• Transform magazine
  • August 25, 2019

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Italian hand gestures inspire new coffee shop in London

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Williams Murray Hamm designs new visual identity for a coffee shop based in London, building on the importance of hand gestures in Italian communication.

Based near London Fields in east London, independent coffee shop 21 Sid is run by Laura Giovanna Lo Faro, who wishes to go beyond just standing out among the myriad of independent coffee shops in town: she wants to engage customers emotionally.

To achieve that, Lo Faro has turned to brand strategy and design agency Williams Murray Hamm. The agency’s response is a set of hand-drawn, monochrome-style illustrations created by Gabriele Grassi, who captured a wide range of Lo Faro’s hand gestures typical of Italian communications. A new visual identity for her shop, to solidify and strengthen her brand.

The branding includes dozens of different hand signals, such as a raised hand with a raised forefinger (short for ‘Just a second, I need a coffee’) and two hands rubbing together (‘Get excited, cake inside’). The attempt is to capture Lo Faro’s exuberant personality, her Italian heritage, and show the way hand signals can communicate as much as words, especially in Italian culture.

Furthermore, the team at WMH is made of regulars at 21 Sid. The agency did the designs pro bono, to be included across badges, bills, staff aprons, cups and wrappings in-store and outside.

“Williams Murray Hamm has created a beautiful visual identity for the business,” Lo Faro says, “with the iconic hand gestures helping to convey the trust and the affection that we hope our customers feel when they walk into 21 Sid.”