The art of customising to go cups

Tori Taylor
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January 5, 2024
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Despite the gradual transition towards a more digital and automated world, branded to go cups have remained a highly effective advertising method. Custom takeaway coffee cups help café owners and roasters establish recognition within their market audience. 

A branded takeaway cup is essentially a free advertisement for any coffee business – one that can help bring in new customers and sell more coffee. A consistent brand style and colour palette across coffee bags and takeaway cups can ensure consumers recognise your product. This, in turn, helps increase repeat sales and boost profit margins.

Thoughtful, simple designs on takeaway coffee cups can go a long way in getting your brand message across to consumers without overwhelming them. 

I spoke to several specialty coffee professionals to learn more about the subtle art of customising to go cups.

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Branded to go cups: An essential part of your business

Originally, disposable cups were viewed solely as a way of carrying beverages on the go. Now, they have become an art form, an essential marketing tool, and a way to build brand identity. As specialty coffee has become increasingly popular, cafés have transformed into social hubs that exude creativity. 

Art and design have become major factors in branding and marketing. Everything from the type of materials used to create the cups to the artistic appeal of their design can mirror a brand’s identity and business goals.

For instance, modern takeaway cups are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. Furthermore, the majority are now made from sustainable materials which are recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable, ensuring they appeal to a growing number of eco-conscious consumers

Michael Craig, the CEO of Creature Coffee Co. admits investing in sustainable packaging materials can be more expensive, but believes it is worth it. “I think if more companies decide to make that investment, they can help push the boundaries a little bit more as well,” he says. “I hope one day we can switch everything over to be fully sustainable or biodegradable.”

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What to consider when customising to go cups

Creature Coffee Co. use compostable paper cups and recyclable clear takeaway coffee cups. “We use paper cups for all of our hot beverages, while our clear takeaway coffee cups are often used for iced americano, cold brew, and iced lattes,” says Michael. 

The brand’s paper takeaway coffee cups are available in three sizes, and all are custom-printed. The larger cups feature two graphics holding hands, with the white, yellow, and pink designs popping off a bright blue background. Creature Coffee Co.’s clear takeaway coffee cups feature the same illustration in white, with the phrase ‘Let’s be friends’ across the top.

“We wanted our brand to be recognised when we went out,” Michael explains. “The design on our clear cups is quite prominent when the cup is full. He adds that the quality of the mil the brand uses, alongside the coffee it provides, is high-end. “Therefore, we wanted the branding on the cup to look like it is high-quality yet professional, while still being fun and cute.”

Carlos Santana, senior graphic designer for Perfect Daily Grind explains that branding takeaway coffee cups and even in-store mugs can be an effective way to propagate a brand. In doing so, businesses can create an identity for themselves, making them easily recognisable for consumers and within the larger consumer market.

“Consider your takeaway coffee cups as portable mini billboards, helping deliver a simple message that can be more effective in the near term,” Carlos explains. He adds that personalisation on go cups is an extremely important value-driven advertising method that can increase brand awareness. “Logos and colour palettes, in addition to being able to include relevant information about the company through QR codes, for instance, can help a business reach more people.” 

When customers recognise a roaster’s branding, they’re more inclined to trust it over brands they’ve not tried before. With a staggering 93% of consumers reportedly focusing on visual appearance when buying a product, a roaster’s choice in colour must be a smart one.

“Our colour palettes are clean, vibrant and minimal,” explains Chandre Combrink, the marketing, business development, and brand lead at Bean There Coffee Company. “This gives our brand the perception of the quality befitting our product.”

“Our coffee originates from six different countries and each of the varieties has a unique lino print artwork on the bag,” she explains. “These designs represent the topography of the region within that country. The patterns are distinct from each other and yet striking on their own.”

The brand’s takeaway coffee cups, like its coffee packaging, are white in colour. The brand name sits along the top, while black lino print artwork encompasses the bottom. This simple design makes the takeaway coffee cups instantly recognisable as being part of the Bean There brand. 

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Investing in sustainable takeaway coffee cups

When designing takeaway coffee cups, specialty coffee roasters must invest in materials that can hold ink well, both for hot and cold beverages. Ideally, disposable cups must be durable, high-quality, and sustainable to lower the direct impact they can have on the environment. 

As it is likely the cups will be disposed of within minutes, coffee roasters and cafes must use this time to impart essential information about the brand. More so, consumers must be able to dispose of the cups in an environmentally-friendly way.

As with any aspect of your product and packaging design, it is important that environmental concerns are addressed. Therefore, using water-based inks and recyclable materials is essential. You can also choose to engage customers by customising your takeaway coffee cups with tips on how to extend their life and utility beyond their original purpose.

At MTPak Coffee, we have the expertise to provide business owners and coffee roasters with disposable cups made from high-quality materials that are kind to the environment. Our range of sustainable takeaway coffee cups is made from recyclable materials such as bamboo fibre, PET, or kraft paper with an environmentally friendly PLA lining and are available in different sizes: 4 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz. 

Our takeaway coffee cups are strong, waterproof, lightweight, and 100% compostable. Beyond this, they can be custom-designed using innovative digital printing technology to feature your brand logo, QR codes, or recycling instructions. 

Our use of digital printing allows us to offer customers a quick turnaround and shipping time. This allows us to offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) of packaging, no matter what size or material.

Images courtesy of Creature Coffee Co. and Bean There Coffee Company

For more information on customising to go cups, contact our team. 

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