White coffee packaging: exploring its design potential

Amelia Cooper
August 19, 2022
Exploring the potential of white coffee packaging

The majority of specialty coffee roasters incorporate colours into packaging to help set their products apart and communicate brand identity. 

Some may even use colour to reflect certain characteristics of the coffee, such as origin, flavour notes, or processing methods. Notably, reports found 85% of consumers believe colour is the primary driving force behind their decisions to buy products.

Colour psychology can play an essential role in advertising and retail sales, as numerous studies have shown certain colours can produce powerful emotional reactions. 

Depending on the demographic of a roaster’s target market, the colours chosen for coffee packaging can make or break the success of the product.

For specialty coffee roasters, it’s important to understand how they can harness the effects of colour to their benefit, whether to draw attention to their brand, promote a limited edition range, or highlight certain flavour notes.

The variety, artistry, and individuality of specialty coffee packaging design have become synonymous with the sector. That said, some roasters are turning away from the use of colour to explore the potential of white coffee packaging.

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An image of white coffee packaging on wooden shelves in an article on exploring the potential of white coffee packaging

The colour psychology of white packaging

Colour psychology refers to the way colours subconsciously influence individual perceptions.

Colour theory has existed for centuries, with references of it being practised by the Ancient Egyptians and Greek philosopher, Aristotle.

In terms of branding and marketing, designers may deliberately choose colours that evoke positive associations from customers. 

Some of the primary connotations for the colour white are “purity”, “innocence,” and “integrity”. In many cultures, this perception largely comes from the fact brides often wore a white dress to weddings to symbolise their “purity”. 

Additionally, white is commonly worn by Catholic and Christian priests in order to convey these traits in their character. 

Its cleanliness, crispness, and simplicity also tie the colour white to the idea of perfection. 

Furthermore, white is the combination of all the other colours in the spectrum. Therefore, it is appreciated for its completeness, as is widely viewed in a positive light. Alternatively, black is often defined by its absence of colour

The colour white is also often associated with a sense of calm, peace, and tranquillity – traits which many interior decorators, designers, and marketers have sought to emulate. 

Conversely, too much white can be perceived as cold, sterile, empty, or clinical. 

Several studies have shown colour associations can have a major impact on consumer perceptions. Notably, a study on the impact of colour on marketing found 90% of snap judgements made about products are based on colour alone. 

Therefore, it is essential that designers and marketers use the colour white effectively, as these consumer perceptions have the potential to affect business profits. 

Too much white, and roasters could risk their brand being viewed as harsh, cold, or without personality. However, by finding the ideal balance, a brand can be perceived as youthful, elegant, organised, peaceful, or tranquil. 

It is important for roasters and designers to note that different colours may have different meanings between cultures. 

Before choosing a primary colour for coffee packaging, it is recommended roasters check the colour does not hold any negative cultural connotations within the target region.

Exploring the potential of white coffee packaging

A 2015 global survey done in ten countries across 4 continents found the colour blue was the most popular across the board. 

The same survey found the colour white ranks between fifth and 9th in the countries surveyed, averaging above brown and orange. According to this research, exclusively using the colour white may limit packaging appeal. 

In order to make the design a success, it is advised to unite the white with a stronger aesthetic, as this can help showcase the colour at its best.  

A number of roasters around the world have used white packaging extremely effectively. For example, RAVE Coffee uses white to sharpen and enhance the clean lines of the typography on its pouches, as does Father Coffee

Oddly Correct uses white to make its iconic illustrations stand out, while contrasting with its monochrome colour palette.

Other roasters who have successfully used white, along with small splashes of colour on packaging, are Bassett Espresso, SEY Coffee, and Abracadabra Coffee Co.

These roasters have used white packaging to ensure the branding pops in a more sophisticated way than vibrant, contrasting colours do.

Roasters can bring creativity to the design process by using white packaging to give components an elegant finish. 

By taking inspiration from other successful brands, roasters can use white to highlight wacky designs, or adopt a minimalist approach to packaging design. 

Minimalist designs have proven immensely popular in specialty coffee packaging, as it looks clean, sharp, and confident. Additionally, it can help communicate the high quality of a product, and the complete confidence the roaster has in it. 

For many, it may feel like a risk to design coffee bags that are so understated. However, there is a huge market for minimalist coffee packaging. 

An image of a white coffee bag with blue label on white bed in an article on exploring the potential of white coffee packaging

What to consider when using white coffee packaging

When using white coffee packaging, there are a few things roasters should consider to ensure the design is effective. 

First, they need to choose design elements carefully to ensure they complement white packaging. In terms of colour, soft pastels will help soften the white background. 

That said, there is a risk these components may become indistinguishable. Therefore, roasters should avoid using pastel colours as the main element of the design, such as in the logo or text. 

To make a logo or text stand out, designers tend to use black or another complementary dark colour. 

Illustrations are also an ideal match for white coffee packaging, as it allows roasters to bring an interesting, intricate element to the otherwise plain design. 

An image of a white coffee bag surrounded by coffee brewing equipment and glass cups in an article about exploring the potential of white coffee packaging

At MTPak Coffee, we supply a range of premium and sustainable coffee packaging options made from bleached white kraft paper and rice paper. These bags are fully recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable, and use non-toxic materials to bleach the paper. 

Our rice paper comes from renewable sources such as Qintan tree bark and bamboo, while the kraft paper in our packaging is made using wood sourced from FSC-certified forests.

Our coffee bags allow you to create stylish white coffee packaging using materials that immediately demonstrate your commitment to sustainability. 

The dedicated MTPak Coffee design team can custom-create and digitally print your coffee bags, with a 40-hour turnaround and 24-hour shipping time.

We also offer a perfect solution for micro-roasters by providing low minimum order quantities (MOQ) on both recyclable and traditional options.

For more information on sustainable coffee packaging, contact our team.

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