Creative Agency: Helms Workshop
Project Type: Produced, Commercial Work
Location: USA

Kohana’s coffee is exceptional, but their brand identity was dated, out of sync with their values and missing the mark with contemporary coffee culture. With the brand poised to enter the national market and launch a new product line, it was a perfect moment to shun evolution in favor of revolution.

Shedding style and showing more than telling.
Kohana meticulously sources the best organic, fair trade beans and slow roasts them to perfection. Inspired by a much-needed moment of reflection while visiting Hawaii, Victoria Lynden founded the brand on taking a moment to slow down and enjoy life — and a cup of coffee.

The coffee is top-quality, but Kohana wasn’t communicating with consumers. Our work began with a review of their positioning and an analysis of the brand’s existing assets.

Let the flower speak.
“Kohana” is the small, white Hawaiian flower that heralds the arrival of the coffee cherry. It signals the promise of coffee to come, and the beginning of an extraordinary experience. It’s a strong symbol for the brand, but it wasn’t being leveraged in a way that resonated with consumers.

Our solution was to let the flower speak for itself. Rather than just telling consumers that the coffee is organic and natural, we would show them— letting the inherent beauty of the coffee plant tell the story in an honest, pure way.

Take a cue from the islands.
The Kohana name offered both opportunity and challenge. It’s unique and own-able, but it’s not an immediately recognizable combination of letters.

A distinctive characteristic of Hawaiian language is the building of words from small, truncated pairings of consonants and vowels. This structure makes large phrases more intuitive, and helps to create the language’s unique sound signature.

By clustering the Kohana name into three distinctive verbal cues, it allows for quick unpacking of the word, and an immediate understanding of pronunciation.
Equally important, this treatment engages consumers in a moment of actual interaction with the name, which reinforces recognition.

Clarifying message and amplifying impact.
The clarified Kohana name and amplified coffee flower served as key drivers for new brand packaging. We commissioned illustrator Abi Daniel to work with us to leverage the flower in a powerful way, aligning its value and beauty with coffee itself. Contrasted by bold iconography and striking color, the packaging is warm and welcoming, and stands out on the shelf – a far cry from the previous packaging.