Coffee Bar Packaging | Inside an Agency’s Packaging Design Process

July 25, 2019 posted by



everyone welcome back to our channel my name is Nicole and I'm a senior graphic designer here at farm design and my name is Erin I am the creative director here at fawn up to this point we've shared a lot of high-level growth mindsets and foundational lessons and thanks to your feedback in the comments section today we're actually gonna focus on a little bit more of a deeper dive into our creative process so if you don't know us here at farm design we create brand systems and this trickles into a lot of different categories but today we're gonna specifically talk about the CPG space do people know what cpgs CPG did you know what it was when you first or not at all I didn't either but for those of you don't know it's consumer packaged goods yes and here we work with a lot of clients large and small and they range from existing clients that need further development new brands that need to be built from the ground up or existing brands that just need a complete refresh and another brand that we worked with recently that we had a lot of fun with is Big Island Coffee Roasters which I think is a perfect case study for today's episode I think it'll help illustrate the a to the Z on how we took a brand from even onboarding them as a client to do when the create a discovery and even to eventually delivering the mechanicals so we have a lot to impact so I don't know where to begin this process what do you think I mean I think the best place to start is probably getting to know the client so let's start there we're able to get a lot of our clients through basically just technology we put out a lot of our content on portfolio sites our website social media and this really attracts a lot of people and a lot of potential clients on a global stage typically they find us there because there's something that they are attracted to they will then typically email sometimes it's a phone call and it's my job as the business owner is sort of get through these it's sort of weed out the sort of high you versus low value clients in this case I got an email from Kelly from Big Island coffee roasters it was very simple very succinct it was straightforward about their current challenges with their existing product and they were looking for a branding agency to help them so after we do some high-level research on the client and we get a sense of debt there is something that we might be interested in I like to set up a call my goal is I want to understand three things but I call the three P's the three P's are people portfolio and profit obviously the first thing I want to understand is who they are is people understand what their belief system is and what their vision is and is it something that we can get really sort of excited about working with the second is I want to understand about the project itself can it potentially be a portfolio piece something that we can get really excited about and third is obviously we need to talk about budget and that's the profit aspect of it so I want to make sure that we have at least two out of the three in order for us to consider them as a client really the golden unicorn is getting all three and I will never accept a project that has just won once we determine it's a project that we're really interested in we like to set up an in-person meeting in this case Kelly and Brandon they're located in twice so we couldn't meet up so this is pretty common so we'll set up a video conference call and our goal is again is just to sort of introduce ourselves get to know them better and capture this sort of high-level insight on the project before we go to the next stage about eight years ago in 2010 we found a farm on Craigslist for sale and we were going to we were looking for a farm anywhere in well really in Oregon but we found this one it wasn't ye it seemed a lot better than farming carrots and cabbage and it was a abandon their ability to farm so we met the owners and we got along really well with them and we decided to really decided to sell the farm to us and we moved to Hawaii basically so over the course of the next couple of years we taught ourselves how to farm coffee and really tried to clean up the place water stops under Roasting Company process and within a couple of years two and a half we won the statewide championship or Grand Champion in the Hawaii I actually wasn't even a coffee drinker for having a coffee farm which is a little ironic really the objective for the our first meeting is nothing very prescriptive we come in very open minded we really want to just be able to diagnose and understand what their challenges are what their pain points are using coffee instead of chocolate in a bar and we didn't really think that it was going to go anywhere like everything it was just like something that we were playing around with well as friends of ours got their hands on it it was like they got they were so me a lot of these and like to develop this further the bar that we have now is a prototype that we're just we're playing around with um but I hesitate with the design because I don't know the Hawaii that feels so close to us will translate to people if they see the bar in New York if they're going to understand what the borer what the bore is um we're really I mean the current packaging right now is us just kind of taking our best crack at it and it's not very good yeah we're pretty cognizance is that so with the video call Nicola and I were able to ask Kelly and Brandon some some high-level questions to just start the conversation and get a better understanding what their needs are they were really content with what they were doing with the coffee but they wanted to explore new possibilities with communicating the uniqueness of this espresso bar so through this call we were able to capture a lot of the sort of pain points and challenges that they had with the current packaging and so here are the four things that we learned and that was sort of the lens that we're gonna look through as we try to solve this problem number one is that the consumer for having a hard time understanding that this is a coffee product not a chocolate product second they really wanted to tell the Hawaii origin story this is something that is really true and authentic to their brand and it's also that really unique thing that consumers are attracted to third because they already had an existing roasted coffee product they already had some brand legacy they had a logo they have some colors and they wanted to try to retain as much of that as possible in the repackage of this coffee bar and lastly number four they wanted to elevate the perception of their product they wanted this to be perceived as a premium product that can appeal to boutique stores long story short we decided that it would be great fit and we're gonna share with you how it all went down once we