Wake up and smell the coffee

Soto and Little Fireface
Partners in conservation, coffee and great design



Deep in the lowland rainforests of Java, in the shadow of the active Papandayan volcano, lives a tiny population of slow lorises, one of the world’s most endangered primates. It’s a long way from our Soto home in Bristol, UK.

Java is the most populous island on the planet, with about 130 million people yet less than 8% of its lowland rainforests remain.1 The slow loris, with its impossibly large, appealing eyes and distinctive markings, has been driven from the protected nature reserves into the coffee fields and flowering acacia trees bordering the slopes of Papandayan. It’s a fertile but fragile environment.To live in the shadow of a volcano is to live with an ever- present threat of eruption – and extinction.


Loss of habitat and the exotic pet trade has put the little slow loris on a fast track to possible extinction. They’re now critically endangered. Here, in one of their last remaining habitats, they must compete for survival with the local coffee farmers, who have grown their dark, Arabica coffee there for centuries.


“It’s a miracle there are any slow lorises at all”

Anna Nekaris, founder of Little Fireface Project & professor of primate conservation and biological anthropology at Oxford Brookes University.

11 years ago, Anna Nekaris founded the Little Fireface Project2 to study and protect the slow loris. Little Fireface, the local name for the slow loris, works with the farming community to produce sustainable coffee in a wildlife-friendly way.

10 years ago, Anna made a BBC documentary about the slow lorises of Papandayan – a programme that was seen by Tom, our lead developer here at Soto. Tom contacted Anna to offer his practical skills as a graphic designer – and designed the original Little Fireface logo.

Now, Soto and Little Fireface are partners again. Anna saw an opportunity to create a premium coffee brand, Fireface, that both supports the farmers and heightens awareness of the fight to save the slow loris.


How a cup of coffee can help save Little FireFace

This time, the entire Soto agency got behind the project. Zoey O’Neill, Soto’s Founder, offered to create the logo, the packaging and to develop a complete brand strategy for Fireface Coffee. This was vital for Anna and her team:

“ We are conservation biologists, so the business and marketing skills that go into creating branding and websites was a huge learning journey for us! Everyone at Soto has been absolutely wonderful, sharing experience, brilliant design and brand insights!”

The creative spark – Papandayan

Together with Tom and the Soto team, Fireface was positioned as artisan coffee for the connoisseur – people who care about coffee, and care about protecting the environment.

But it was Papandayan itself that lit the spark for the logo design. “The luxurious golds, reds and black are colours we associate with the awe and fire of a volcanic eruption. They are also the colours of the loris’s nocturnal world. We are out with the loris in the black of night. Often, all we see is the red and gold of their eyes, gleaming in the darkness.” Tom’s Fireface logo combines these colours, uniting the characteristics of the dark, robust coffee and the volcanic landscape where it’s grown.




The final design with its batik-inspired curl of smoke, captures the heat and steam from a really fiery, aromatic cup of coffee.

“We’re so proud to work with Little FireFace. Their work is a model of how humans and wildlife can live alongside each other in harmony. It’s the perfect balance.”

Tom Randle, Creative lead

Slow down and smell the coffee

The new premium Fireface coffee launches in March 2022 and the Soto team will be developing and building the website for them. Slow Loris week3 runs from 11th 15th October 2021 – an opportunity for us all to slow down and smell the coffee.

“Creative vision is about looking beyond your own horizons and connecting to the wider world. We want our work to have an impact beyond our 4 walls. And it’s about a great cup of coffee!”

Zoey O’Neill, Soto Founder and Managing Director




Understanding who your brand is and why you do what you do lies at the heart of Soto designs.
If you ‘d like to have a chat about your next project, get in touch!


1 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/13/bridge-over-troubled-forests-how-javas-slow-lorises-are-creeping-back-aoe

2 http://www.nocturama.org/en/welcome-little-fireface-project/

3 http://www.nocturama.org/en/slow-loris-outreach-week-2021/