09 January 2013

Harris+Hoole – The debate

Harris+Hoole – The debate continues

As one of the designers that worked on the branding for Harris+Hoole I’m quite interested in all the debate around it’s branding and what it reflects. It’s particularly good to see how rounded the conversation has now become. The BBC’s view here and the blog post on The Spectator seem to now really begin to get under the skin of the debate – not simply bashing the word ‘independent’ everywhere.

I’m also encouraged by all the comments and tweets from the public and the local blog writers that mention Harris+Hoole. Especially on the BBC.

When I met Nick and Laura Tolley last year, I wasn’t aware of how much coffee can differ from one country to another or how it changes with the grinding and the roasting process.

Call me ignorant but it was a great eye-opener for me. It was really inspiring to see how passionate these guys were and how much they are in love with their craft. It was clear from the start that Nick was passionate about great coffee, and was keen to deliver it to as many people as possible.

Having been through this process of learning with the design team and the Tolleys I’ve realised that there is a lot of poor quality coffee out there. The baristas at Harris+Hoole share Nick’s passion, love and skill that he and his family have.

While working on the brand, we always talked about how H+H should be influenced and built by the people who work there (who actually run the shops); empowering the baristas by giving them control of how to run what they see as essentially their coffee shop. The baristas are encouraged to make their shop their own, make their own offers and source or bake their own cakes locally.

From the H+H coffee shops I’ve been to, I could clearly see the local communities’ input in the shop too, for example in Crouch End, due to the amount of parents with push chairs that visit the shop, the gaps between furniture was widened to cater for their needs (actually reducing the number of seats in favour of a better experience) – I really enjoyed this aspect. I also couldn’t spot a ‘template’ that the shop manager had to stick to; which was refreshing. The ideas we had for this brand grew organically. I realised this while speaking to a few baristas in one of the coffee shops.

At SomeOne we talk a lot about ‘BrandWorlds’. The fact that brands are more than just a logo – and should be judged as much by the quality of the product and experience as the graphic design (the logo above the door). So I’d suggest try it. Then join the debate. You won’t be let down. The coffee is very good indeed!

Jamin Galea – SomeOne


  1. Ollie Winser says:

    I agree Jamin, it’s been fantastic to design a brand in a truly collaborative way – letting the baristas have their say in how H+H looks and operates.

    It’s also great to be name-checked by the BBC and I particularly like the fact that they’ve told the story behind the Harris+Hoole name!

  2. Tom Dabner says:

    Jamin, following on from your point about adapting shops to benefit the needs of community members, it’s also great to witness the community interaction that’s happened so far.
    Shop managers have been actively engaging with local people by inviting them to use Harris+Hoole shops to host things like reading groups and even yoga classes. Did I mention the shop managers are doing this on their own initiative too? This is resulting in quite different experiences from shop to shop. I think this is good proof that a brand built on strong values, even if it is supported by a large company can still be extremely beneficial to it’s customers at multiple levels, not just as a retailer.

  3. Dan Burgess says:

    Hi guys,

    It’s nice to see you are addressing the controversy around this brand and not ignoring it, but I’d be keen to hear your views on the debate? Do you believe the branding is deceptive in any way?