Showcasing custom coffee bags: Last chance to enter the MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards

Holly Szakal
January 1, 2024
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Coffee packaging has a dual challenge: it’s designed to protect the beans but must also entice consumers to buy the product. Therefore, eye-catching custom coffee bags can help raise brand awareness and ensure your product stands out while attracting new customers.

Essentially, your coffee bags should inform consumers about how the company started, what it represents, and what it stands for. Alternatively, it can help convey the entire journey of the coffee from seed to cup. 

The imagery and design used on coffee bags can be one of the most effective ways to relay this information to consumers. Images on coffee bags can reflect not only flavour notes but also the coffee origins or the culture of the region from which it was sourced.

The MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards was created to celebrate the artistry behind custom coffee bags. As the competition draws to a close, I spoke to several specialty coffee roasters about the power of custom coffee packaging. 

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The power of investing in custom coffee bags

In a recent study by the Paper and Packaging Board, 72% of consumers say a product’s packaging design influenced their purchasing decisions. Packaging design is a critical component of any coffee brand’s marketing strategy. While the bag itself plays a crucial role in keeping the product fresh, its design communicates a brand’s aesthetic and personality.

As the specialty coffee industry continues to boom, coffee bag design has emerged as a valid form of art for the modern world. Coffee bags have become canvases: allowing brands to partner with local artists, draw attention to important environmental causes, and promote transparency in the specialty coffee sector.

Studies into packaging design and marketing have found that 85% of consumers believe colour is the primary driving force behind their decisions to buy a product. According to a report by KISSMetrics, the colour of packaging may shape perceptions of a company and its values and help build brand recognition.

For example, Coastal Coffee Roasters based in Summerville, US, have bright red coffee bags to showcase its playful and personable side while paying homage to what matters personally to the team. Richard Mallett, the brand’s director of coffee explains the choice to use red was a sign of respect for a long-admired family business that used the colour. “And it doesn’t hurt that red is a power colour,” he adds. 

Several studies indicate each colour holds significant psychological meanings to consumers, and red is possibly one of the most powerful. Passion, power, and energy are all persuasive tropes the colour red represents. Therefore, it is likely that many consumers will immediately make the connection between the colour and these associations.

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The benefits of custom coffee packaging: What do roasters say? 

The use of custom coffee bags can be highly beneficial for coffee roasters and cafes. Custom coffee packaging can be tailored to the brand and product, making it instantly recognisable and alluring to customers.

Charlie Wicker, the owner of Trailhead Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. explains his views on how the outer packaging reflects those who make the beans inside. “I think coffee packaging has always been a reflection of the producer, he says. “Custom packaging that reflects what you are doing in the coffee space is often the only way to communicate with a potential customer. Conveying your message with an elegant, thoughtful design that resonates will drive coffee drinkers to your brand.”

Gefen Skolnick, the founder of Couplet Coffee, tends to agree. “We’re big on being bright, colourful, and funkier than people are used to,” she explains. “That instinct in the early days ended up being very true, as more people seem to pick it up on shelves across the US,” she adds. Couplet Coffee uses holographic coffee bags to emphasise vibrant colours and a much funkier style than what is typically seen in the specialty coffee industry. 

A holographic finish on coffee bags is essentially a striking design technique that provides a 3-dimensional effect. It is often achieved through the use of specialised holographic film or foil which is applied to the surface of the coffee bag.

Crafting visually appealing branding elements for coffee packaging involves a strategic design approach that aligns with the brand’s overall identity.

Alicia Steyn, the owner of Sorcery Coffee Roasters in Pretoria, South Africa, explains how photographs she took while travelling through West Africa inspired the brand’s coffee packaging design. 

“I’ve always had a deep love for Africa and its rich history. I knew there was a lot of potential, design-wise, with a West African theme. The design of our current coffee packaging is a collage of photographs I took on my travels in West Africa. Each one holds incredible sentimental value to me.” Sorcery’s custom-printed coffee boxes feature photographs that showcase the unique cultures of the region. The photographs incorporate the scenery of the region, as well as locals in traditional dress. 

“I knew that in order for us to stand out in the saturated specialty coffee market, our packaging would be essential,” Alicia explains. “It’s the first impression a customer has and what attracts them to pay attention to the product. I think it’s common knowledge that packaging sets the tone and can influence a customer’s perception of a product without them having to sample it.”

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Submit your custom coffee bag design and WIN!

If you believe that your coffee bag design is the cream of the crop, and effectively draws in your customers, we encourage you to submit your entry into the MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards

“At MTPak Coffee, we help create thousands of bespoke coffee packaging designs. We wanted to give our clients, and other specialty coffee roasters around the world, an opportunity to showcase the artistry of their packaging,” says brand founder, Mark Zhou. 

The overall winner of the 2023 MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards will win $5,000 cash to continue building their business and setting an example for the coffee industry. Alternatively, the winner can opt for $15,000 in credit that can be redeemed on MTPak Coffee packaging and cups.

The winner and all finalists will also receive the coveted MTPak Coffee Packaging Design seal as an acknowledgement of their success. This seal can be added to your coffee bags, marketing materials, and website to highlight your packaging’s honoured position. 

Applications for the awards are open to specialty coffee roasters from around the world. Entries for the competition will close at 11.59PM on 2 January 2024. Entries for the MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards are restricted to one entry per person. 

In order to be considered for the prize, entrants must please fill in the entry form in its entirety. Entrants must include 3 images with their entry. All images must be uploaded in JPG form. 

Submit your entry now!

For more information on custom coffee bags, contact our team

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Holly Szakal
Holly Szakal

Holly Szakal is a Melbourne-based copy and content writer and is deeply immersed in her city's vibrant specialty coffee culture. She infuses the rich aromas of the specialty coffee scene by delivering compelling narratives on the industry's current events.

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