Tonttu Coffee

A visual identity and brand system for a small family-operated coffee business. The brand story is based on the nostalgic notion of moving away from a busy city to lead a simpler life. Ultimately, it is about focusing on what’s important to you and remembering to savor the moment.

ProcessThe goal for the identity was to communicate the authenticity of the product, from farm to coffee cup.

Exploration on the design system started off by looking for ways to strike a balance between retro and modern elements. It needed to communicate the brand story and incorporate design elements that cue the vintage references.

Photos from the coffee farm in Holualoa, Hawaii

Early design sketches

The name “Tonttu” comes from Finnish mythology — a spirit who resides in every home. The brand is represented by a dog named Kiva, who acts as the “tonttu” for the coffee company. Kiva becomes a symbol for quality and companionship. She comes to life in the logo and the symbol which are meant to embody her spirit.

Palette The core color palette is based on the developmental phases of the coffee bean, from the coffee tree’s white flowers known as “Kona Snow” to the final roasted state of the bean used to brew coffee.

MotifsA collection of motifs were created to provide the identity with a graphic system that helped invoke a retro feeling into a modern design aesthetic.

An animation was also created to introduce and tell the Tonttu brand story following the footsteps of Kiva.

Brand Overview


Tonttu Coffee
Ben Buysse
Martin Salazar

Dylan VanWormer
© 2010 - 2024
The Studio of Ben Buysse