verbally engage with the client and better understand the task at hand and some of their challenges we will then also provide a brand questionnaire to ask about their brand essence and to tie up any loose ends of things that we might have missed in the phone call there shouldn't be a super strict formula for your brand questionnaire we believe that every client is different and we need to ask curated questions based on those clients needs we want to capture as much insight as possible and to do that we kind of think of ourselves as design therapists our clients have all the answers that we need we just need to ask the right questions so once we have an understanding of the project and the task at hand before we just run off to the races we like to internally strategize and figure out what our first moves are before even beginning the creative process what this does is it helps us to not spin our wheels too much at the beginning of a project and gives us a solid foundation to work off of we like to assess what are we trying to accomplish and what are the objectives what is the essence of the brand and what are those sort of key descriptors and what are the main points of communication these really act as our guardrails for when we are in the creative discovery stage okay now we're off to the races the creative stage can be a really magical time but it can also be a really frustrating time because you can't just press a button to come up with the perfect idea everything we've done up to this point from engaging with the client and a blushing objectives and figuring out those points of communication this is all measurable and data specific while every designers creative process is a little bit different there are some common practices that we all use as a team to really streamline our process I'm gonna take you through five different stages of our creative process that we use to come up with solid design directions for our clients step number one is to collect information once we have a good understanding of the brief each designer will do their own conceptual and visual research a trick that we always do for packaging design is what we call a packaging skeleton this is where we take that absolute plain pieces that we know such as the dimensions of the form factor the main points of communication and we create this basic skeleton using strictly a neutral font such as Gotham art Helvetica and we only use grayscale tones it only takes a couple of minutes to lay out these basic plane pieces but it's gonna save you so much time in the long run through this process we are looking for things to help spark ideas we look up visual inspiration in design references that capture some of the aesthetic that we are aiming for oftentimes our clients will actually provide us a Pinterest board of things that they like so a lot of that legwork is already done for us it's important to not just capture references of other designs conceptual research is just as important in this case there is a lot to research in regards to the Hawaiian lifestyle we looked up things like the local flora and fauna Hawaiian folklore and even some of the history of coffee in the Hawaiian region so once we have collected enough conceptual and visual inspiration our next step is to do quick sprints in this stage we are intentionally not trying to make anything perfect we like to do an exercise that we call Frankenstein's this is where we take some of the inspirations that we have pulled and mask it out into the form factor that we are using this process allows us to uncover some things that are working or not working and it gives us a better sense of directions that we should further develop a really important reminder is that we are not intending to copy other designs is there something that you're really liking about a design is important to understand what are the basics of it and how can you make it in a new and unique way you'll notice that at this stage we aren't focusing on designing a logo we carry existing marks as placeholders so we can assess what style of logo feels right at a later stage we will then design a logo with similar characteristics to preserve time in a really short time we are able to generate a lot of concepts but before we get too far along in the process we like to bring in our creative director to help share his creative insight and help us weed out some of the concepts that aren't working so show me where you are sort get me up to speed on what you've uncovered and what you waiting discovered this farm so at this stage it's all about just looking high level what are the possibilities so I like to have a lot of discussions with the designers on their vision on the certain moves that they've made and I'm looking at it through my eyes through the understanding what I heard from the clients what their challenges are and what is the end goal and how we can bridge that gap and so I met sort of that that that sounding board that allows them to sort of get closer to the end result so these first two boards are kind of looking at this sense of like landscape and Hawaii so I'll just point like sort of imagery and just kind of more expressive graphic looks this one I was looking at something a little bit more like simplified and just simple shapes I see a lot of shapes that start to pique my interest so from your first board here though I like a couple of these the way they look aesthetically like this is a tan one here with the mosaic or of visuals it's appealing at first the organic nature of those shapes is a little challenging to read I don't know if I would be as memorable if I saw it yeah in a retail the second or third time I don't know if I would remember that I like that there's something simple starting to happen I think you're getting some of the you're even using some of the brand colors that they have I think those are some legacy aspects that makes sense to me mm-hmm so I see shape I see color so I think there's some some elements that start to pull over there I think through conversations at this stage that we can challenge each other and we can see what works or doesn't work it's what I call compare and contrast it's the compare and contrasting talking through it allows us to find why things are working or just as importantly why things aren't working is the pig's name Poona or Pele its Peggy's name is Poonam they're also in the Puna region of oh boy yep oh I think that's where they got genius so I think it makes even more sense having the pig because I think the region is called Puna mm-hmm I think I have this idea kind of like having a merge between that volcano and the head I know currently their logo is kind of just the entire like whores body I don't know if we make that more Connick and does have like I think iconic is I like it I like the head-on version the symmetry of that better than this site right version I'm wonder if you can sort of merged