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The Challenge

The Costa Foundation is an independent charity that aims to improve the education for boys and girls in some of the poorest coffee-farming communities around the globe. It was founded in 2006 and loved internally but externally it was Costa’s “best kept secret”. The design was often inconsistent, not integrated with Costa Coffee, and didn’t do justice to the great work done to date.


The challenge was to help bake it into the brand at a strategic and brand identity level to build brand love, increase awareness and enhance fundraising.


Our Strategy: Change a child’s life story 

The Costa Foundation brand had not changed since launch and focused on ‘helping communities grow’. This wasn’t well understood and didn’t fit naturally with the Costa Coffee purpose or brand values. First we defined a new proposition for The Foundation, ‘Change a Child’s Life Story’, which focused on the power of education to eradicate poverty in coffee-growing communities. The idea was to make it personal and focus on the compelling stories of individual children who thrived at Foundation schools. This proposition gave Costa a platform to leverage the existing work they did with literacy in the UK and the book awards.


Child as hero

We were keen to keep the logotype redesign simple and make it feel empowering. We switched the emphasis from ‘us’ to ‘them’ by making the child the hero. Providing a quality education is about unlocking potential. We symbolised this with the illustrated child with their hand raised as they might in a classroom. It also provides a great shorthand icon for their social media avatar.

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Colourful and positive

Where the previous design was quite muted we wanted the Costa Foundation to feel upbeat and positive. This is reflected in the types of images chosen and colours used. The bright colours are taken directly from the painted walls in Foundation schools to ensure they feel authentic and natural.


Playful Fundraising

The current collection boxes were static, uninspiring and often missed within the busy Costa Coffee store environment. We wanted to create more theatre around the point of donation as this was a key touchpoint in the customer journey. We redesigned and re-engineered the boxes to create bespoke collection boxes where people could put money in and watch it literally build a school.

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Creating new assets

We worked closely with the Costa Coffee guidelines as it was important to align both brands, but we also created bespoke assets for Costa Foundation. The illustration style is inspirational and playful and designed as an overlay to illustrate the unlimited potential of the children attending Foundation schools.



People give to people. The Costa Foundation had some inspirational stories of children attending school and achieving their dreams against the odds. Once we had defined the tonality of the Foundation work alongside the coffee brand, we created a bank of heart stories based on individual’s lives and focused on the individual against the odds stories of success.



We provided Costa Coffee with a fully worked up toolkit of guidelines and assets complete with illustrations and messaging across the customer journey.


Link to core coffee proposition

The key phase of this work was in linking the charity with core coffee communications in store to raise the profile and link back to the core coffee proposition. As a customer, supporting Costa Coffee, and particular products means helping children in coffee growing communities reach their full potential. We worked with the brand and innovation team to link the product and Foundation stories.