30 April 2021

Davide Cavuoto, credit: image by Apollo Photography
Image by Apollo Photography

Davide Cavuoto

Founder and Manager, Coffee in Common
Designer and Illustrator
Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication)
Graduate Diploma in Visual Art & Design (Illustration)

Creativity is everywhere around us, and creative people tend to find it in everything. For Davide Cavuoto, a design graduate of the University of South Australia, creativity is imbued in every facet of his professional life.

His latest project – café and boutique roastery Coffee in Common – is a testament to the power of creative problem solving, personal drive, and a dogged refusal to give up.

Davide’s decision to pursue a creative field was a no-brainer.

“I’ve always loved drawing and had a pencil in my hand from a very young age … I was always leaning towards a degree in visual arts, or something in a wibbly-wobbly creative field,” he says.

“At university, I began to realise the potential of graphics and illustration to problem-solve issues that people didn’t really have any idea to tackle.”

Image by Daniel Demasi Photography
Image by Daniel Demasi Photography

Upon graduation, Davide’s passion for illustration and design remained, but he felt a desire to continue his skill development before pursuing full-time work in the industry.

“In terms of how comfortable I was with my style… I definitely wasn’t there yet. To date I’ve never created a body of work I’m totally happy with,” he says.

He continued to develop his portfolio while slinging coffee part-time, taking on freelance commissions for small businesses along the way.

This unique connection to the industry helped him carve out a niche for himself in hospitality design.

“The longer I worked in hospitality, the more I’d work on logos, cup designs, menu designs, merchandise and web design with the café industry.”

Working with small businesses has helped Davide develop an authentic and self-aware approach to branding work.

The Coffee in Common Bacon Street café (left) and menu (right) by Apollo Photography
The Coffee in Common Bacon Street café (left) and menu (right) by Apollo Photography

“Part of my freelance journey has been working with small businesses and helping them grow … you often deal directly with the owner who is passionate about the industry or an idea,” he says.

“Building a relationship and trust with your client over time is a great learning experience. You get to deal with the wonder of human nature and behaviour. Reaching a point where a client trusts you wholeheartedly with their business’ branding gave me that feel good feeling like I’d made a new best friend.”

Now, managing his own business in the industry where he got his creative start, Davide’s body of experience allows him to think outside of the box.

Coffee in Common, located on Bacon Street in Hindmarsh, is a café and boutique coffee roastery that serves up specialty coffee and a thoughtfully curated brunch menu. Located in a former car detailer’s premises, the café is a collaboration between Davide and former café owner Sean Do.

“I run the day to day stuff within the business – roast coffee, make coffee, manage staff and do all the branding and social media stuff that comes with it,” Davide says.

The opportunity to work on a creative branding project for himself brought with it new challenges and incredible rewards.

Image by Daniel Demasi Photography
Image by Daniel Demasi Photography

A pressing need to get the work done challenged Davide’s tendency towards perfectionism, and the result is a design ethos characterised by unapologetic authenticity.

“Creating my own brand for my coffee business has been great … it has pretty much shattered all barriers for my work,” he says.

“I don’t have time to sit on my hands when I’m creating something now. I’m learning to lean into what I feel is right and I’ve got to roll with it.”

“Perfectionism has definitely been running with me for my entire illustrative journey, and while it’s still there chattering away in the depths of my mind, the reality of needing to create drives through this.”

Davide considers learning creative problem-solving skills to be the single biggest advantage for a business owner, within or outside of the design industry. His time studying illustration helped to facilitate his unique career straddling the hospitality and creative industries.

“Thinking outside the box is a term that gets thrown around a lot in business, and it's definitely something I didn’t realise was in such short supply,” he says.

A range of Coffee in Common merchandise and coffee available from their website. Bottom right image by Daniel Demasi Photography
A range of Coffee in Common merchandise and coffee available from their website. Bottom right image by Daniel Demasi Photography

“The constant feedback [at university] and working closely with my peers, seeing their work, getting their feedback, and seeing the progression was incredibly educational and wholesome.”

For students nearing the end of their degrees, or fresh graduates unsure where to go next, Davide has some candid advice.

“Say yes to a lot of things, and if it’s shitty, don’t be scared to say no. The more you do, the more you can confidently lean into projects that resonate with you.”

“I always try to lean into what resonates with my values, remember to say no and constantly remind myself that my work and myself are nowhere near the finished product and will never be.”

“Finished is just an idea, the end of a chapter in a novel. Chasing feelings and development for me always outweighs the idea of reaching finality. This has taken a long time to learn but has brought joy and drive to my work.”

You can find Davide on the machines at Coffee in Common seven days a week at 7 Bacon Street Hindmarsh. Coffee blends and merch are available for purchase in store and online.

To find out more about Coffee in Common visit their website here and for Davide’s portfolio follow the link here.

Learn about studying Illustration and Animation at the University of South Australia.


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