Stellar Café Brand

Texas State University

Roles: Branding, Packaging, Web, Digital

What it looks like w intro sentence

  • Project Brief
︎︎︎ Brand Challenges
︎︎︎ Creative Objectives

  • Concept Development
︎︎︎ Competitor Analysis
︎︎︎ Employee interviews
︎︎︎ Brand Position
  • Iterations
︎︎︎ Iteration 1
︎︎︎ Iteration 2

  • Final Brand System

︎︎︎ Identity
︎︎︎ Touchpoints
  • Post Mortem
︎︎︎ Pluses and deltas
︎︎︎ Lessons Learned

Project Brief
Brand Challenges of the Stellar Café brand included the lack of consistency from the physical location to the web presence, the logo, which did not reflect Stellar Café’s uniqueness, and a disconnect from the name and atmosphere of the Café and their 1920’s menu and aesthetic. 

Creative Objectives for this small business rebrand are to modernize the brand while keeping the playful art deco elements. In addition, I wanted to create a logo and visual feel that would stand out from other coffee shops in the San Marcos area.

Concept Development

Competitor Analysis

Employee Interviews
In my initial interviews with baristas that worked at Stellar, a great emphasis was put on the value of technical expertise.

Brand Personality
The personality of Stellar Café is effortlessly cool, but with a touch of playfulness. Comfortably sophisticated is a phrase you might use to describe Stellar. Spending time at Stellar Café is like spending time with a friend that inspires and energizes you.

Stellar Café Brand Position

Stellar Café is committed to making the perfect cup of coffee every time the customer orders. Through precise measuring, temperature and time each barista makes sure that every cup turns out the same. This inspires trust in the brand. They are dedicated to making sure the atmosphere is comfortable and promotes community gathering.


I used what I argued was a really light hand with the art deco influence in my first iteration. The only things that really survived to the final iteration were elements of the logo and the original brand analysis.

The next face for this project was in a summer portfolio development class where I was encouraged to abandon the art deco completely. This spawned a cleaner style and logotype.

Coming back to this branding project with fresh eyes, the main problem I wanted to solve was to pick a side and either put more art deco influence, or leave it out completely. I experimented with using only a logotype styled to look like silent movie intertitles, an element I used in the first iteration as an accent on print materials. I chose to leave the art deco theme out completely with an all lower-case logotype and rounding the edges of the logo icon. 

I liked this style, and it fit the personality I was using as my guiding star. Even so, I felt conflicted. I had severed the connection between my earlier research and this new style. It felt like I was abandoning something that could be memorable. I ultimately decided how to move forward based on how well I could talk about my rebrand approach. I interpreted this little struggle as an indicator that I needed to follow my instincts and pursue my original idea more robustly.

Final Branding System

I went back a couple of steps and decided that the best way to reference a historical style would be to study it like I was a historian. So, I gathered my images from primary and secondary sources. 

Reinforcing my creative objectives

Pattern Palette:
The pattern palette was created to balance out themes for different brand touchpoints. If something needs a more contemporary feel, add the shooting star pattern or the planetary pattern . If a touchpoint needs a more substantial art deco presence, add the shell pattern. These patterns came in handy for the packaging design and the web site.

Type Palette:
Headline:  Quicksand Bold
Subhead:  Mr. Eaves OT XL Bold
Body:  Mr. Eaves OT XL Regular

The headline type, Quicksand Bold, was chosen to mimic the line quality of the logo. Mr. Eaves XL has similar letterforms to the typefaces used in silent movie intertitles. The large x-height enhance readability and made a historical reference look contemporary.

The illustration style uses gradient shading and large, simple shapes to create the images. A grainy texture made the illustrations unexpectedly dreamy instead of worn, which fit the brand personality.


Packaging for their Toddy cold brew concentrate, tea blends and ground coffee highlighted the commitment to craft that Stellar Café staff was so proud of.

Signboard Menu
The infographic illustrations highlight the unique red espresso drinks the café was known for.

The landing page for the website prioritized the hours open, social media links and featured an illustrated navigation menu for the specialized drinks on offer, divided into “Iced Toddy”, “Espresso” and “Mochas.”  The intended effect was to remind seasoned patrons of the hours without scrolling and clicking through menus, and for new patrons to explore and build excitement for the drinks menu.