Art Direction, BA Design Thesis

Mehmet Efendi 1871


The hallmark of Turkish Coffee

Mehmet Efendi (1857-1934) built up the famous coffee company in Istanbul, perfected the cultural heritage to its high point and created the legendary brand in every turkish family’s home. He was the first coffee roaster who introduced freshly ground turkish coffee, during the time when coffee was sold as raw beans which needed to be roasted at home in pans and ground by hand. Today, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is the country’s largest turkish coffee brand.

The fame and expansion of Turkish Coffee was acquainted with the establishment of coffeehouses in 1554 when the first opened in Istanbul “Taht-ul-kale” (inside the castle), hereafter most coffee vendors set up their shops at „Tahmis Sokak“, the street of roasted and ground coffee. The Coffee in the turkish culture has a unique value and stands for an iconic, ritualistic and bounding beverage that provides its social characteristics, particularly during engagement ceremonies and festive religious holidays. This key idea inspired me to step into the shoes of the Turkish Coffee brand Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi. As a german-born creative with turkish origins who lived in Italy, I had the chance to truly live and experience different coffee cultures and Turkish Coffee had captivated my interest from the first point. Certainly my bicultural background additionally with the insights in Italy, helped me to position myself better into a coffee-culture and thus progress flexibly to capture the coffee experience in Turkey. This is my Final Design Thesis project entitled „The conceptual rebranding and repositioning of the traditional Turkish Coffee brand Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi“ I developed for the Three-year BA Degree Program. The work traces the culture of Turkish Coffee and establishes a new brand identity, to realize its potential and become a global player. The brand presence is refocused and transformed in detail to differentiate itself from the competitors.
Brand Definition

Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is a strong turkish brand, that is associated with the Turkish Coffee and vice versa since 1871. The icon stands for genuine taste and is the most preferred brand that reaches the widest audience with 68% according to a survey “Kahve Tüketim Alışkanlıkları Araştırması. MediaCat Magazine, Aug. 2014” conducted by FikriMühim, Turkey’s first and only WOMM agency, about coffee consumption habits in Turkey. Despite a strong brand awareness, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi risks to regress in the coffee market as an outdated and still local brand that lacks a contemporary spirit. Therefore I began by updating the iconic logo while maintaining the essential brand values adopting to the contemporary spirit. The modernization depicts an intrinsic duality of their characters and balance associated with coffee industry and leading high quality.

Creative Execution

The first approach performed an overall rebranding of the identity and packaging, where the contemporary design spirit is the core for the creative strategy and regards its traditional brand values, reflecting the contemporary zeitgeist within. The new products (filter-coffee, roasted/ground espresso and cocoa) were carefully re-integrated in the unified design to strengthen the units and remain decent but available for separate sale. This allows a focused and confident brand communication. The new packaging for Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi’s Turkish Coffee consolidates its range, improves dispatch, facilitates continued growth and unifies both their commercial and wholesale ranges under one practical system.

Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi’s Black Gold

Once the modern brand identity is defined in all in its parts, the creative strategy expands and reaches out for the trending market: the instant coffee. The consideration for this purpose is a product portfolio expansion, where Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi becomes the new umbrella brand and enters the instant coffee market. The key moment for this situation can be reached with a new product, the strong bound between traditional brand expertise and modern appearance that results as an appealing fast consumable coffee product. With the launch of a new premium instant turkish coffee, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi’s “Black Gold” will recover the leeway – a modern brand characterized by tradition with a strong brand history. The brand new premium instant coffee will become independently established from other products. This case constitutes an opportunity for the umbrella brand Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi to mantain and ensure its existence in the long run as the well-known Turkish coffe brand and expand in the fast growing market.

And everytime I walk by the nostalgic coffee scented street in Istanbul...

… I always wander in memories, particularly in my earliest childhood when I sensed the aromatic fragrance for the first time. Amazing! The coffee experience at ‚Tahmis Sokak‘ is inexpressible. Likewise, during every trip to Istanbul, I went to the famous coffee store again in June 2015 when I originally headed for the +1t Design Days Conference. I passed by the streets to the Spice Bazaar and finally reached Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi. But this time it was a historical moment for me, because I had the great opportunity to share time with grandson Mehmet Kurukahveci, personally present him my design project and listen to an untold story about the Turkish Coffee and the family’s legacy! We got into friendly conversation* and it was great receiving his congratulations and positive feedback on the work. Furthermore I received film copies of the nostalgic corner store to display on my website.

*Mehmet Kurukahveci read my thesis project, which was designed in a newspaper format and printed in full color. He flipped through the pages and took a deep look on the big family image in the second part of the thesis where I was depicting the brand story and his grandfather Mehmet Efendi. With big eyes he then laid the newspaper on the table and leaned over, pointed at the family members „Here, I am. You see my dad, and my uncle and here my grandfather Mehmet Efendi.“

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