Coffee bag design inspiration: Typeface

Tori Taylor
September 22, 2021

For brands, typeface plays an important role. It can help promote loyalty, influence consumer perceptions, and cut through the “noise”. It can improve communication, develop familiarity, and increase reading speeds. It can encourage sales, inspire action, and attract attention.

It is also essential in conveying a brand’s voice, helping both to mirror its personality and shape its identity. According to a recent study on typographic voice, the colour, shape, height, and width of a font can “set a mood” in the eye’s of consumers, whether friendly and relaxed, or brash and energetic.

For specialty roasters, typeface plays an important role in the design of their coffee packaging. It helps create a memorable and appealing product, while also relaying essential information about the roastery and the story behind the coffee.

But how do you match a typeface to your coffee roastery? And how can you guarantee it will appeal to your target audience? We take a look at some of the coffee bags of leading specialty roasters to find out what they do well.

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rave recyclable coffee bags
Rave uses an informal typeface that clearly sets out their brand voice

Rave Coffee | Bold, informal, maverick

Who are they?

Founded in 2011, Rave Coffee is a specialty roasters based in Gloucestershire, UK. The majority of their sales comes from online orders and subscriptions; however, they also have a roastery-café located in the Canadian Rockies.

Rave has a wide range of coffees on offer, from Brazil Fazenda to Monsoon Malabar. They also sell in a number of different formats, including ground, whole bean, and Nespresso-compatible pods.

In the UK, they are known for their commitment to sustainability, particularly their “1% For The Planet” initiative, in which they donate 1% of all sales to environmental causes.

Typeface Spotlight

For Rave, it’s all about the typeface. So much so that their entire bag design is based on the use of distinctive lettering to attract attention.

A succession of capitalised words in bold black are scrawled across the front of their bags, seemingly with a heavy duty marker pen. Some are crossed, others underlined for emphasis.

The result is a coffee bag that’s impossible to ignore. Its typeface conveys a sense of the maverick that cuts through the noise and makes a statement. Rather than use an image to relay its brand identity, Rave falls back on its immediately familiar style of font to set out its brand voice and tell customers what it stands for: great coffee stripped back to its bare essentials.

qima coffee bags
The elegant typeface of Qima Coffee presents a sense of luxuriousness and exclusivity

Qima Coffee | Luxury, elegant, exclusive

Who are they?

Qima Coffee is a UK roasters on a mission to promote Yemen as a coffee-growing country.

As well as staging an annual coffee auction offering Yemeni coffee to the world’s top buyers, they also run an Alchemy Series aimed at improving processing methods at origin.

In recent years, Qima’s owner, Faris Sheibani, has started applying everything he has learnt working with Yemen’s coffee farmers to other origins around the world.

Their latest project is in Colombia, where they are looking at ways of improving the livelihoods of producers and creating a more sustainable future.

Typeface Spotlight

Elegant gold lettering set against a black background gives Qima its cool, sophisticated air. The colour and style of its typeface skillfully conveys a sense of luxuriousness and exclusivity, which is clearly an important attribute for a brand whose central aim is to elevate Yemeni coffee in the eyes of the market.

Their use of a script font for the words, “Yemen Specialty” on their characteristically small coffee bag emulates their confidence in the quality of Yemen as an original, while adding a touch of mystique around the brand. Other exclusive brands that adopt this approach include Cadillac and Cartier.

cause roast kraft paper coffee packaging
Cause Roast uses a rustic, “natural-looking” typeface that adheres to their core philosophy

Cause Roast | Rustic, authentic, transparent

Who are they?

Cause Roast is a specialty coffee roasters based in North Carolina, US. Their simple motto, “Drink Coffee. Do Good” summarises their ambition to use coffee to help tackle issues around the world, such as a lack of clean drinking water.

Through their online shop, customers can buy 340g bags of whole bean coffee. A percentage of the proceeds are then donated towards a cause; for example, by purchasing Cause’s signature blend, you will “give four people access to clean water”. Customers can also sign up to rolling subscriptions or buy some of the brand’s merchandise.

Typeface Spotlight

Cause Roasters uses a rustic typeface that helps the brand’s authenticity shine through. Minimalist and slightly rough around the edges, it shows a commitment to a goal much bigger than themselves.

Cause’s typeface, presented on a kraft paper bag, also projects a natural aesthetic that plays into their central philosophy to “do good”. The typeface is entirely free of pretension or superfluous detail, helping to create an impression of being genuine, grounded, and decisive.

roastworks coffee bags
Roastworks drew inspiration for its typeface from its vintage roasters

Roastworks | Heavy, industrial, vintage

Roastworks is a small, independent specialty roasters based in Devon.

Dedicated to creating a more accessible and, ultimately, less exclusive industry, they sell the majority of their coffee across UK supermarkets. They also have a range of Nespresso-compatible aluminium coffee pods that they sell both in stores and online.

In the roastery, they use two refurbished machines: a Barth Menado 60kg roaster from 1958 and a Probat LG12 from 1971. These two roasters are the heart of their operation and have come to form a defining part of Roastworks’ brand identity.

Typeface Spotlight

While some specialty roasters focus on bridging the gap between origin and consumer, Roastworks’ branding is very much focused on the roasting side of the supply chain.

Inspired by their Barth Menado and Probat roasters, the brand’s typeface is heavy-duty and industrial. Like Qima Coffee, it uses gold lettering on a black background; but it doesn’t have the same elegance or exclusivity.

Instead, it conveys a retro feel that draws consumers into the roasting stage, and invites them to take an interest in the machinery behind the production of roasted coffee.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect typeface for your coffee brand, it’s important to make sure it can be seen clearly across all products. At MTPak Coffee, we use only the highest quality printing methods to ensure your branding is clearly displayed on all coffee bags and takeaway cups.

You can also choose from a range of bag types, including side gusset, flat bottom, and stand-up, to maximise the space on which to showcase your brand.

For information about our customisable coffee packaging, contact our team.

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