Beauty is only skin deep. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Looks can be deceiving. All that glitters is not gold. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
But really? Must it always be that way? Winnie Cooper is a generationally brilliant mathematician and author with an Erdős number of four; Lupita Nyong’o has an MFA from Yale; James Franco is…well, James Franco.
You can be attractive and also brilliant. Assembly Coffee is one of London’s best coffee roasters, and also perhaps its most beautiful, with game-changing illustrated packaging that evokes complex flavors. This is coffee packaging that feels closer to luxury goods—think a new iPhone, or a nice watch—than another lumpy craft bag, and is designed to look striking in all manner of display configurations.
We’re fans. How could you not be?
As told to Sprudge by Michael Cleland.
Tell us a bit about your company.
We’re a wholesale coffee roastery in Brixton, London supplying cafes primarily across the UK and Europe. We recognise that, as part of a short supply chain, we have an obligation to support rather than transact with our wholesale partners.
Our approach is based on the premise that the same ultimate objectives are shared by roaster and cafe and, therefore, working closely in collaboration means we offer coffees and create insights that benefit everybody.
As a group, we’re particularly interested in the end consumer and how more commodity consumers can be encouraged to embrace the world of specialty.
When did the coffee package design debut?
We launched the brand and consequently debuted the packaging, as sponsors of the inaugural Coffee Masters competition in London 2015. The packaging design was then updated slightly in January 2017.
Who designed the package?
The packaging (and ongoing flavour illustrations) is designed with London designer Max Spencer. The design brief was created with input from our wholesale partners, (particularly Embassy East) with input specifically into functional needs for retail packaging, aesthetic preferences, and coffee information.
What coffee information do you share on the package?
We share the coffee name, country (only) of origin, process, and illustrated flavour notes.
What’s the motivation behind that?
We reached a consensus as a group, that in our experiences with consumers, excessive information can be a burden which intimidates or confuses at the point of purchase. We still provide information on varietals, producers, altitudes, harvests, etc. but it is hosted on our website rather than the consumer-facing retail packaging.
Flavour notes are illustrated rather than written as, through testing, we discovered a visual medium was more effective in engaging the end consumer and circumvented some of the obstacles we were running into with language.
There’s a more thorough explanation of the background and process here.
Where is the bag manufactured?
In Newmarket, UK.
For package nerds, what type of package is it?
It’s a bespoke-sized, dyed postage box.
Is the package recyclable/compostable?
The outer box is compostable and the inner bag is recyclable.
Where is it currently available?
We dispatch globally via our website. It’s also available through any of our wholesale partners in the UK and across Europe.
Design Date: January 2017
Designer: Max Spencer
Nice Package is a feature series by Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge. Read more Nice Package here.
Photos courtesy of Assembly Coffee.