Shape-Shifting Café Identity is All Apologies

Recently I was in Toronto and stumbled upon one of the coolest identity concepts that I’ve interacted with in a long time when, inspired by caffeine withdrawal alone, I wandered into a tiny posh coffee shop called Sorry.

Initially the name itself drew me in; as an American in a foreign land, I found it perfectly cheeky for a Canadian business to brand itself with a colloquialism encapsulating the Canadian uber-politeness that was all around me (sore-ree.. sore-ree). The sign above the door, however, was set in a very clean, straight-up-and-down sans serif, and the interior was beautifully modern, minimal and high-class (black, white, and marble only) and the café was attached to a high-end designer clothing store, Kit & Ace (its parent company it turns out).

Considering the setting, I was pleasantly surprised to find this wild, psychedelic typography on my cup and was instantly struck by it. To me, an all black and white brand usually suggests one of two things: either sophistication or punk rock – and in the best case scenario, a bit of both (see Block Club’s identity for The Black Sheep). The mark on my coffee cup, created by Torontonian designer and typographical wizard Roger Dario, expertly marries those two disparate aesthetics into a dynamic and exciting logo that feels right at home in a stylish clothing store selling $200 shirts but would also look just just as natural slapped onto a scuffed up skateboard deck or guitar case.

After looking into this further, I discovered that this gorgeous warped typography was not exactly functioning as the corporate identity for Sorry Coffee, but was part of a curated ongoing series that invites notable artists and designers from around the world to create temporary logos for the coffee shop to be printed on their to-go cups.

In this rather brilliant way, this otherwise very clean and sophisticated brand can interject some fun, fresh and youthful energy into their identity as often as they want, in perpetuity. Talk about having your coffee cake and eating it too.