We’re fresh off a truly invigorating, inspiring, and paradigm-shifting inaugural go-round of the Sprudge Design Awards, a new platform initiative from Sprudge dedicated to celebrating excellence in the field of coffee design. But our abiding interest in coffee design is a year-round affair, and today as part of the recurring Coffee Design feature series we’re taking a closer look at the work of Olympia Coffee Roasting Company. Their work was honored as a finalist in this year’s event, and we wanted to learn more about the intentionality and design voice offered by these inspiring works of coffee art.
To learn more we spoke with the team at Olympia Coffee Roasting Company.
Hello Olympia Coffee! Tell us more about who designed this exciting new packaging?
We approached S&Co., a international design and branding agency with their headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia, to help us out with the packaging designs. In turn, they brought on illustrator Jonathan Calugi to incorporate custom artwork for the new bags.
When did the new design launch?
The design launched in October 2023 across our 12oz coffee bags. Our large-format bags are still in the works, as are a new flight of single-use cups and other retail collateral. Those will likely roll out early in 2024.
How long did the design process take?
To be honest, we went through two full rounds of design to arrive at the packaging we launched with in October. We started the conversation with S&Co. in late July of 2022, and they guided us through a beautiful brand ideation process from start to finish. Ultimately, it was one of those situations where we had to arrive at a fully fleshed-out idea in order to realize it simply wasn’t for us. So we closed out that round and went right back to S&Co. for another round. And the results are now sitting on our shelves.
All in all, S&Co. handed the final designs over to us back in April of 2023, close to eight months after kickoff. The rest of the year was spent working with TricorBraun Flex to get the bags production-ready.
What were some of the goals for the new look?
One of the biggest goals we had going into this was streamlining production. Previously, we were working with two labels per bag—one front, one back—between which we divided information. But the process of labeling all the bags was slow, and the job for our production team was tedious. So, when we set out to consolidate all the information to a single label and ease the load on production, we figured—why not use the opportunity to make other improvements to our packaging as well?
Beyond such functional logistics, we also just wanted to wanted to kick the fun up a notch. (Putting the fun in function, y’know?) We added new colorways for our core, evergreen coffees, helping them stand out a bit more on our retail shelves. And, beyond the redesigned labels, we capitalized on the opportunity for illustration to help tell the Olympia Coffee story.
Tell us about some of the details in the design.
The new bag design features a dynamic, wrap-around illustration telling the seed-to-cup story so central to the mission and vision of Olympia Coffee. Three rows of settings and characters depict coffee’s incredible journey: all the way from the farmers at origin to the roaster to the moment of enjoyment. The illustrative style evokes a continuous line drawing, driving home the notions of connection and community.
To highlight the handcrafted-ness of coffee, S&Co. guided us to a humanistic type package that nods to the unique beauty of the human touch. With playfully rounded serifs and classic-yet-youthful proportions, it’s a brilliant choice for where Olympia Coffee stands now as a company.
What kind of materials are used in the new packaging?
We worked with TricorBraun Flex to source our previous bags, and they have been excellent partners in helping us source sustainable packaging that reflects our Fair For All ethos. So, for this project, we went once again with their Biotrē 2.0 packaging, which is is 60% compostable with nearly all plant-based, renewable film layers.
Where is this available to purchase?
You can find the new bags across all our retail locations and online at olympiacoffee.com!
Photos by Lori White.