21 October 2020
The Future of Coffee Shop Design
The future of coffee shop design and brand identity has never been more important.
In recent years, the coffee industry has become increasingly sophisticated. By continually raising the bar, it created a boom in artisan coffee shops. At the same time, consumers have become more informed, with expectations of higher quality. For both the coffee industry and the consumer, there has been a burgeoning interest in high-quality roasted coffee, brewed with utmost consideration and care, using sophisticated methods of extraction.

Today, the coffee industry continues to adapt, meeting consumer expectations, and embracing innovation. Added to this, the sector is dealing with the huge challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic: businesses must deal with both public health obligations and their commercial needs. In what is a tumultuous time for the industry, coffee shop owners are pivoting business models and rising to the challenge. The future of coffee shop design and brand identity has never been more important.


An informed consumer base

In 2020, a more informed consumer base is using its purchasing decisions to support companies that reflect its values. That being so, we have seen a growth in three particular trends.

Firstly, with a heightened awareness of health and well-being, consumers desire coffee that is pure and natural. Secondly, consumers are thinking about sustainability in much broader terms. More than ensuring the best environmental conditions for coffee at its origin, they expect the industry to consider packaging, waste management, and support for coffee farmers and communities. Thirdly, consumers love and enjoy premium coffee, and are willing to pay more for it. In return, they expect coffee that is unique, high in quality and flavour, and has a story. Above all, informed consumers are concerned about quality and authenticity: in coffee, food, service, brand identity, and coffee shop design.

The driving force of quality and authenticity

Throughout the coffee industry, we have entered an era where high-quality, boutique chains are a feature of the market. Professionally run, these businesses will include comprehensive branding, efficient service, gourmet food, and exceptional coffee. Both sustainable and profitable, embracing a comprehensive approach to business, these chains will deliver authentic, artisan concepts at scale, in a well-designed environment.

This era is driven by huge competition in the coffee market. Whether it is big coffee shop chains, bakeries, or fast food outlets, many businesses now offer coffee. In order to respond to a crowded coffee market—and thus stand out from the crowd—a successful business must ensure a customer feels their coffee shop is the go-to place. More than serving good coffee, the customer experience is key.

The importance of coffee shop design in the era of Covid

Coffee is viewed as an affordable luxury; consequently, people will continue to visit coffee shops. With a focus on quality and authenticity, brands who hone and develop their entire business—the interiors, branding, design, and experience—will fare well.

In the era of Covid, customers will seek experiences that provide respite from the stresses of everyday life. Small luxuries and thoughtful interiors are important, helping to set a business apart (something that is pertinent in the age of social media). A successful business will have a unique interior that engages with customers, in a way that reflects and communicates its brand: character, ethos, and story.

Covid will accelerate the understanding of the power of a perceptive brand. More than ever, coffee businesses need support from their customers; they need customers to care. A business must therefore create meaningful experiences for and connections with its customers, something that can be achieved with a carefully considered, genuine brand.

(Brew 92. Photo: Liqui Group)

Coffee shop design trends in 2020 and beyond

Across the coffee industry, we are seeing the popularity of several noteworthy trends. We expect to see these trends continue, albeit at a slower pace, as the industry adapts to the challenges posed by Covid.

Photogenic interiors

The photogenic interior is an ideal way for coffee shops to market themselves, by creating brand awareness with a social media savvy customer base. For a great ‘Instagrammable’ interior, design elements should include the considered use of light (natural and artificial), and focal points that individuals will want to capture and share on social media. For that reason, we will find coffee shop interiors becoming more playful, designed with a touch of whimsy and spectacle. Interiors will combine bolder elements with pastel tones to create a relaxed atmosphere.

The ‘coffee and something’ approach

Another trend that has continued to grow in popularity is the ‘coffee and something’ approach. Here, the integration of two or more activities in the same space, can add value. We might see an approach focused on retail therapy and coffee, craft beer and coffee, or a coffee shop by day, restaurant by night model.

Sustainability, materials, and colours

With the consumer concern for sustainability, we will see a rise in sustainable coffee shop design, and a greater use of techniques and materials that act to limit the strain on natural resources. The forward-looking coffee shop interior will embrace freshness and warmth, making use of natural textures. Moving beyond colder greys and neutrals, interiors will incorporate pastel colours, balanced by stronger jewel tones. Dark, reclaimed wood is being replaced with lighter woods, such as oak, ash, and birch, to create cosy, inviting spaces. And furniture will reflect a more colourful, luxurious feel, using tactile fabrics.


Greenery is a trend that has gained momentum recently and it remains a popular feature in coffee shop interiors. Living walls, hanging planters, and potted plants purify the air, heighten our sense of wellness and relaxation, and provide a photographic focal point.

With these trends in mind, those coffee shops that pursue quality and authenticity in everything they do are more likely to find success, a loyal customer base, and longevity.

For further information on ​Liqui Group ​visit ​www.liquidesign.co.uk​ or @liqui_group, and tune in to the Global Coffee Festival on 30 October for the event, "Time, Space & Design: The Café Designer Panel".
© 2024 Coffee Ventures Europe Ltd.
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