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From Garage to Greatness

Once upon a time in a garage far, far away (well, not really, just on the other side of the hill in Westville), a couple of ambitious (and crazy) youngsters took on a freelance job. They had no idea at the time that this little job would be the beginning of an epic adventure.

If you’d told us six years ago that we’d be sitting in a super chic office in the middle of Umhlanga with a staff of sixteen, that we would be the creative agency for The Sharks and would have just landed an incredibly exciting project with The SPAR Group, we absolutely would NOT have believed you.

But, here we are, going from strength to strength and still loving what we do!

From working in a leaky garage to an office in La Lucia and then a move to Umhlanga, it’s been a journey of epic proportions that has certainly kept us on our toes! There has been plenty of laughter, tears, late nights, moments of “what the heck are we doing” and of course, copious amounts of coffee.

Over the last six years, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really inspiring brands and people, some of which have included well-known names like, FutureLife®, The Dolphins, Belgotex Sport and Fidelity Security and start-ups, including Republik and We Are Food. In addition to awesome clients, we’ve also been surrounded by a great team of staff (who we consider family)!

Our team of Coffee Beans are the life and soul of our business, after all, without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Their passion and commitment to each job has been phenomenal, and every one of them adds their unique flavour to our Coffee Culture. Thank you, Beans, for being an integral part of this crazy, exciting journey.

So, on our sixth birthday, we want to raise our glasses (and mugs) and toast to each and every one of you, big, small, start-up, and everything in between and thank you, from the bottom of our caffeine racing hearts, for trusting us with your brands and business, and allowing us to walk along side you as we help you achieve your business goals!

Here’s to another six and many more to come!

Jitterbugs Website Design and Development

We’ll be the first to admit that we’re incredibly lucky to have the clients that we do. We’re even luckier that they trust us to handle a variety of areas within their branding. This year, we took on the complete design and development of a brand new website for Jitterbugs, a personalised sticker and label printing company based in Waterfall.

Their old site was exceptionally static and did not work on mobile devices at all. This meant that it featured poorly on the usability side of things. It also didn’t do the fun, vibrant and energetic brand justice either. Another aspect that needed our attention was that all online sales could only be completed if a visitor was signed up as a member. This was something that presented a barrier to sales, so we got to work to improve things…

Whenever we begin a new site from the ground up, we always ask ourselves what the brand speaks, and what their audience would respond most to. With parents making up the bulk of the brand’s clientele, we needed to create an easy-to-use site that appealed to them. We decided that as an e-commerce site, it was best to break products up into easily distinguished categories, in order make the journey to check out as simple as possible.

With many parents on the go, we figured it made sense to create a site that transcended the device that it was being viewed on. As a result, the new Jitterbugs site is fully responsive across all devices.

We also included a unique product display feature so that you can get a full view of what you plan on ordering. Now, customers can get a real-time preview of their chosen design on their desired product without going to another page to see what the final product would look like.

We added over 300 products and their variations, helping to boost potential sales for the brand by showing customers exactly what can be purchased. The order process was also simplified, with improved navigation to make checkout easier than ever before. Check out was also given a boost with a Google Maps autocomplete solution. Now, customers can select the area they fall into to receive accurate delivery costs associated with that area.

In terms of site longevity and affordability, we implemented a CMS for the client to update herself. This has given the Jitterbugs team a new degree of control through which they can effectively manage and update the site as the need arises. It also enables them to add and remove designs at the click of a button, something they’ll use as they introduce new products and designs all the time!

At first, we were approached by Jitterbugs to make their online store more mobile friendly. We went beyond that, automating many processes for the client, allowing them to save time and increase their production capabilities.

All in all, we’re pretty pleased with the end result, as is the Jitterbugs team. Check out our hard work here,

At Coffee Creative Studio, we’re no strangers to web development. It’s something we really enjoy and for that reason, we handle every aspect of web creation in-house. If you need a brand new website, or if your current one needs a facelift, why not chat to us today? To see whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with, click here.

