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Kohana Coffee


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Custom Typography
Brand Merchandise & Apparel
Logos, Iconography & Illustration
Brand Messaging
Packaging System
Identity System


Designers: Lauren Dickens, Zach Wieland
Creative Direction: Christian Helms
Illustrator: Abi Daniel
Photographer: Nick Cabrera


Communication Arts Typography Annual

The natural beauty of carefully crafted coffee.

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

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.

Take a cue from the islands.

The Kohana name offered both opportunity and challenges. It’s unique and ownable, 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, reinforcing recognition.

Clarifying message and amplifying impact.

The clarified Kohana name and amplified coffee flower served as key drivers for new brand packaging. 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. The refreshed brand not only conveys a sense of Hawaii, but translates effortlessly to anywhere people enjoy a moment of reflection.

“As a businesswoman, I appreciate the sharp business acumen and strategic vision that Helms Workshop brought to the table to drive creative expression. The work was fresh, appealing, true to our roots, distinctive and differentiated. Helms Workshop delivered an authentic identity unique to Kohana.”

“The team at Helms is delightful, insightful and driven to deliver results. We are happy to report that our product launch has surpassed our expectations and our brand is gaining recognition, loyalty and value.”

Victoria Lynden
Founder, Kohana Coffee
Helms Workshop®