Design work is always about expression, and in the best results you wind up with art that expresses something intrinsic about a brand. For Loom Coffee of Greensboro, North Carolina, design has been part of their story from the very beginning—which just so happened to be the early, white-knuckle days of the pandemic. “Our branding and design has been in development since our inception,” says Loom co-founder Christopher R. Pierce, “and it’s been a collaborative process.” We take a closer look at the story of Loom Coffee’s design and brand ethos in this latest edition of Coffee Design.
As told to Sprudge by Christopher R. Pierce.
Tell us about Loom Coffee Co and your team!
Loom Coffee Co. is a worker-owned roastery, born in early 2020. I had the inclination to create a place where coffee friends—nearly all of whom were laid off or underemployed due to the pandemic—could plug into a more equitable work situation and dive deeply into specialty coffee, or even create a career for themselves. I’d recently moved back home to Greensboro from California, and felt there was a lot of opportunity to shake things up in this area, from both a workers-rights standpoint and also in terms of coffee quality. Shortly after inception, I joined up with Ashley Griffeth—a rockstar of the local coffee scene—and we spent all of 2020 planning out the business, taking into consideration how we’d like to differentiate ourselves and what we’d like to represent in the coffee community.
We’re both fascinated by the richness of coffee stories, and the way coffee serves as a point of convergence for so many paths; our own personal journey meets with the long course the coffee itself has taken from the hands of the farmers at origin, and we connect with friends around a shared appreciation for that. We knew that we wanted our brand to embody that depth of appreciation, so we really try to highlight these stories with our offerings, encouraging folks to think more deeply into the human element of the coffee world.
How long has the Loom branding and design been in development?
Our branding and design has been in development since our inception, and it’s been a collaborative process. We’re super grateful to have an extended team of artist, photo, and video friends who help with our visual aspects. Our logo concept was created by Malvika Ruparel, who also designed some soon-to-be-released special edition bags for us. I elaborated on her concept to create the look of our mainstay coffee bags which you can find on our web store and socials.
We also work closely with a fantastic up-and-coming photo/video crew called GLASBEAR, based here in Greensboro. The owners Paul and Andy really know their stuff, and go the extra mile to help us achieve the visual presentation we’re after. Our most recent product photo shoot was a collaboration with the renowned Daniel Ray Productions and stylist Chriscilla Browning.
Tell us about the design and the inspiration behind it.
Our name is a bit of a metaphorical nod to the textile industry which is historically significant in our city. The loom is where the various threads come together and strengthened by one another, and we expand this concept to the way coffee functions in the community. When working with Malvika on our logo design, we wanted to allude to this woven aspect while also keeping the design simple, minimal but also distinctive. We also wanted to play with the strong columnar, upright nature of the characters—so the design actually looms a bit, but has soft shoulders. When she presented us with the current logo, we fell in love instantly.
As I expounded from there to create our website, bag labels and other aspects the goal has always been to convey warmth and some playfulness in color, along with a distinguished sort of cosmetic vibe. I feel this sets our branding apart from the more traditional dark, woodgrain inspired looks and the uber-minimal Scandinavian styles that are common among coffee businesses.
Where is your coffee available?
We primarily do coffee sales through our webstore where we offer all of our coffees in eight-ounce bags, as well as a new Rotating Handle Subscription which has become really popular among our regulars.
What’s coming up for Loom?
In the near term we’re excited to bring a handful of new coffees to our menu in the coming months, including some really special microlot Honduras offerings. These are a part of our ongoing partnership with Educate2Envision and De La Finca Importers, and a portion of all profits will go toward education initiatives in rural Honduras.
Further out, we’re looking forward to bringing on a couple of new team members this year, and all around just building and nurturing our relationships in the coffee world. We’re really grateful for how warmly we’ve been received and for all the support that we’ve experienced these last two years from both customers and coffee industry friends.
How should we spend a perfect day in Greensboro?
A perfect day in Greensboro would have to include a nice walk through the Arboretum and a visit to the Weatherspoon Art Museum (where you’ll find the Borough Coffee cart – best espresso in town). For lunch it’s got to be Jerusalem Market on Elm. In the evening, there might be Trivia Night, some vinyl spinning or a local band playing on the lawn at Oden Brewery.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Loom was located in South Carolina. We have corrected the error.