This is what Tamlyn Doig, owner of Jitterbugs, had to say.


Make Christmas More Creative This Year

Fine, we’ll admit it. There’s just something about Christmas that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside! As much as it’s a celebration of traditions that go way back, we figured it’s time we create a few new traditions of our own. So if you’re keen to join us, here’s how we plan to make this Christmas one to remember…

1) Remix your tree
Nothing says “Christmas” like a Christmas tree but let’s be honest, our environment can’t really afford to be dishing out the live trees of years gone by. Why not find an epic way to create something original? You could even change it up by making or creating a new tree every year. Our favourite one has got to be this guy!

But if he’s not your cup of tea, check out a few more here:…

2) Give chocolate advent calendars the boot
Whilst we love them, we’re just not five anymore. So, if you’re a grown up wanting to get in on the count down to Christmas, you could always consider a boozy adult advent calendar. We’re big fans of this Ginvent calendar, and although it’s only available abroad, you could definitely make your own!


Get inspired and into the Christmas spirits (you see what we did there?) here:…

3) Substitute the standard Christmas cake

Apologies to grannies and aunties everywhere – but Christmas cake is a tradition we’d like to see overhauled. Why not consider a cheeky cheesecake for the occasion or even a festive ice cream cake to suit the sweltering temperatures of Christmas in South Africa? This chocolate cherry cheesecake gets our vote, but there are plenty to be found online.

4) Update the usual spread

You know it’s Christmas when you’re left feeling stuffed like a Christmas Turkey once the massive meal is over. Why not make Christmas lunch a lighter affair with a large assortment of snacks, dips and cheeses? Or go a little more local with gourmet boerie rolls or a proudly South African potjie, there’ll be less to clean up after anyway.

5) Don’t forget to give back

Giving back to those less fortunate is an important part of the festive season that we often forget. As a family or with your significant other, why not choose a worthy cause to make a donation to each Christmas? It could be monetary, your time or even things around the house that you no longer have use for.

6) Pump up the jams

Yes, Christmas carols are a must but we like the idea of mixing up the playlist for your festive family gathering. Ahead of time, why not contact each person who will be attending your lunch or dinner and ask them to submit five songs that they’d like to hear. That way, you have a Christmas album that everyone enjoys that doesn’t only consist of Boney M… It also makes for great memories later on!

Sure, this post is all about Christmas, but we’d never forgive ourselves if we didn’t include a shameless punt about us. So, if you’re looking to add a unique spin to your brand why not give yourself the gift of a logo or website you can be proud of? For more on our range of services, contact us today!

5 Reasons to Invest in Professional Website Design

With more tools on the market than ever before, DIY website design is on the rise. While this is good news for personal bloggers who want to create a simple and quick website, it is not always ideal for businesses who want a powerful presence online. It can be tempting to look for cheap or free shortcuts that allow you to get a website up and running. Sadly however, taking the DIY route can be devastating in the long run.

Why is it so crucial to invest in professional website design? Let’s take a look to see what value you can expect from a professionally designed website.

Why Your Business Deserves Professional Website Design

Your business is everything to you. You’ve put in countless time and resources to get where you are today. Your website is the proverbial proof of the pudding, acting as a testament to what you have to offer. Often, your website is the very first introduction that a prospective client will have to your business. When a potential client arrives on your website, it takes a matter of seconds to determine whether they will stay and look further, or leave and never return. Even once that visitor is on your website, poor navigation, annoying pop-up ads and a less-than-appealing design can put them off enough to leave.

