Responses by Daniel Martinez Larsen, creative director/partner, Futura
Background: The intention of this project was to create a response to the current coffee industry aesthetic in Austin, Texas, characterized by its starkness, minimalism and lack of color. We wanted to take the brand Superthing to another extreme.
Reasoning: The name Superthing was the core inspiration in our creative process. It made us think of something fun, surreal and over-the-top in the best of ways. Superthing is, in itself, an exaggeration, so we looked for other exaggerations in all shapes and forms and translated them into a visual language that would communicate the idea of this Superthing. All the illustrations are literal depictions of a series of hyperbolic expressions such as “Coffee is a liquid hug for your brain.”
Challenges: Reconciling the eccentricity of the brand’s graphic identity with the commercial demands of the project while keeping it relatable for the consumers.
Favorite details: As a studio, we strive to question the status quo and to push boundaries. We take a lot of pride in this process and the overall result of is a reflection of it. When we talk about coffee brand aesthetics, it feels self-serious and cold. There seems to be an overall lack of personality and charm, which is often reflected in the use of archetypal coffee symbology such as coffee leaves or beans, or a use of colorless minimalism that has created a homogenous idea of what “specialty coffee” should look like from the consumer perspective. We like to steer the wheel in another direction.
Visual influences: As a studio, we look for inspiration in other fields or branches of design. For this project, we were inspired by the ’80s design movement, the Memphis Movement, which was often misunderstood for being very different and ahead of its time. We wanted to channel a bit of that strangeness into Superthing.
Specific demands: We were in synch with our clients and its demands, which made everything flow naturally. Superthing was willing to take risks and give us creative freedom. This project is a result of that trust, which was essential.