How Trade Coffee gets things done

Trade is a tailored subscription service that helps you get up in the morning, giving you access to over 400 different coffees from specialty third-wave roasters.

No matter how much you do or don’t know about coffee, Trade will help find the right bean for your brew. Their easy quiz helps you identify what you need; from single origin beans to the perfect sweet and smooth blend for cold brew.

We chatted with Erika (Director of Coffee) and Linda (Senior Graphic Designer) from Trade about inspiration, their process, and how they use Dropmark to get things done.

Can you tell me a little about Trade Coffee, how did it get started?

Linda: Trade believes that every cup you make should be your best ever — no matter how you take your coffee! Launched in 2018, we unite the nation’s top roasters directly with drinkers, offering 400+ coffees at an incredible value and freshness you won’t find anywhere else. Most people don’t drink freshly roasted, personalized coffee that supports roasters and farmers. Trade was started to introduce everyday coffee drinkers to their best coffees and positively impact the world of specialty coffee. It started with our company seeing these problems and creating something meaningful to address them.


How does being in New York impact your work & do you have any favorite NY roasters?

Erika: Joe, Irving Farm, and Gimme!

If you had to describe your brand with three flavor notes, what would they be?

Erika: Sweet, Inviting, and Fun

How does design fit into Trade’s culture?

Design is at the center of everything that we do. We believe that great coffee should be for everyone, and we are committed to helping our customers find the right coffees — regardless of their experience level. Through design, we strive to make specialty coffee fun and accessible — turning coffee drinkers into coffee lovers.


What does your team’s creative process look like?

Linda: We begin all of our work by defining the problems that we are trying to solve. We think about the best experiences that we can bring to our customers and what we are trying to build as a brand and as a business. From there, we create briefs and have content planning meetings to see what projects need new assets to be shot.

If we require new assets, we have brainstorming sessions, which get translated into a shot list. Once the shot list is approved by everyone collaborating, I will purchase props and ingredients to shoot the images with our photographer.


After that, we have creative reviews to make sure we’ve checked off all the objectives and finesse the design and copy until everyone gives their stamp of approval.

If you could only make coffee one way for the rest of your days, what would it be?

Erika: An automatic drip, haha. It’s so consistent and easy, and you can play around with ratio and grind size if you really want to get experimental, but I love the ease and consistency of an automatic drip.


How does Dropmark fit into your workflow?

Linda: We use Dropmark to collect ideas and swipe for everything. Not just for day-to-day design projects, but we also have collections that we add to when we find something interesting. It’s like saving them for a rainy day. Some of these collections are categorized for art direction inspiration, email layouts, illustration styles, and content ideas.

What’s great about Dropmark is that anyone can add to them, so we get to share these collections with each other to help communicate our ideas.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve Dropmarked recently?

Linda: All kinds of cocktail garnishes! We have a Summer Sips series featuring cold brew-based cocktail and mocktail recipes created by baristas around the country and by our Trade Ambassadors. I’ve been Dropmarking swipe of cold drinks and cocktails as a reference on how to style cocktails. Our design team is small, so I am also in charge of art direction and prop and food styling on set and need all the reference I can gather.


See more about Trade at and follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.