those two together somehow you have instead of the bore being separate from the volcano story could you merge those two somehow yeah yes so maybe there has like a visual double entendre yeah something hidden I think makes it more memorable and interesting I think the uniqueness comes from the designers exploring the unlikely juxtaposition of different references or different elements and I think that is the key in and keeping your creative process very open because it's not prescriptive we're not really knowing what the outcome is going to be we are intentionally just being very open-minded and just throwing stuff against the wall so once you spend time executing these quick sprints before we make anything look super polished we like to have a group critique to figure out which directions we should pursue so these are the concepts that Nicole and Christine will work in on so basically just want to get everyone's opinion on what you think's working or is not working here you're assessing if the concepts are heading in the right direction we're discussing to see if there are any other holes that remaining to dick and we're also assessing if we have a good range of concepts in the end we'll end up showing probably four to six concepts and it's important that we have a good spectrum of designs within the parameters of the creative brief so after our team huddle we will then break out and further develops the directions that we picked during that critique if we're aiming to present four concepts to the client we will actually have six to eight concepts that we are dialing in just to make sure that we have our bases covered so we've been running this marathon race trying to get our concept just right for our client we settled on these four directions to our team that was super excited about so now that we've settled on our final concepts this stage is all about dialing in those details and figuring out a presentation to best convey our designs to the client with packaging we make sure to mock it up on a render to make it look as realistic as possible context is always key to telling a story so we like to pair our design with lifestyle imagery to bring it all to life the presentation should always be intuitive enough to the point where if you aren't there to talk about your work the presentation can do enough of the talking to showcase itself so I was pretty happy with with their end results yeah and we knew that because we were presenting this via a video to them why we really wanted to keep it simple and that's because we were there really walk them through it and we're really just trying to capture the brand essence and through colors and imagery and different flavor schemes mm-hmm and I think right away when we presented this to them there's there's that sort of that excitement but there's that anxiety right from the very first presentation that we got the sort of the cues from the client that they're really excited just from concept number one so that was sort of like from me it was like a big sort of yeah they were super excited about that one and then when concept to came up they were like oh this might be the one to I don't know so there's a really cool to see that excitement from them do we tell them which one they picked can you guess here the four concepts which one do you think you would pick they went with open the envelope they went with concept number one number one so they picked concept number one and they surprisingly didn't have a lot of edits with it and so sort of segues into sort of the next stage on the process so now that we've presented our first round of concepts to the client we now enter the Edit stage we always outline the amount of Edit stages in our proposal to keep everyone on schedule on budget and to manage expectations oftentimes our clients edits can be interpreted in a lot of different ways so we have this philosophy that in order to get to the truth you have to ask a question three times we really try to understand where our client is coming from throughout this whole process and really Shepherd that dialogue sometimes our client wants to merge elements from different concepts together for example they want to use the logo from concept one in the package from concepts three and it is that our job to assess if these moves make sense or if their requests are ridiculous and don't make sense so while we're implementing these edits from our client we're also trying to think two steps ahead at this point we start to build a relationship with the print vendor just to understand their capabilities and if there's any print techniques that we can use to really elevate the packaging to its highest potential so earlier in this video Erin and I discussed how we create brand systems and this is really important because we never just design a logo and we never just designed the front of a package we design a system that allows us to scale to other touch points within a brand oftentimes we're also designing multiple flavor SKUs chase packs sales sheets tradeshow booths a website and the list goes on so upon the completion of a project we will then follow up with our client just to get some feedback and see if they are happy with the result that is just people love it and it's a little piece of art in the design I mean it it really catches your attention is your even walking behind the aisle that it's sitting on you can just see it pop out there with the blue or the red yeah it's been great like especially Expo s2 we had plenty of people just stop just so they can take a picture of it didn't even care what it was they just wanted to stop it enough like we had a lot of design folk actually do that but they just come back stop whoa pull out their camera your pull out their phone and take a photo book I'd really like that yes thank you what is the final result yes good job Congrats so yeah that's the process of how we got to redesigning Big Island coffee roasters I think you guys crushed it it's something that I'm really proud of yeah and I think it illustrates what I mentioned earlier in the video is it's about people and working with Brandon and Kelly it was it was just a real joy the entire process was really smooth and seamless and they were really stoked in the end and the second part is I think this is something that I'm really proud of the project that we could put in our portfolio and I think it's gonna be getting more work it's definitely a feather in our cap and something I'm really really happy for and even though the budget wasn't fair we had 2 out of the 3 p's that's all that matters we're all happy so that's the process how to design package yeah that was a lot of information so if you liked it be sure to drop a like below for any future content ideas or anything else that you'd like to see from us comment below like to join our tribe hit subscribe and you know what as always life is better when you do good work you