Needless to say, web design plays an integral part in getting visitors to click, enquire or make a purchase. But it also plays a vital role in Search Engine Optimisation, overall marketing strategies and even your branding strategies. Some of the reasons that you should be investing in professional website design include the following:

  1. Grow your online presence. Well-designed websites are created according to sound SEO practices, performing better online to drive more traffic. Factors such as navigation, interlinking, image optimisation and smart coding will all influence your online success.
  1. Improve your conversion. As we mentioned before, getting visitors to click through to key landing pages is essential. A high-converting website is almost always designed to attract visitors and keep them on the site.
  1. Create the right impression. That first impression is everything… if you cannot get and keep your visitor’s attention in the first few seconds that they land on your website, you may lose that potential customer forever.
  1. Ensure a faster, better website. Slow, clunky websites that are littered with auto-streaming videos, pop-up (or pop-under) boxes, frustrating Flash elements and clumsy code do not make for an easy browsing experience.
  1. Maintain a powerful brand identity. A website that is beautifully designed is one thing. A beautiful website that cohesively blends into your email, logo, packaging and overall brand strategy is pure gold however.

At Coffee Creative Studio, we create beautiful, smart websites that help your business thrive online. To learn more about our professional website design and development solutions, contact us today or view our portfolio to see our work in action.

Q&A With Tam – Essential Principles of Logo Design

Logo design is something that is very often underestimated. A powerful logo creates instant brand recognition, helping to establish a brand identity that is carried across all marketing materials. And yet, logos are all too often treated as a useful extra in the overall design process. Logos are either made up on the fly, or worse, created with little to no thought of the bigger picture.

In order to understand the importance of logo design, you first need to understand the basic principles that go into the design and creation of a logo. In this Q&A, we talk to Coffee Creative Studio designer par excellence, Tam, to learn more about effective logo development and design.

Everything You Need to Know About Logo Design

What is logo design?

The logo is what people see first. Logo design in essence is taking a business in its entirety – the way it is run, what it does and what values it represents – and trying to summarise it into a recognisable symbol that will become the face of the brand.

A logo can consist of just text, just an icon or a combination of text and an icon.

What are the unwavering commandments of effective logo design?

An effective logo needs to be simple, balanced, legible, scalable and ultimately attractive.

Why is professional logo design essential?

The first encounter people will have with your company, the packaging that surrounds what you are offering the consumer, is your logo. This is why it is essential to have a professional logo design as opposed to a DIY logo made in MS Word. If the logo is sloppy, skew or out-dated, it will make your company appear to be those things, and you won’t even have the chance to convince the consumer otherwise. When you go to meet a client, you want to put your best foot forward. You want to ‘dress to impress’ and the same should apply to your logo: dress your company name to impress/attract. They will see a professional logo and assume the company this logo represents is professional, trustworthy and established. An unprofessional logo often looks cheap, making the company seem like a start-up, inexperienced and slap-dash.

Longevity is another reason to have a professional logo. When I think of all the classic logos (Coca-Cola for instance), the logo is simple, legible and timeless. It therefore can, and has, become a recognisable icon with even just the ‘C’ of the logo being recognisable, as it has been around for decades. You don’t want a logo that you will have to update every couple of years as a costly solution to stay relevant and avoid looking out-dated.

How does logo design assist with overall brand recognition and marketing?

I did mention before that the brand becomes recognisable over time. I think of the Nike tick or the McDonald’s ‘M’ – these symbols are synonymous with the brands they represent. This is because an image/icon (or even just text) is easier to remember than just ordinary text as it is unique and different.

There is more frequent and overt marketing than ever before, largely due to the accessibly of information, the development of technology and the growing usage of social media. Adverts are thrown at us as we scroll through social media and drive along the streets. There is a fear of over exposure. However with all this said, it has become even more crucial than ever before to become recognisable and attractive. With the fleeting moment of advertising, the logo needs to be unique so that the client can recognise it, and attractive enough to entice the client to engage with the company. It becomes a form of marketing in itself, because if it is attractive, it is far more likely to interest a customer to look further at the company and buy the product or service.

By becoming more recognisable, you have to chance to build a reputation, so that when they see your logo, it will bring about emotions and a connection to the brand. This helps build brand loyalty and trust.

