Groundwork Coffee is Los Angeles' favorite local coffee company, with beans sourced from certified organic farms around the globe, roasted to order each day, and served to the most driven community in the world. In addition to a renewed brand identity, Ludlow Kingsley designed Groundwork's packaging and website.
Groundwork was the first all-organic coffee shop in Los Angeles, finding its footing as a charming cafe in Venice Beach in the early 1990s. Nearly 30 years later, Groundwork is among the most recognizable names in the West Coast coffee and tea scene with cafes in Los Angeles and Portland.
"When we had the opportunity to expand our products nationally across grocery stores like Whole Foods, we had to rethink the brand positioning to stand out on the shelf," says Groundwork CEO and Principal Eddy Cola. "Ludlow Kingsley was a natural partner to guide this complex process. From our very first kick-off call, I was confident in their ability to help us compete in an extremely competitive market."
We interviewed key stakeholders and customers, determining how to create a cohesive identity that everyone could get behind. Leaning into their authentic, grassroots story, we created an expressive and memorable brand paying homage to their Southern California beginnings, as well as their dual commitments to community and sustainability.
We crafted a handmade, custom logotype to modernize the original branding while still feeling authentically Groundwork.
The selected color palette evokes Southern California's landscapes with golden chaparral, olive-hued coastal oaks, and the faded blues of shorelines and skies. Bold, attention-grabbing graphics stand out against the muted, earth-forward colors—walking the line between subtle and making a statement.
Through the rebranding journey, we continually returned to the image of "dirt under fingernails" after a long day of tending the earth. The graphical hand with a flower sprouting from the soil represents the intersection of humans and nature at the core of coffee making.
Overall, the branding tells a story of passion, hard work, and community.
We sought to create visual and physical packaging attributes that complement the Groundwork ethos. We reimaged the Groundwork packaging experience, thinking through product strategy, information architecture, color palette, and graphic systems.
Printing on kraft bags offered a rough-hewn texture that didn't feel too precious. We found our color palette and bold graphic cutouts looked even more organic when printed on this rougher surface, helping the products stand out against glossier, flashier brands on the market.
We intentionally placed the word "organic" within every product name. Coffee drinkers can easily learn more about Groundwork's eco-conscious approach through the details on the packaging.
Restructuring the content architecture and design for Groundwork's website was no small feat! We had to balance a variety of purposes: Shopping products and merch, curated monthly subscriptions, cafe ordering, educational content, and highlighting the Groundwork story.
These goals are accomplished with a thoughtfully organized navigation system, allowing visitors to easily explore Groundwork's offerings. Each page feels uncluttered and clean. Design moments throughout the website complement the brand's packaging, with earthy colors and graphic cutouts. In turn, the copy is friendly and approachable, while also infused with purpose and expertise.
The brand has a lot to say, so it was important to create a fully custom Shopify site that enhanced the online experience and navigability for both the Groundwork Team and their customers.
With this refresh, Groundwork's brand is modernized, consistent across all touchpoints, and resonant with their loyal customers. Because we kept the company's core principles at heart through every step of the rebrand, it still feels like the down-to-earth coffee company that people have loved supporting since the '90s.