Transforming Brands to Endure

From coffeehouse to arthouse: how artistic design influences coffee culture.

Using artistic design to differentiate and deepen your brand identity.

Our Managing Director, Claudette, recently attended the London Coffee Festival. Here, Claudette gives us a breakdown of her findings.

“The first observation I was struck by at the event is how much of an art culture seeps into the coffee category. Coffee culture has such a strong connection with personnel expression, art, clothing, music and more. Even the milk alternatives and snacks were speaking the same vibrant language. 

Why is coffee and art such a flavourful combination, and what can other categories and brands learn from it?

For starters, coffee is no ordinary beverage. For regular coffee drinkers, it’s almost medicinal. I, for one, simply can’t get through the day without it. Perhaps it’s partly because I feel like coffee understands me, especially now that I’ve dialed in my ideal flavour profile and brew strength. And, of course, there’s the adrenaline rush of joy I feel when I’m fueled with caffeine.

Plus, there is an inclusivity in coffee culture. For most coffee brands, there’s nothing fancy or highbrow about it, like you find with some teas. It’s more about the appreciation for the bean, the roasting and the process. And there is a flavour profile for everyone, so no matter who you are, you can find the perfect pour.

It’s also fascinating how coffee cultures vary across the world. For Italians, consuming coffee is to converse with a barista at a local bar. Fika is Swedish tradition, where you take time out of your day to pause and enjoy a good cup of kaffi. Fika is a ritual that’s important in Swedish culture, giving yourself a moment to have a break and socialize. Germans follow a similar cultural tradition of kaffeeklatsch that involves consuming coffee while being mindful at a specific time of day.

American coffee culture is associated with speed and quantity more so than relaxation and enjoyment. Contrary to the origins of coffee culture as a conversation stimulator, coffee has evolved into human gasoline, with Americans drinking an average of three 9-oz. cups of coffee per day.

And Coffee consumption is starting at a younger age. A Mintel study found that while adults 35 years or older reported first drinking coffee somewhere between ages 18 and 20, younger consumers start much earlier: consumers currently aged 18-24 first start drinking coffee at an average age of 15. Which means, Gen Z, who is tech-savvy, socially conscious, and effortlessly unconventional, is forcing coffeemakers to be more crafty and creative with a focus on inclusivity.

With coffee serving such an important role in our lives, it stands to reason that its branding needs to work harder to connect with consumers on a deeper level. It therefore makes total sense to infuse art into a coffee’s brand identity so it becomes more than just a product on a shelf, but an actual form of self-expression.

Here are some characteristics of coffee artistic design that all brands could benefit from:

1. Drink in the unexpected – Good coffee is like good art – it captures our imagination and inspires us in unexpected ways. Packaging that feels fresh and unique enlivens our senses, just like a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. So, there’s a profound synergy between what’s on the outside of the package and the contents on the inside.

2. Pour your heart and soul into it – Even for American coffee drinkers who are guzzling on the go, they still want to know that there’s craft and care in every cup. By being thoughtful and artful with package design, it illustrates to consumers that you dwell on every last detail.

3. Make flavor fashionable – While you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can judge a brand. When competing for a consumer’s attention, looks matter. And the brands with the best artistic design style, along with some very tasty substance, are the ones that get noticed. So, it’s important to make a brand both flavorful and fashionable.

For brands who wish to contrast as well as connect with consumers, a good cup of coffee can be a tasty source of inspiration. Not only can it help facilitate a team brainstorming session, it can also help illustrate how to be artful and mindful in building your brand identity through packaging. Brands should lean on the unexpected in order to stand out, give the perception of craft and care, and fundamentally look good enough to wear!”

– Claudette Munroe, Managing Director

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