Coffee bag design: Effective ways to use spot varnish on coffee bags

Hayley Osbourne
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April 13, 2023
A custom printed coffee bag featuring spot varnish packaging finish, in an article on spot varnish on coffee bags

Several studies show the visual elements of coffee packaging play a significant role in a consumer’s decision to purchase. Furthermore, a recent study reveals a cluttered packaging design may dissuade consumers from buying a product. 

Within the specialty coffee industry, several roasters choose to use unique packaging finishes to attract customers and increase sales. A popular finish is spot varnish, which involves applying a clear, shiny coating to the coffee bag. 

Spot varnish can help a packaging design stand out on the coffee bag while preventing smudges and fingerprints from compromising the aesthetic. More so, it can help draw the consumers’ attention to a specific aspect of the coffee packaging, such as the brand’s logo. 

Discover the most effective ways to use spot varnish on coffee bags to increase brand recognition and boost sales. 

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Spot varnish options to enhance coffee packaging design

Spot varnish is a useful packaging finish that brings attention to a particular area of coffee packaging. For example, it can help accentuate a logo, the typography, or highlight a specific design. 

Roasters and coffee shops have the choice of several forms of spot varnish for their packaging. A popular technique is spot UV, which is the application of a clear, shiny coating to particular areas of a design. The finish is often sealed with UV light that dries it instantly. 

Light bounces off the sealed portions of the packaging, which is a highly effective way to capture consumer attention. Spot UV is often considered a more subtle way to attract customers. Furthermore, the finish gives coffee packaging a high-end appeal, helping to heighten the perceived value of the product to the customers. 

Spot UV can also help draw a customer’s attention to important information the roaster wishes to highlight. For instance, Sunday Coffee Roasters uses spot UV on its coffee bags to draw attention to the tasting notes. As a result, customers are instantly drawn in by the flavours of the beans, as this is the most important information the roasters want to convey. 

Blind spot UV refers to applying gloss over the background without following a printed shape. This technique on coffee bags is another way to ensure the packaging has a high-end appeal, as the design is less common than other techniques. 

Alternatively, sandpaper spot UV is similar to both blind spot and spot gloss UV, except it provides a rough texture rather than one that is smooth and glossy. This technique could be beneficial to roasters or coffee shops that prefer to use eco-friendly packaging materials and promote a sustainable lifestyle.

A recent study by Meyers found 83% of consumers are willing to pay more for products with sustainable packaging. In light of this, roasters can afford to raise prices to be in line with what consumers are willing to pay. 

Another alternative is glitter varnish. However, it is highly recommended that roasters look at their target audience and brand ethos when deciding whether glitter varnish would be suitable for their packaging. This is because the finish can provide a more obvious effect than other spot UV techniques. 

That said, glitter varnish may create more appeal and gain increased initial interest than other, more demure techniques. For instance, a roastery offering a seasonal coffee, such as over the Christmas period, may use glitter spot varnish to highlight elements of the packaging design, such as a reindeer or wording.

This technique can help attract attention from customers in-store who may often automatically associate glitter with Christmas decorations. In turn, this could lead to further sales and improved brand awareness. 

An image of a custom printed coffee bag with a spot UV finish highlighting the coffee bag design in an article on spot varnish on coffee bags

Spot varnish: a barrier against environmental factors in coffee packaging?

Notably, spot varnish on coffee bags could provide an additional environmental barrier between the beans and external elements. As the varnish is so versatile, it can be applied to a variety of different materials, such as paper and multilayer bioplastics. 

Coffee packaging is a high-touch product, which means it is handled often along the delivery chain and smudges and fingerprints can tarnish the design. Spot UV can help prevent that, as well as offer the beans additional protection against potential sunlight and water damage. 

As a varnish is essentially an additional layer in the packaging process, it can further protect coffee beans from oxidation, which causes them to lose scent and flavour.

An image of two custom printed coffee bags with pot varnish finishes on coffe packaging in an article on spot varnish on coffee bags

Deciding which spot varnish is best for your coffee bags 

When deciding on the best spot varnish to use on coffee bags, it’s recommended roasters consider factors such as texture. Touch is important to the human psyche, as research shows a consumer is likely to want to touch a product once it has caught their attention. 

Should they like the texture, the consumer is more likely to further associate that texture with the brand, helping improve brand awareness. While the above covers varnish finishes with glossy and sandpaper textures, there are other options available, such as wood and cloth.

Consider the brand look and feel

It is essential to differentiate whether adding a varnish means a simple upgrade of the current design or a complete redesign, as this will determine the packaging costs. Regardless, it is important the varnish choice ties in with the brand’s design, which is a reflection of its ethos. 

For example, if the brand is a promoter of sustainable living, the design should correlate with an eco-friendly lifestyle. Additionally, it is important the design speaks to the roaster’s target audience. By using tools such as social media channels, a roastery can deduce who its largest clientele is. 

These tools can help roasters determine the age and gender of their customers, as well as display data on which products receive the most attention. Based on these findings, roasters can adjust designs to appeal to their largest customer base. 

Packaging materials

When using spot varnish on coffee bags, roasters must ensure the packaging materials are suitable for UV spot varnish. Materials chosen to package coffee should ensure the beans are kept fresh while allowing carbon dioxide to exit without allowing oxygen to enter. 

The materials should also be environment-proof and able to avoid wear and tear when in transit. Consumers are becoming more and more eco-conscious. Studies have shown they are willing to pay more for packaging made from recyclable and biodegradable or compostable materials. 

MTPak Coffee understands the need to offer high-quality, attractive coffee packaging that is also sustainable. 

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

Our coffee bags and coffee boxes can be customised to reflect your brand’s characteristics, as well as vital information about your product.

MTPak Coffee offers a wide range of customisation techniques, including spot UV with a glossy, satin, or matte finish, embossing and debossing, as well as hot foil stamping in a variety of colours, to name a few.

We also offer our clients a quick turnaround time of 40 hours and 24-hour shipping time in addition to low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for those looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to the environment.

For more information on custom finishes for your coffee packaging, contact our team

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Hayley Osbourne
Hayley Osbourne

Hayley is a writer for MTPak Coffee and is very passionate about her craft.

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