A small design firm here was recently hired by an unusual client with an unconventional request: The Ethiopian government commissioned Brandhouse to come up with a logo that will make consumers feel like they are drinking a luxury when they have Ethiopian coffee. This month, the Ethiopian government is releasing the logos for three varieties of Ethiopian coffee beans that it hopes will eventually appear from the burlap sacks that are used to transport coffee beans to coffee cups in cafes. It is the first time the country has introduced a brand for its major export.
The logos are the culmination of years of sometimes-bitter wrangling between Ethiopia, British charity Oxfam, Starbucks and the National Coffee Association, a trade association for U.S. coffee importers, wholesalers, retailers and roasters. The Ethiopian government has argued that companies such as Starbucks should sign licensing agreements for its coffee. Oxfam supported its cause and last year, the Seattle coffee chain reached a deal with Ethiopia to license, market and promote Harar, Yirgacheffe, and Sidamo coffee.
Niti Bhan focuses on offering strategic insight for growth opportunities and revenue generation in the rapidly evolving interstitial space between design and business. Her 15 years of experience include employers such McCann Erickson Worldwide, Hewlett Packard India, The Second City and most recently, the Institute of Design. She is an engineer and an MBA whose most significant achievement in the field of design has been dropping out of two graduate design programs on two continents in two centuries - the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and the Institute of Design, Chicago. Her areas of interest are business intelligence and trends, business strategy as well as creating a compelling user case for design as force for increasing value.