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Branding Case Study: Steampunk To-Go and Mood-Reflecting Cups at Gawatt

Here is an example showing that even the smallest independent operations can benefit from big, cohesive branding ideas.

Gawatt, a single independent takeout coffee shop in the heart of Armenia’s largest city, Yerevan, launched late last year, turning to the Armenian creative agency Backbone for assistance. The challenge was to beef up the small takeout shop’s sidewalk presence and overall branding through a Steampunk-inspired design, which extended to all of Gawatt’s packaging, as well as some limited edition lifestyle items like leather totes with built-in vintage clocks.

(related: Package Design Case Study: Detour Coffee Roasters of Burlington, Ontario)

Backbone first looked to the company’s name, which means cup in Armenian but also provided for plays on the root “watt.” Cup sizes are now referred to as electrical charges, from the watt size (small) to kilowatt to megawatt to the largest, terawatt. Playing through all of the cup and other packaging design is a hand-drawn graphical pattern that contains Steampunk and other electrical elements, as well as numerous depiction of craft food- and coffee-making processes. The exact imagery differs between the coffee drink line and the juice line, with more mechanical images and hand-drawn copy in the former and more images and copy associated with freshness in the latter.

(related: A Look at Some of the Best Coffee Packaging Designs of 2014)

In a later branding effort, Gawatt and Backbone took a serious built a fun extension of the Steampunk theme in creating a limited edition line of cartooney to-go cups that allow customers to display their mood, like manual emoticons. The cups not only provide heat protection by offering two walls, but the outer sleeve can be rotated, so different sets of brows and mouths appear:

to go cups emoticons

photo courtesy of Backbone.


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