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John Ryan

The Power of Two

Costa Coffee makes the most of just two things to change perceptions

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Photography: John Ryan, London

TWO THINGS, PERHAPS more than anything else, affect perceptions about what a retail interior looks and feels like: Light and color.

The former means – in an increasing number of instances ­– natural daylight (as well as giving store environments the “high-low” treatment with areas of light and shadow, courtesy of multiple LEDs), with the trend towards ripping out false walls and bringing the great outdoors indoors continuing unabated.

Color is more subtle. Shoppers tend to associate colors with brands because, well, that’s what brands like, and if a specific blue or a particular green means thinking of a retailer, then the thinking is that a good job has been done. Change colors at your peril, therefore, and sometimes it can be done to good effect.

On Tooley Street, a thoroughfare parallel to the south bank of the Thames in central London, caffeine giant Costa Coffee (London) has revamped its busy branch and heated things up. In the normal run, this outfit uses a magenta-like color scheme as its hallmark, but on Tooley Street, it has opted to raise its game a few tones and use hot pink as an accent color.

Practically, this means wall graphics in which the color is teamed up with white and, in the mid-shop, digital ordering kiosks that are the kind of hot pink that Bruce Springsteen might have associated with a Cadillac back in the day.

In short, this is a Costa Coffee branch in which the essence of the brand remains, but it’s been given a high-octane overhaul thanks to a relatively inexpensive color change.

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All of this is worth considering simply because affecting change in a store can be an expensive business, but it really doesn’t have to be. Light and color are the twin tools that can alter a space completely without waving a begging bowl in front of the bank manager.

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