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What could be simpler?

Deep in north London under a heavily graffitied railway bridge, hidden away between a brewery and an unglamourous train station entrance, is a little coffee shop. So little, in fact, that you may very well miss it.

If it weren’t, that is, for a small yellow sign.

How can one simple sign so successfully capture the hearts (and wallets) of rushing daily commuters and achieve a consistently long customer queue trailing out of the door?

As professional creatives and communicators we can sometimes get very wrapped up in trying to provide content which shows off our clever use of language or a ‘new’ approach. Innovative content is a key element of good copywriting, but that innovation does not have to mean complexity.

The ‘coffee’ sign works so effectively because it isn’t trying too hard to be clever. As a passerby, I am immediately informed of something that may be of interest, and in a design style which cleverly mirrors street signage. It is beautifully integrated into its urban setting and its language is quick, immediate and accessible.

In understanding their audience (busy individuals, likely mid-commute), this coffee shop has identified that its success probably lies in being a quick pit-stop en-route to somewhere else, not a destination in itself.

The effectiveness of this sign reminds me of something a friend once said to me many years ago when I was considering whether I could make writing into a viable career.

“The art of good communication is not just the ability to be understood, but the inability to be misunderstood.”

It’s a thought well worth a moment’s reflection for all brand and marketing communications professionals, perhaps even over a quick coffee from your favourite coffee shop?

If you’d like help communicating your brand story, please get in touch with us at DMA Partners.

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