doodled during our very first official brainstorm meeting with the client.

And there he was. He just felt right.

We were a little unsure of the next step - whether to first dial in the silhouette, or to work on the lettering. So we decided to choose neither by working on them both simultaneously.

From the start, we knew this was to be a hand-lettered logo, honoring the breadth of naturally-made perfection found in this wonderful Golden State. This part of the project was the most therapeutic and exciting, since it involved filling pages and pages with lettering explorations. No wrong answer. Just endless pages of bear silhouettes, exploring the relationship of letters and shape.

Now we were torn. We wanted to point him west/left, facing the ocean coast of his namesake. BUT! If we faced him the other direction, we saw that we could build the actual California coastline into his silhouette.

So… duh.

The process looked a little something like this:

And there you have it. In a simplified, stylized fashion, the golden coast is an actual part of the bear's makeup.

It was time to revisit the lettering explorations, and this beauty was chosen - a perfect marriage of rugged-mountain slab serifs and breezy-beach brushstroke vibes.

The completion of the full logo piece was met with much rejoicing. However, we still had a desire to create a type treatment for alternate usages. 

After heaps of futile rummaging about the font library, we remembered the whole point of this brand: a coffee company that's smitten with California. We would build the type treatment based on the California flag typeface.

Our research found that the lettering on our state flag was indeed custom and not a typeface. In the next instant, we realized that nearly all of the letters in "Bear Coast Coffee" were already represented in the "California Republic" verbiage! The angels sang! We danced! We cried! And with some crafty maneuvering, we fabricated the missing letters and had everything we needed.

Bear Coast will forever be a super fun project that's close to our heart, and we continue to work closely with them as they grow. You can check out lots of pretty pictures of the Bear Coast branding here in our portfolio. 

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