Sidekick Coffee & Books

A Brand Worthy of a Sidekick.

The Creative Brief

Sidekick Coffee & Books is a community coffee shop and bookstore that seeks to be a hub for residents in the walkable community of University Heights, Iowa, as well as a destination in the corridor and beyond for those looking for exceptional coffee, food, books, and conversation. Creative Mellen was asked to develop a brand that focused on the unique concept of a coffee shop within a kid friendly bookstore. A place where the “adults” can relax and meet friends while bringing their sidekicks to explore.


The Outcome


Sidekick Coffee & Books, owned by Katy Herbold, is inspired by her kids and their favorite characters in fictional stories. With her background in education, the goal of the bookstore is to provide children focused literature and programming. Combining this with the coffee shop gives both kids and adults a space to enjoy. This sparked our creative process to focus on community and imagination, which lead to a playful and unique illustration of an adult and child relaxing and enjoying a good book. Sitting back-to-back communicates the aspect of individual interests and being one’s sidekick. This playful style carries over into the typography and symbolism within the illustration. Keeping the identity black and white allows for gender neutrality while a multitude of background colors can be applied to enhance the brand.


The identity and brand was initially launched to the public on social media and on their newly developed website. Professional photography by Rebecca Sanabria was key to bringing the brand to life. The grand opening of the shop featured exterior window signage of the illustrations, lighted typography above the door, and custom branded merchandise. Customers have commented on the brand as fun and engaging. When you step into Sidekick Coffee & Books today that is exactly the type of experience you will get.

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