Designer Tyler Deeb is no stranger to coffee. Before executing one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time, Deeb worked as a barista for Quills Coffee, where he cut his chops as a designer making t-shirts and Quills’s logo between lattes and pour-overs. It’s been a long time since Tyler has worked a bar shift, but his career came full circle with a recent project. We sat down with the Louisville-based designer and asked him to talk about the Madison Coffee & Tea, a stunning new café in Madison, Indiana.
We’re very familiar with the branding you’ve done for different coffee companies. Is this the first time you’ve designed an entire café space?
Yes! — Most coffee shops are rushing into opening the store on shoe-string budgets. Mike from Madison Coffee & Tea is smart business man. He made sure he had time and a budget for the space, giving us a great opportunity to think big — allowing the brand’s aesthetic to weave throughout the whole store.
Tells us a bit about the project. What was your aesthetic vision?
I personally have a specific aesthetic. I try to make the brands I work with simple and reserved, poignant and classic. It just so happened to go perfectly with this coffee shop. MC&T is a shop in a town that had it’s hay day in the late 19th century as they made and traded ornate iron works. [This] brought the city abundant wealth — which sprung the city into existence during a beautiful time in architecture. Now the city is almost frozen in that time. All of the buildings are beautiful and classic. The downside is that most of the businesses in the area are creating brands that work against the cities natural beauty. A lot of clip art and corporate aesthetics awkwardly mixed with an old time aesthetic.
We love the Scrabble-inspired menu boards. Where did that idea come from?
That concept took its root as we were trying to invent a solution for the menu that didn’t use modern sign solutions. Matthew Huested from Sunergos Coffee [Sunergos roasts MC&T’s coffee] grabbed an old shuffleboard menu that was laying around the space and pointed out how classic it was. From there — I started creating the concept. MC&T built the shelves and I designed the space — The letters are laser engraved.
Like many designers, you worked as a barista before designing became a full-time gig. How did that experience inform this project?
I love coffee. I’ve been to enough shops that I know what I want out of a store. I’ve been thrusted into a position (by making brands) that requires me to follow my gut and trust my aesthetic decisions.
What does it mean for a small community like Madison to have a coffee shop like this?
Ha. Not sure yet — I hope that it is a place of rest and encouragement for people that are drawn to simplicity, craftsmanship, and design.
Like coffee and design? Check out our interview with Brian Jones of Dear Coffee I love You.