What exactly makes a coffee shop logo or a cafe logo stand out? The answer depends on the coffee shop and the people it is trying to pull in. For some coffee houses, excellence might mean sticking to the traditional logo colors and motifs. For other companies, having a great logo means breaking every rule. Whatever the case happens to be, each of these coffee shops has a logo that is perfectly, uniquely theirs. Here is a list of the top ten coffee shop logos and the special elements that set them apart in a saturated market.

1. Intelligentsia

Intelligentsia Coffee Shop Logo

Intelligentsia aims to be different, and their logo is consistent with this goal. The graphics web logo is an austere black and white with a few red accents. The wings suggest angels and general holiness, plus they are a popular theme in t-shirts and tattoos favored by the hip, modern people who are Intelligentsia’s target audience. The coffee cup in the middle of the wings is stylized enough to be chic without overstating the obvious. The lettering appears rustic and even handmade, which ties in with the boutique nature of the product.

2. Peet’s

Peet’s Coffee Shop Logo

Peet’s is a national coffee and tea chain that focuses on social responsibility and fair trade with the third world countries where coffee beans and tea leaves are traditionally grown. This company takes a special interest in improving the lifestyles of the people who grow coffee for their chain. The tribal motif of their graphic logo ties into this value, while the earth tones are representative of both coffee and tea. The company name is written in a legible font and a contrasting color.

3. Caribou

Caribou Coffee Shop Logo

Caribou Coffee is the second largest chain of coffee houses in the United States. This company sets itself apart from the competition by avoiding any reference to coffee in their logo as well as staying away from traditional colors associated with coffee or food service. The turquoise color is refreshing, while the caribou is posed in an energetic leap. The theme of this graphic logo is fun and different, from color to graphic to font choice.

4. Port City Java

Port City Java Coffee Shop Logo

This national chain gets credit for using traditional logo techniques in a fresh and easily recognizable way. The red in this graphic logo grabs attention, while the green suggests freshness. A very recognizable coffee cup takes front stage, and the company name is bold and easy to read even from a distance.

5. Gloria Jean’s

Gloria Jean’s Coffee Shop Logo

This is another graphic logo that uses classic coffee logo techniques. The warm colors in the logo are variations of coffee brown and caramel. The cup is stylish, but clearly a coffee cup. The company name is written clearly, and the tagline (“escape the daily grind”) offers an amusing play on words.

6. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts Coffee Shop Logo

This store has overhauled its image to make the leap from a mere donut joint to a gourmet coffee shop that happens to sell a little food on the side. From espresso to blended drinks, Dunkin Donuts now has a line of coffee drinks guaranteed to please almost every coffee lover. The graphic logo shows a tall coffee cup and the company name in bold pink and orange. The colors and font are used throughout the store, creating a cohesive corporate brand.

7. It’s a Grind

It’s a Grind Coffee Shop Logo

It’s a Grind places the classic element of a coffee cup in a circle, a shape which makes people feel that a company is inclusive and well-rounded. There are tall buildings in the background, indicating a cosmopolitan experience. The way the words of the company name change size toward the edges of the graphic logo create an eye-catching image.

8. Jittery Joe’s

Jittery Joe’s Coffee Shop Logo

This coffeehouse’s logo is a winner because it ties into one of the company’s core values. In particular, Jittery Joe’s is a large supporter of professional cycling, which is implied by the wind-swept flames in the graphic logo. While this is certainly a nontraditional motif for a coffee house, the coffee cup front and center makes sure you won’t forget what they are selling.

9. Muzz Buzz

Muzz Buzz Coffee Shop Logo

Muzz Buzz is one of very few drive through coffee houses in its area of Australia, so it is free to create its own brand. This logo features a coffee cup along with the colors purple and bright green. These colors are used in every aspect of the company, from the signs to the cups themselves. The letters in the graphic logo are slanted slightly to create the illusion of movement.

10. Starbucks

Starbucks Coffee Shop Logo

Although Starbucks is perhaps the best known coffee vendor in the United States, their logo is one of the most unconventional. The Starbucks logo features a siren centered in a green circle with the companies name in their distinctive font. The reason Starbucks’ logo is so unique is that it manages to tie in with the company’s history without resorting to traditional symbols associated with coffee. The graphic logo’s siren is a symbol often associated with maritime careers, as is the Moby Dick character that the coffee shop is named after. The siren’s sexuality is minimized by the logo’s focus on her upper body, and the brown logo was changed to green to connote freshness and calm (read more about the logo makeover).

While these are very different companies, there are a few common themes. First, if a graphic is used in the logo, it is a graphic that is related either to the coffee industry or to the company itself. Nothing is random. Second, the coffee shops use color to either stir up images of the traditional or to set themselves apart as unique and new. Third, many companies have values that are different from the mainstream corporate entity, and these companies use their logos to express these differences. The most important aspect of a coffee shop logo isn’t whether it obeys the rules or breaks them; it is whether the logo suits that business and its community.

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