By Jo Williams
Turning a coffee package into a work of art
It’s always an exciting challenge when you are asked to design a piece of ‘limited edition’ packaging, because its aims are to be completely unique, have a premium, high quality feel, to stand out from the crowd, and be exclusive. As the title suggests, it’s only around for limited period of time. It also gives you wonderful creative freedom – a designer’s dream!
Care for coffee, it makes a difference
When Jones Brothers approached me with the brief for their new Colombia Excelso capsules and explained the careful farming processes of the coffee beans in the Antioquia region, I knew that the same attention to detail would need to be reflected in the research and design of the packaging. Along with this, I also needed to consider the layout and design of the ‘Ethiopia Single Origin’, the first Limited Edition pack, to ensure consistency of core design elements across the range. As this first pack design was based on traditional Ethiopian textiles and patterns, I began my research for these special Colombia Excelso coffee capsules into traditional Colombian art forms.
Rich in colour, rich in coffee beans
Through my research, I discovered that the ‘Kuna’, or ‘Guna’, the indigenous people of Colombia are famous for their bright ‘molas’: a colourful textile art form, meaning ‘clothing’ in the Kuna language. Made with the techniques of appliqué and reverse appliqué, it forms part of the traditional outfit of a Kuna woman*. Originated over 150 years ago, these ‘mola’ designs are inspired by the Kuna people’s surroundings, such as flowers, animals and birds, as well as geometrical patterns originally used for traditional body painting. Researching further into the country itself, I also discovered that Colombia is rich in natural resources with coffee being one of it’s main exports.
What started with just a single coffee bean
With these findings I began to illustrate and develop my own digital ‘mola’ pattern based on the growth of coffee beans. To begin with, this was fairly tricky to construct as the overall design needed to be symmetrical, however once I had drawn the first abstract coffee bean and mirrored it vertically and horizontally, creating four coffee beans, the rest of the design flowed easily and I was able to fill in the gaps with geometrical pattern and bright colours, mainly orange, inspired by the vibrant painted Colombian houses and colourful women’s clothing. With the main four-bean symmetrical pattern established, I could then repeat this design and apply to the packaging layout to become a colourful and energetic background to the core gold and white pack elements and text that we had established on our first Limited Edition Ethiopia pack. Some of the pattern even creeps over the edges to some of these core elements to reflect the strong growth of the coffee.
A tribute to the Kuna people!
The result: a unique, vibrant and warm packaging design that pays homage to the indigenous Kuna people of Colombia, with a special, individual and premium feel to reflect the quality of the coffee inside.
You can see the result of our package design and learn more about our Limited Edition Colombia Excelso coffee capsule.