Playground Coffee Shop
More than just a coffee shop, Playground is also:
A 501c3 community-based organization called Playground Youth, a bookstore called The Playground Annex, and a radio station Playground Radio, an online, independent radio and open-access platform.
They spent the pandemic running a community fridge in their native neighborhood of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
When Playground Coffee Shop approached me to create a brand mascot and a custom logo they originally wanted a jittery man holding several cups of coffee.
I advised them against using a human character, and instead suggested to reference the Litterbug character we’d see on signs in the neighborhood playgrounds of Brooklyn.
This bug just can't get enough of Playground's coffee, and now has the jitters...bad.
What a Jitterbug!
By using a bug also I could have more arms to hold even more coffee cups, to show the mascot’s obsession and addiction to Playground's coffee. These extra limbs can add a lot more to it’s jitteriness if they’re drawn jagged like a hairy bug’s legs that motion lines visually rhyme with.
The Jitterbug's big shaking smile ever so difficultly trying to hold it together, unable to help himself, he just can't get enough of Playground's coffee!
For the PLAYGROUND lettering I wanted something fun but a little tough, and reminiscent of growing up in Brooklyn. I thought about playgrounds, asphalt, cement, the bricks of the buildings.
I went with rocky letters with a fat bottom to them. The rockiness resembles the harshness of the city, with the funky fat bottom as a means of celebratory escape like the funk it's inspired by.
For the COFFEE SHOP lettering I thought of coffee beans and drops of espresso.
The BROOKLYN, NY and the tagline
were done with steel nib and ink.
Vector wouldn't work here, these
letters had to be done by hand.
A jittery hand.
Read about Playground Coffee Shop in The NY Times, Architectural Digest, or TIME Magazine here.