My creative design process involves…

  1. Finding out about the company – what they do, what they’re about, what personality the company has, who they are, and what they want to portray.
  2. Finding out what they like, and whether there are any styles/logos/colours that they want as a company.
  3. Researching the company and the field they’re in, to find out what competitors have done, and get a good sense of what is appropriate for the field. (This step is often overlooked.)
  4. Beginning with some rough ideas, playing with imagery and text. I always design in black and white first (a logo has to work in its simplest form) and come up with a variety of different (and I mean different, not just same icon different text) options.
  5. When I think I have done enough, I do one more. It is good as a designer to constantly push yourself to be more conceptual and to force yourself to think of another way of representing the company. I always try to have various options, with icons, with no icons etc.
  6. Ideally, I like to create a primary and secondary version for the logo (this is not always possible however), so if one is text and icon stacked, then there needs to be one with them next to one another.
  7. I then add a couple of colour options, and lay it out for the client to choose.

The biggest logo mistakes to avoid:

Never use Microsoft Word to design a logo, create a vector logo initially, and avoid overused fonts e.g. Comic Sans. Avoid becoming too conceptual so that it becomes illegible, making fonts too small, being too ‘on-trend’ and making clichés.

Make sure you create a CMYK & RGB web version of the logo, as a RGB logo will print differently to how it appears on a screen. On that note, avoid neon colours (unless it is a purely web logo) as they are extremely difficult and costly to print to look the same.

As a designer, I avoid becoming too attached to the logo. Above all, it is about what the client wants and they may go for a design that is not your favourite, but it is their brand. However, this does not mean you cannot give your professional input.

To learn more about tailored logo design solutions at Coffee Creative Studio, contact us today and let us know how we can help you get started.

The Sharks – Celebrating a Year of Ferocious Marketing

Coffee Creative Studio is proud to have reached a milestone in our work with one of the best-loved rugby teams in the country, with 2016 marking a full year of ferocious integrated marketing strategies for The Sharks.

This team is a powerhouse brand that has a loyal, enthusiastic following of spectators, stakeholders and sponsors. The brand includes a number of brand extensions ranging from its team mascot, Sharkie, to The Sharks Academy, Sharks Kidz, Sharksmart, Sharks Medical and the Cell C Sharks supporters clubs. Coffee Creative Studio  has planned and launched a number of campaigns that were designed to further cement The Sharks’ reputation as the best of the best, with a series of integrated marketing initiatives that provided a through the line strategy that incorporated print, broadcast, large format display advertising, social media and website design and development.

Believe It. Live It. Own It.

This campaign aims to further unit supporters and The Sharks. The focus here was to encourage every stakeholder to believe, live and own the role they play in the team’s success. The campaign is designed to foster a sense of pride and belonging. This campaign comprised of integrated marketing solutions ranging from print to broadcast and large format advertising, as well as social media and online banner advertising.

Integrated Marketing Solutions

For a power team such as The Sharks, an integrated marketing solution has ensured consistent results. As a through the line agency, Coffee Creative offers a full service approach that incorporates every aspect of marketing, from brand strategy to targeted advertising.

Our work for The Sharks over the last year has comprised of the following components:

Interested in learning more about what we do? Contact Coffee Creative today and let us show you why we are fast becoming one of South Africa’s foremost marketing agencies.

Belgotex Sport – Multifunctional Turf For Action Packed Sports

Coffee Creative Studio is involved in an integrated campaign for Pietermaritzburg based Belgotex Sport this year, which includes a closely linked combination of print advertising and social media management. The Belgotex Sport range of multifunctional turf includes Evergreen fields for a wide variety of sports. From hockey to soccer, netball, tennis, golf, cricket and even bowling, this range was created with sports in mind.

To bring home the versatility and quality of this multi-use turf, we created an integrated campaign to be used both in print and on social media. Both of these elements were created to showcase Belgotex Sport’s commitment to both quality and school sports.

Every Hero Needs a Home

belgotex-blog-post2This campaign was created to show that without a field, there would be no sports heroes. The ad was designed for social media, and features school sports heroes from the Daily News School Sport’s feature every week. The slogan reminds fans that it all starts with the right field. This was tied-in with the payoff line, “Every Turf, Every Sport.”

