The Burnham Caffè


Relocating its global headquarters presented a slew of  challenges for Arnold Worldwide. One of these challenges was creating a communal  dining space that would be used by all residents of the newly restored Burnham Building.  Shared by all employees  of the building across six different companies, the space had to be neutral enough that employees from each company wouldn't feel as if they were intruding on  another's space, while at the same time having enough personality to be comfortable and inviting. After some conceptual exploration, I landed on the concept of an Italianate café with a twist: instead of service with a smile, it would be service with a double shot of snark. In addition to conceptual direction, I developed a suite of subversive materials that would provide a chuckle to those that looked close enough.  The system includes printed collateral as well as environmental signage and graphics.

  • Art Direction
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration

Though the overall system has  sense of flippancy, the first impression is one of complete  seriousness. To achieve that effect, the primary identity is a classical Italian script. Drawing on inspiration from early 20th century coffee packaging and vehicle badges, the custom mark was crafted with the utmost care for detail.


A key component of the identity system where these gesture illustrations. Drawn directly from Italian hand signals, in the right context these illustrations tell the patron to "get lost!"


With   (non verbal) communication as  a key concept for the  identity, the steps needed to perform a gesture are crucial for understanding. In this way, the system also uses low-tech animation to create a before and after state, as seen on this cup.