Fieldwork Facility’s optimistic identity for Intermission makes time the hero of the coffee house
Based in London’s West Hampstead, Intermission is a roaster and café aiming to change the rhythm of the world while being at the forefront of sustainable coffee. Their identity, created by London-based design studio Fieldwork Facility, delivers a reset of how we talk about coffee. Rather than focus only on the provenance of the coffee, Intermission’s identity aims to celebrate the entire supply chain, and make ‘time’ the hero in the process. Through these omnipresent themes, the visual language celebrates moments of respite, whilst highlighting the issues of today ‘because tomorrow is too late.’
When developing the concept, the studio had a gift in the name ‘Intermission’ (with 12 letters, it provides the perfect segue into clock face animations), however a research trip to the Royal Observatory provided a pivotal moment in the identity’s ideation process. “Amidst all the time-based exhibits there was this one exhibit that took me right back to my childhood, ‘The Talking Clock,’” Founder and Creative Director Robin Howie tells us, describing the phone-based time service. For accurate time-keeping, there was a telephone number that you could call to get the exact right time, spoken in a calm voice that would announce the time after three beeps. This contributed to the logotype’s decision to be all lowercase, providing three dots above the ‘i’s – reminiscent of an ellipsis.
“Everything perfectly led back to time, so we adopted an ellipsis as our logo and after that, the rest of the identity quickly fell into place,” he adds. Fitting with the character of the visual language, the type needed to be bold, welcoming, and optimistic. Howie further explains that “we also needed the dots above the ‘i’s, the full stops and the ‘o’s to all be as circular as possible for it to all pull together.” With this in mind, Basetica from 205TF “achieves this perfectly.” New Burns, a serif typeface from Eliott Grunewald, was chosen to carry this idea into the logotype; adding quirky gravitas and elegance to the identity’s primarily rounded and welcoming character.
As the identity developed, the project reached a point where ‘something else’ needed to be added to the mix. This ‘something’ was found in the monolinear illustrations of Tomi Um, an illustrator whose work Howie admired for her depictions of both idiosyncratic metropolitan characters and moments of quietude. “I thought if we could focus on those moments where all walks of life can slow down and enjoy a coffee,” Howie tells us, “whether you’re on your own or with friends, we’d be able to demonstrate that speciality coffee doesn’t have to be a snooty product,” he concludes.