The Power Of Design: Using Creative Coffee Packaging To Attract Customers

Enrique Moreno
February 4, 2021
coffee packaging

For specialty roasters, it’s important to dedicate time and effort into sourcing and roasting quality coffee. However, until consumers actually try your coffee, it’s difficult for them to know whether they will like it or not.

Packaging is an essential tool for marketing your product and attracting new customers. To be effective, it needs not only to reflect the quality of your coffee, but also to communicate your brand identity and stand out on the shelf.

By collaborating with a local artist to design your packaging, whether a graphic designer, painter, or photographer, you can create a striking and distinctive product that will attract attention and tell people more about your brand than any number of words could.

To find out more about the benefits of collaborating with local artists for specialty coffee roasters, I spoke with Bartholomew Jones, founder of Cxffeeblack.

See also: Why Should Specialty Coffee Roasters Aim To Become Carbon Neutral?

coffee roaster partner with local artist

The Impact Of A Unique Packaging Design

When it comes to reaching new customers, the design of your coffee packaging is of the utmost importance. A recent survey found that 70% of consumers form their impression of a brand solely based on packaging, influencing perceptions of quality, value, and brand image.

However, the average supermarket trip exposes consumers to more than 40,000 different products, all vying for attention. This means it’s crucial for specialty coffee roasters to choose packaging that will stand out on the shelf.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is by creating a unique packaging design. Not only will it help set your product apart from the competition, it can become a talking point among customers. They may feel inclined to share the packaging across social media, and keep it out on display for visitors to see.

Unique designs can also give your brand a distinctive look that, over time, customers will associate with your brand and be able to quickly identify your products on the shelf.

For example, craft beer company Flying Dog Brewery are recognised by the distinctive illustrations of British artist Ralph Steadman, whose work they use on the labels of their bottles. 

Similarly, London-based Beavertown Brewery have become widely known for their cans adorning colourful illustrations of planets, spacemen, and floating skulls by artist Nick Dwyer. In addition to creating an eye-catching appearance, these illustrations allow customers familiar with the brand to immediately recognise whether a bar or supermarket has them in stock.

coffee packaging design local artist

What Are The Benefits Of Partnering With A Local Artist For Specialty Coffee Roasters?

As the specialty coffee market has grown, an increasing number of consumers have taken an interest in not only the unique characteristics of coffee, but also the “story” behind it.

This trend has put greater pressure on specialty coffee roasters to find new and inventive ways of conveying information to customers without overwhelming them. The answer for some has been to work with their local artists.

Collaboration with a local artist can help craft your brand identity and communicate your coffee’s distinct characteristics in a visually striking way. By using images to convey your brand voice you will be less reliant on text, while you can also choose to highlight certain qualities of the coffee.

Bartholomew Jones is the founder of Cxffeeblack, a social enterprise that seeks to reclaim the black history of coffee. The company combines coffee, music, and clothing to generate awareness of coffee’s black history and provide opportunities for black people involved in the industry today.

He tells me that it’s particularly important to partner with local artists if you’re trying to reach consumers from your own community.

“I think sometimes how the bag looks affects how people perceive the taste of the coffee,” he says. “Taste is a language; it’s subjective and emotional. Art is also emotional; it affects how our senses perceive things. 

“We’ve collaborated with three different local artists so far. I think that’s allowed us to be more specific because we’re collaborating with our community. It’s easy to make the language of the design speak the same language of the people you’re selling to when you know who they are.”

Partnering with a local artist can also be beneficial when launching special edition coffee, such as an exclusive blend for subscribers.

It’s a highly effective way of adding value to a product and making customers feel as though they are receiving a personalised experience. For example, California-based Rhetoric Coffee, a coffee subscription service, rotates the art on their bags every two weeks, using different artists each time. This helps create a level of personalisation that people will perceive as a worthy investment.

Bartholomew says that as well as enhancing the experience of buying coffee, consumers generally appreciate the results of this type of collaboration.

“When you work with local artists, you give a unique branding perspective. And, in the marketplace, that really makes you stand out because now you are working with inspiration and with aesthetics that most of the industry won’t use.”

Indeed, more than half of consumers say they would be willing to pay more for a product if they like the packaging.

street art in colombia

How Packaging Design Can Convey A Coffee’s Journey

As well as improving the customer experience, partnering with a local artist is a great way of representing the distinct cultures involved in your coffee’s journey.

“What we like about coffee is that each bag is different, each origin is different, each farm is different, each cultivar is different,” Bartholomew says. “We should allow this diversity to be represented and celebrated in design through working with local artists.”

For example, City of Saints is a coffee roastery located in Bushwick, a colourful industrial neighbourhood in New York City covered in murals. In their roastery, City of Saints commissioned local artists to paint murals, which they then used as inspiration for their packaging. As such, their coffee bags reflect the creative spirit of the neighbourhood, paying homage to the local culture and projecting a distinct brand identity.

Similarly, Junior’s Roasted Coffee in Oregon has a different design and colour for each origin. According to designer Elizabeth Chai, it helps customers draw connections between the packaging and the farm on which the coffee was grown, bringing them closer to origin.

This undoubtedly helps to bridge the gap between consumers and the people behind the products they buy, enabling them to engage with their coffee in a more emotional way.

limited edition christmas packaging

Whether targeting consumers from your local community or reflecting aspects of your coffee’s unique journey, partnering with a local artist is an effective way of making your coffee stand out. An artist can help develop and communicate your brand values, while also highlighting the distinct characteristics of your product.

At MTPak Coffee, we offer specialty roasters a range of sustainable coffee packaging solutions, which can be fully customised to suit your needs, from the size and substrate to the design and printing effects. 

Our stand-up pouches are perfect for displaying creative designs, while our flat bottom pouches offer five sides on which to print different images. Regardless of your preference, we can work with you to produce the ideal packaging to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back for more.

For information on our coffee packaging solutions, contact our team.

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