21 Comments

21 Replies to “Coffee Bar Packaging | Inside an Agency’s Packaging Design Process”

  1. Ricardo Monteiro says:

    Amazing work!

  2. Jon Bradie says:

    What a great how-to! Understanding the processes you use helps me adapt my own client processes. I paused this video with the four concepts up, did my own audit, and came to concept 1 as well. Funny, I also liked concept 4 as well because of the dynamic tension created by the flush left text in the bottom third: it really moved my eye! I’ve really been enjoying your series top to bottom. Keep on doing good work! –JB

  3. Monde Marafane says:

    Life is definitely better when you #dogoodwork
    This is a great insight, so valuable and it's a different approach to what I'm used to.

    Great work guys!

  4. Edie Norfazlin says:

    hai farm design i love your video.. can u make a video a deep more about packaging skalation, quick sprints, further development ( i see one of the designer on specials paper, i want to know what is the proses, what tools that you use and what webside that you use to make a design) and how to make a nise presentation…

  5. Myxlpltx says:

    Really great in depth video on Farm Design's process from picking a client (that fits), rough drafts, to mockups, refining, then client presentation. I'm curious to see what it looks like when things happen to go wrong (because they will) and how the team deals with that. Keep up the "good work"

  6. Godwin Njoroge says:

    I knew this would be a really deep dive so I just pinned the tab and left it for when I had some proper time to focus. So glad I did. I'm at 8:44 and I keep pausing to learn more from your questionnaires. Thanks for sharing guys

  7. Jakub Jezovic says:

    Love seeing your process, thank you for sharing it with us!

  8. Ognjen Rankovic says:

    WOW! Thanks, guys! I am right at the beginning of branding/packaging project, biggest I got the chance to work on, so far! Really perfect timing to see this, much appreciated!

    Keep up the Good Work

  9. Pascal Bakari says:

    Aaron and Farm Design team, thank you so much for sharing your process with us! Now I have to go apply all this knowledge and #dogoodwork to make you all proud Thank you 🙏🏾

  10. Sophie Cowell says:

    So fantastic! Really appreciate the insight into a packaging project lifetime.

  11. jasonmoss says:

    Such a great video. Please continue to show more like this.

  12. mahmoud hassan says:

    Really great video and in depth tips , i want to ask how much time does the whole process take?

  13. cotey bucket says:

    So fun and inspiring. My biggest dream is finding a home at a place like Farm. Thanks for sharing so much great information and your infectious enthusiasm for the work 😀

  14. Luanna Correia says:

    Thank you SO much! This is incredibly helpful and valuable, I'm excited for more content like this!

  15. Matthew Encina says:

    Great work team!

  16. Eddy says:

    This is a dream project. The result is amazing. Thanks for sharing your secrets. The frankenstein part was really interesting. Keep it up guys

  17. m & m says:

    Great TEAM work! Awesome results, all of them. Congrats Nicole.
    Thanks for letting me know more about your process. I just got very energized after this video. (Can it be because of the Coffee bar???) I would love to know more about your resources like stock photos, mockups you used, etc. In our domain when it comes to learning, nothing is too much. Looking forward to the next experience w/ you. Ciao!

  18. Byron Ho says:

    This video was a real treat! I love being able to see just how many concepts that you came up with in Quick Sprints Stage. Definitely showed me that one of my biggest weaknesses is my efficiency in creating concepts and digging many holes. Something I have to get better at. Thanks for the amazing content as always !

  19. Mounir Elogbani says:

    Really thank you for this valuable info, even paid courses don't have all of this priceless tips. You deserve the best because you are the best 🙂

  20. Justin Roy says:

    Nicely done! I really like the stage where you did greyscale skeletons of the layouts of the packaging. Did your team sketch out the layouts or just went straight into illustrator to create the skeleton layouts?

  21. Ivan Anđelović says:

    Thanks for sharing this guys! It was awesome to follow the process, and also, great speech and explanation by Nicole 🙂

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