Coffee bag design tips: Hot stamping coffee packaging

Aidan Gant
January 24, 2023
An image of coffee bags featuring hot stamping, hot stamped coffee bags in an article on coffee designs tips and hot stamping coffee packaging

The world of specialty coffee is an increasingly competitive one.

In such a hotly contested business environment, all the weapons in the branding arsenal must be leveraged to maximum effect to ensure a product stands out.

The design of your coffee bag is one of the most effective ways to capture a customer’s attention. Furthermore, the perceived quality of the packaging, and in turn, the product, can entice the customer to purchase.

Hot stamping coffee packaging is an increasingly popular way to customise coffee bags. It can help your product thrive without the cost and infrastructure required for fully customised printing.

Read on to discover how hot stamping coffee packaging can increase the perceived value of your coffee offerings.

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What is hot stamping?

Developed in the 19th century, hot stamping is a relief printing technique that has been used across a variety of design tasks ever since. 

The process is fairly simple and involves the application of a printed design to the packaging material or substrate.

A die or printing block must be produced, which carries the design to be imprinted on the substrate. Traditionally, the die would be cast from metal or carved from silicone.

That said, modern 3D printing techniques have allowed for highly intricate designs to be produced more efficiently, and at a significantly cheaper price.

During the hot stamping process, the die is fixed into a simple two-way press. The substrate or packaging material is then placed below.

Finally, a sheet of foil or dried ink is positioned between the plate and the substrate. When pressure and heat are applied the die pushes through the printing medium and transfers the design to the substrate below.

This method of relief printing has been used for almost two hundred years now. The technique began in the book publishing industry, where bookbinders used it for printing and embossing leather and paper.

After the introduction of mass-produced thermo-plastics to packaging and design, hot stamping became a popular way to print designs onto plastic surfaces.

It is now used widely across many industries, notably on cigarette packages, wine labels, luxury perfume brands, and coffee bags.

In the coffee industry, businesses are always looking for their branding to stand out in an ever more competitive market.

Hot stamping packaging is one way to achieve this. Market reports for hot stamping show a predicted compound annual growth rate of almost 6.5% for hot stamping over the next 5 years.

An image of a recycling and 100% organic logo hot stamped on kraft paper coffee packaging in an article on coffee design tips and hot stamping coffee packaging

What are the best packaging materials to use with hot stamping?

With regard to the choice of substrate packaging materials, hot stamping is a relatively forgiving process.

Notably, a reason the technique has remained popular for so long is its versatility and capacity to adapt to new preferences in packaging materials.

Hot stamping works well with kraft paper coffee bags and sleeves, flexible packaging options including polylactic acid (PLA), and cardboard coffee boxes.

The choice of colours falls within two broad categories: metallic foils or matte-dried inks. Important to note is the chosen packaging materials, as well as the aesthetic of your design, will both determine which is the appropriate choice.

For instance, for a chic minimalist design, matte inks work well when paired with natural kraft paper coffee packaging.

Alternatively, for something more adventurous or luxurious, hot stamping with metallic foils can pair well with debossed designs on custom coffee mailer boxes.

Custom coffee boxes with hot stamping have proven effective when used for limited edition runs or to promote micro-lots. The technique tends to give the product a premium feel and may contribute to justifying a higher price point.

For hot stamped foil designs that require deeper debossing, recycled cardboard boxes can be an easier substrate to work with. This is due to the physical depths achievable with the material.

As with any aspect of the design of your product and its packaging, it is important to consider the environmental implications of any changes you make.

An image of a custom printed black coffee bag made from flexible packaging materials for coffee packaging with gold hot stamping on coffee bag in an article on coffee design tips and hot stamping coffee packaging

What to consider when hot stamping coffee bags

When hot stamping coffee bags, there are a few additional considerations to bear in mind.

First would be whether the hot stamping technique is a good fit for the brand.

For instance, hot stamping can be a good alternative to fully customised printing where smaller order quantities are concerned.

More so, it can be an effective method for smaller businesses and start-ups as it tends to carry lower minimum order quantities (MQO). Therefore, the technique is able to respond more flexibly to the changing demands of your business.

Stylistically, hot stamping can accommodate fairly intricate designs. That said, it may be a less effective printing method for something like a full-coverage artist’s design.

In this respect, it lends itself better to minimalist designs, logos, and to highlight particular areas and aspects of bigger designs.

Also, maximalist designs with a big colour palette may be less suited for hot stamp printing. It is best practice to stay with one or two colours in designs destined for the hot stamp presses.

Additionally, areas where colours overlap should be kept to a minimum. This is because colours must be pressed individually and bags may be aligned differently when sent through the press for a second time.

Therefore, some margin of error should be allowed in the design.

Bear in mind, the adhesives of matte inks and metallic foils are unable to stick where any overlap occurs.

With regard to the effect of thermally applied inks and foils on plastic substrate materials, the contact times with the substrates are not long enough to compromise the integrity of good quality packaging.

From an environmental point of view, hot stamping is regarded as eco-friendly. The process itself is dry and solvent-free, which limits the use of contaminants. Plus, the foils used are fully recyclable and compostable.

This makes them compatible with MTPak Coffee’s range of sustainable packaging choices.

MTPak Coffee offers roasters and coffee shops a range of coffee packaging options made from renewable resources. 

Our line of coffee boxes is made using 100% recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made from kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.

More so, both our sustainable coffee bags and coffee mailer boxes can be fully customised to reflect your brand. Choose from design techniques that include hot stamping, UV spot finishes, and more.

Add custom-printed sleeves to our coffee mailer boxes and coffee bags, attach stickers, print QR codes, or insert labels and cards inside to enhance the experience for each and every customer.

Due to our investment in innovative and eco-friendly digital printing techniques, MTPak Coffee offers our clients a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time.

Compared to conventional printing, eco-friendly digital printing methods consume less energy and resources thanks to reduced setup costs.

We also offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.

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

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