Interview with Hanna Kregling creator of the Barista Font

by . July 10th, 2014

Have you ever ordered at Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – taken a look at the side of the cup and tried to decipher what they’ve written or wonder how they managed to get to that. Seriously. Get yourself perked up with this display typeface. Aptly called the Barista Font, and brewed by New York based Art Director – Hanna Kregling. Hanna takes individual letters over the course of 27 cups of coffee to deliver us a type face, hand written and stitched together by a number of baristas.

She describes her process as:


I created this font from the handwriting of Starbucks Baristas.  I took each letter from a different coffee cup using a lot of fake names, and with the help of some caffeinated friends.  Through this I aim to show the pace of the job and the originality of the people in this profession.


YouTheDesigner gets the opportunity to get to know her and let her talk to us about her project!

Barista Board




YouTheDesigner: Hey Hanna, thanks for agreeing to the interview. So, first things first – what’s your favorite drink at Starbucks?

Hanna: Before this project, I usually would just order a black house blend; but because I needed a barista to make my drink in order to get a name written on it, I switched to Americanos, and now that has become my favorite.

YTD: Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Hanna: I am a New York based Art Director, originally from Connecticut, going into my final quarter at Miami Ad School. I spent my first year of the school at their San Francisco location and the second year in New York.

Profile Me

YTD:  What was your inspiration for the project? How did the idea come to you?

Hanna: I was looking at photos of misspelled names on Starbucks coffee cups, and thought it would be cool to make a font out of that writing so people could Photoshop whatever name they wanted onto a coffee cup. From there, I started thinking it would be interesting to use a font as a form of advertising.

YTD:  What does your average day look like?

Hanna: Right now, I have one more week of break left before going into my final internship before graduating in September.  So for now, I spend a lot of time at the gym kickboxing, and while doing this I often get ideas for projects and plan out how to technically execute my work.


YTD:  Are you working on any new projects?

Hanna:  I am constantly working on projects. Currently most of it is speculative ad work for my portfolio.

YTD:  Outside of Xena Warrior Princess, what’s the best name you’ve used to order a drink?

Hanna:  Probably Fiffi, as I couldn’t think of another name that had both an uppercase and lowercase F. The barista taking my order looked at me kind of strange when I told her that was my name, as I don’t really look like a Fiffi. She then spelled it “Phee Phee,” so I had to go to another Starbucks location and try that order again.

Xena Cup At Sbucks

YTD:  What does your workspace look like?

Hanna:  I consider myself very organized, at least digitally, and like to keep my desktop clean. I also have to save my work constantly because I have two cats who love to walk/sleep on my keyboard.

YTD: How many cups of coffee did this project take?

Hanna: It took me 27 cups, as I needed a different name to get every capital letter. It was 27 instead of 26 due to the misspelling of Fiffi.

YTD: The ‘T’ you chose is interesting. Do you have any favourite letters?

Hanna: The “t” is definitely the most controversial of the letters, and that’s why it is my favorite. It was taken from the name, “Elizabeth.” I think it really articulates the concept of the font, showing the pace of the job as well as this particular barista’s unique writing style.

Cut out names


YTD: Is this your first time creating a type face? Do you have any advice for people who are interested in getting into Typography?

Hanna: This is my first time creating a fully functioning typeface, although I have taken typography classes in school. Due to the concept of this project, my methods in creating this font were pretty unconventional and often improvised. The most difficult part was getting each letter sized and weighted to have a coherent font, as handwriting on a coffee cup comes in all sizes, often using different sized sharpies. While I sized the font to follow basic type rules, I did not alter the shape of the letters in anyway, as I wanted to maintain their authenticity.

The biggest piece advice I would have is to be incredibly organized. I kept each letter in a separate layer in Photoshop once I isolated it from the name, and created folders that were organized alphabetically to keep track of them. It is also important to make a copy of the letters before you alter a layer in any way, especially if you are improvising. I kept copies of all the unseparated names and unsized letters in my master PSD.

Xena Cup w_ Scissors


Want more inspiration? Check out our last interview with Diego Gisbert Llorens.  Share us your thoughts through the comments below and might as well suggest some artist(s) you want us to feature next!  Please feel free to show us your work! Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.You can also hit us up on our FacebookTwitter and Google+ profiles. Lastly, our RSS Feeds is open for subscription so that you can stay creative!