Making use of Belgotex’s slogan, the Every Turf, Every Sport payoff was created for the Daily News to run simultaneously and with relevance to the featured hero of the week.  This ad reminds fans that Belogotex offers far more than astro-turf. The huge variety of sporting fields that the brand caters to is equal only to the variety of custom turf solutions offered by the brand. It is this versatility that has made Belgotex Sport one of the foremost artificial field providers in the country.

Tailored Advertising Solutions

At Coffee Creative Studio , we pride ourselves on helping clients reach their goals through highly personalised design solutions. Our advertising solutions are designed to get the message across in a clear and concise way, using powerful images, smart design and on-point copywriting.

Careful research is done before starting any design project, to ensure that our message is perfectly suited to your target audience. Advertisements are designed according to best practice, so that they are tailored according to the medium. Whether it is a banner advert for a local paper, a full size campaign for a magazine advertorial or an expertly crafted social media banner, we will work with you each step of the way to ensure that your message is brought across in the best way possible. Our team of designers are highly skilled in their field, with extensive experience that is backed by powerful portfolios.

If you would like to learn more about taking your print and social advertising design solutions to the next level, contact Coffee Creative Studio today and let us know how we can assist with your campaign.

Website Development vs Website Design

Website design and development are terms that are all too often used interchangeably, or even simultaneously, leading many people to assume that they are one and the same. Ultimately however, while website development ties in very closely with design, these two services have very different purposes and goals when it comes to the overall success of a website.

What are the core differences between the two, and how do they work together to create an amazing website? Let’s take a look…

What is Website Development?

First, let’s have a look at what website development is all about. Web developers are often referred to as programmers or propeller heads. This is a very apt term, as programming is what developers do best. You could think of development as the behind-the-scenes work that takes various components (including the design of the site) and creates a working website that includes images, content, links, buttons and various other features. Many tools are used in the development of websites, from content management systems such as WordPress to programming languages such as PHP.

While a developer may have some experience in design as well as programming, the majority are highly trained specialists in their field, with qualifications in coding, development and various programming languages to their names. Developers make your site work, they are not necessarily the brains behind what it looks like.

What is Website Design?

Website design on the other hand is very closely linked to the development, as this is often where a website begins its journey. Design focuses on the way that a website looks, and how it is used. What colours are best, what images work and the overall user experience are all taken into consideration. Most importantly our designers work with the brand as a whole in mind, ensuring that we create a consistent and unified brand identity across all mediums. Designers make use of tools such as Adobe Photoshop to create beautiful, easy-to-use website designs that our development team make work on the web.

Web designers work closely with our Account Executives and Brand Strategists in order to understand the unique requirements of each of our clients, before creating a website information hierarchy that guides the design process. From there, wireframes are created and approved, before the design stage begins. Many design principles are used to create powerful websites that look good and perform well, from balance to colour, layout, style and space. At Coffee Creative Studio we follow a strict process to develop a full website mock-up for our clients to approve. This gives our clients a chance to see the vision for the website before development begins. Once the design is finalised and the mock-up is signed off, it is typically sent on to one of our developers, who will use the approved design to program the website behind-the-scenes and make it work beautifully!

Why We Need Design and Development

At Coffee Creative Studio, our business is split into two departments, design and development. Our designers don’t develop and our developers don’t design. It is this process that allows the individual to be a master in their field and not a “jack of all trades”. As you can see, both web development and design play vital roles in the creation of a website. While it is possible to find people who can do both, it is almost always best to find a team that consists of a talented designer and a skilled developer. This will ensure that your website is a success from the very beginning all the way until the final touches have been finalised and your website goes live! It will also ensure that your website looks amazing, but works perfectly as well.

Here at Coffee Creative Studio, we offer bespoke website development and design solutions that are tailored to your needs. Contact us to learn more about our unique approach.