M — N Associates’ identity for GUTA stems from the iconic stools used by Vietnam’s coffee drinkers
GUTA is a café with almost 60 locations in Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, known for its strong local coffee. The word Guta is Vietnamese slang, derived from ‘gout’ in French and ‘ta’ in Vietnamese, coming together to mean ‘our style’. Throughout the city, locals can be seen perched on small plastic stools sipping on takeaway cups filled with GUTA’s coffee.
These iconic stools, as well as the behaviour of the local people, inspired the new visual identity created for the café by Ho Chi Minh-based studio M — N Associates. The shape of the stools informed the ‘A’ letterform, which then inspired the rest of the bespoke display typeface, FONTA. The ‘A’ is used as GUTA’s symbol, appearing playfully as a stool with halftone photography perched on top. The halftone effect, derived from traditional local newspapers, is used to capture the diversity of the different characters that sit on the stools around the city, from young to old, and blue-collar to white-collar.