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Creative Designs: Cafe 180, a restaurant with heart


I created a Pecha Kucha about Cafe 180, a nonprofit restaurant in my neighborhood. Libby Whitman, Julie Mihevc, and Catherine Clements-Matthews, founders of Cafe 180, created the restaurant on the concept, “Anyone can eat, regardless of their ability to pay. Those who are unable to pay simply exchange their time and energy for a nutritious meal,” (Cafe 180, 2015). Cafe 180 is a bright spot in downtown Englewood, Colorado amidst an underdeveloped landscape.

I identified my target audience as local Englewood residents. I lived in the neighborhood for two years before I realized Cafe 180 was more than an average for-profit restaurant. The cafe is a neighborhood jewel that benefits Englewood residents facing tough times.

Englewood residents learned three things in my Pecha Kucha. First, Cafe 180 begged to be known as a nonprofit eatery. It may look like an average restaurant from the outside, but is far from average on the inside. The centrally located cafe breathes life and purpose into our neighborhood.

Second, the audience learned Cafe 180’s mission: “Regardless of your ability to pay, come and eat,” (Cafe 180, 2015). There is a sliding scale for the cost of a meal. Those who cannot pay, can earn their meal through offering their time and energy. Those who can pay $4, cover the cost of their food. Those who can pay $10 or more, help support the efforts of Cafe 180. All situations are welcomed.

Third and most importantly, Englewood residents learned the call-to-action, which is to regularly support Cafe 180. Residents can support Cafe 180 by making a habit of eating there and inviting their friends. Aside from eating the food and paying extra for meals, extra donations of time and money are always helpful.

I created my Pecha Kucha with iMovie. Although I have limited experience with this program, each time I use it, I learn new things. Of my 20 images in the Pecha Kucha, 18 of them were original photographs taken with my iphone. After inserting these images into iMovie, I used YouTube to learn how to execute design tasks such as applying both music and voice to the slideshow. iMovie has a steep learning curve, but I love its capabilities and will continue to hone my skills in this application.

Design Decisions

I designed my Pecha Kucha to focus on the people, their testimonials, the element of surprise, a concrete call-to-action, and the emotional pull of Cafe 180’s mission. Patron faces coupled with their stories, made for a compelling Pecha Kucha. Next, I added a twist on a patron’s story by turning him into a wise man. Then, I made Englewood residents aware of Cafe 180’s amazing contribution to our community and how they could concretely help their non-profits efforts to fight hunger.

Design Decision #1

I created my Pecha Kucha to be people-centric. “It’s the economy, stupid!” was Clinton’s campaign story, which led his efforts to victory rather than getting mired in other complex topics (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 34). I took pictures of Cafe 180 with the mantra, “It’s the people, stupid!” in mind. I tried to get as many images of people as possible to attract the attention of my target audience. Reynolds (2015) wrote, “We are naturally drawn to images of people, and we’re especially drawn to images of faces, (p. 213).

Design Decision #2

I showcased Cafe 180’s testimonials to demonstrate its empowering solution to hunger in our community. “How do we get people to act on our idea? We tell stories,” wrote Chip and Dan Heath (2008, p. 18). I fell in love with each person as they told me their story and I used the power of these stories to call my audience to action. The solution to the problem is important, but so is the story of it (Reynolds, 2015, p. 15).

Design Decision #3

I chose to surprise the audience with Mark being subtly recognized as the wise man. Unexpected ideas are stickier because they require the audience to pay attention and think (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 68). I wanted the audience to be surprised that Mark, a man that might have every reason to be bitter and angry, had a wonderful perspective on life. “Our job is to know what the key points are and to create the differences that makes it easy for viewers to naturally discover them,” (Reynolds, 2015, p. 204).

Design Decision #4

I adored Cafe 180 after I experienced it, but not everyone knows its beauty. Grab the audience’s attention by forming an association between something they don’t care about and something they do care about (C. Heath & D. Heath, 2008, p. 173). I initially thought Cafe 180 was just another restaurant in the neighborhood until a friend introduced me to Cafe 180’s mission to fight hunger in a new way. I was emotionally hooked and wanted to help others awaken to Cafe 180.  “Remember that much of design has an emotional component—sometimes this is even the largest component, although viewers may be unaware of this,” wrote Reynolds (2015, p.14).

Design Decision #5

I used concrete examples of how the audience could aid Café 180’s mission. Chip and Dan Heath (2008) wrote, “Concrete ideas are easier to remember,” (p. 106). I combined the concept of concrete ideas with that of reducing clutter to make the message as straightforward as possible. Design is about clearing the clutter in order to make your message clear (Reynolds, 2015, p. 15).

Lessons Learned

I learned the power of stories coupled with portraits. I felt like I asked the right questions to elicit people’s stories and get them to open up. Approaching strangers to ask about their story around Cafe 180 was intimidating, but I fully intended to get my Pecha Kucha content. However, the portraits were a different story. While shooting at Cafe 180, I botched a couple portraits due to my nervousness. In the future, I plan to slow down and make sure I get the perfect portrait of a person. I needed to remember that I asked permission and the people agreed to the pictures. Perhaps a portrait is such an intimate experience that I tried to make it painless and quick for my interviewees. However, next time I will not rush the process.


Cafe 180. (2015), Our Story. Retrieved from

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2008). Made to stick: Why some ideas die and others survive. New York, NY: Random House.

Reynolds, G. (2009). Presentation zen design: Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

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