In my head, I have a vision for the kind of coffee shop that I love visiting. Storefronts that make me linger are one of my favorite things and this concept is supposed to feel like Restoration Hardware meets gathering place meets amazing coffee.
Before I got started, I spent some time determining the client and business model for Aria and what that all would look like. Taking the time to do this was important to me as I always start with this kind of strategy for any project.
Aria would be a place to linger. No paper cups, no tote bags or cheap promotional gear–more of an upscale, dine-in experience perfect for important conversations and connections with comfortable furnishings and luxury touches. Deciding not to include these things made it easier to hone in on the experience of Aria and include those things in the branding. I decided the brand would also include a handful of gathering rooms for events and meetings. Would this work in the real world with a limited menu and coffee drinks? I think it would, because Starbucks has existed for a long time around a similar model and this is just taking it one step farther. Aria would also promote local events through a curated bulletin board and and a shelf of selected Chicago items from artists and brands.
On to the color palette: I choose a classic navy, brass, taupe color combo. Lighting would be brass/gold, the furnishings leather, and overall the look would include touches of darker wood, marble and grasscloth. But, the look would also include exposed brick walls to keep everything from feeling too stuffy or formal.