Towards the end of the summer of 2014 my friend and musician Kishi Bashi asked me to join him on a trip to the Athens GA Jittery Joe’s Coffee roaster. He was taste testing some flavors for his coffee they were going to release by the end of the year. I was asked to join so I could help him brainstorm ideas to illustrate on the coffee bean can’s label.
After about a dozen different flavors of beans he decided on a dark roast blend. This spawned the name Royal Daark Blend that was a play on his album title Lighght (Lighght have the double gh and Daark the double a).
His final request for the label art was based on a poster I design earlier int he year depicting Kishi Bashi as a king from a playing card. This time he would be the Suicide King, but instead of the traditional blade, he’d have a violin behind his head.
Royal Daark Blend can be ordered at
Both sides of the playing card ambigram illustration were actually made. Due to size constraints of the label and to help bring focus to the design I cut the illustration in half. The full illustration would later be used for promotional items such as shirts and posters.
Original tour poster that would later inspire the coffee can label.
Kishi Bashi and I posing with the coffee cans after being surprised with them at dinner.
This was our first hands and on seeing the cans.
Kishi Bashi at his packed release party for the coffee at Hendershot’s Cafe in Athens GA.
Each can of coffee comes with a download of the exclusive Kishi Bashi song “M’Lover”
and can be ordered at
A few months later I illustrated a new version with Kishi Bashi missing from the ad, coffee done and tip money left, and pulled a prank. With the help of a friend the Kishi Bashi Royal Daark ad hanging in Hendershots Coffee Athens GA was replaced over night. Everyone freaked out.
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