Dollop Coffee & Tea
Downtown Design for the Newest Dollop
Dollop Downtown, the newest addition to the Dollop family, occupies the first floor of the Fisher Building, a neo-Gothic icon built in 1896. The building is something of a benevolent dictator—all new construction or design must meet rigorous standards, for good reason: it's a designated landmark developed by hometown legend Daniel Burnham.
Naturally, we couldn't wait to get our hands on the space. Our job was to develop a unique identity for Dollop Downtown, designing it to feel at home among the historic art and architecture that shape Chicago's Loop.
We started with graphics, adjusting the core Dollop brand and creating two alternate logos reminiscent of the building's history and style. Both feature heavy strokes, as though drawn by hand, and flourishes that fit well among the glazed terra cotta structure's ornate carvings and meticulous detail.
Gold leaf hand lettering has been the standard of excellence in Chicago since the 19th century; a handful of shops continue the tradition to this day. We partnered with a local pro to create the window signage and perfect each filigree and fill by hand, a careful process but one worth the patience.
Type, Menus & Custom Illustration
Drawing inspiration from Chicago's elevated train, our custom typeface, aptly named Railroad, mirrors the geometry of the tracks overhead. Bonus: it's incredibly legible—just a little help for the not-yet-sufficiently caffeinated.
For wall menus, we outfitted wood panels—cut and stained to specification—with chalkboard insets. The contrast and cohesion created between visible grain, industrial matte and neo-modern letterforms captures something that feels fundamentally like Chicago and distinctly downtown, an area rooted deeply in history even as it grows and evolves every day.