Packaging Design Love: Counter Culture Coffee’s Colorful (and Biodegradable) Packaging Makeover

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

There’s something about the nature of coffee that lends itself to out-of-the-box creative packaging design– a concept that is clearly embraced by the in-house design team at Durham, NC-based, Counter Culture Coffee. The company is launching a new re-designed package today featuring tactile biodegradable material, colorful geometric shapes that create an interlocking appearance when arranged together properly. Fun!

The previous packaging housed Counter Culture’s beans in stark black bags adorned a mix of sans serif and serif typefaces (Archer, perhaps?) while the bold new packages take advantage of Hoefler Frere Jones’ Gotham & Knockout typefaces that provide a modern feel loosely inspired by European design “for a striking, minimal, bold and forward-thinking look and move toward geometric designs” says the team.

Old Counter Culture Coffee vs. packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Old Counter Culture Coffee vs. packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

The new aesthetic is accompanied by humorous new names of the coffee roaster’s flavors: “Toscano” becomes “Big Trouble”, “Rustico” becomes “Hologram”, “Farmouse” becomes “Fast Forward” and “Decaf Farmhouse” is now “Slow Motion.”

“Our goal was to better communicate the core values that have guided Counter Culture for almost 20 years, while presenting a more contemporary and cohesive look,” says Counter Culture President Brett Smith. “I am happy to say that the final product more than accomplishes this goal. The bright colors, updated names, prominent roast date, and transparent coffee information—all in more sustainable packaging—are a great combination of the old and the new.”

Enjoy the graphic design eye candy below, and read more about Counter Culture Coffee and the company’s rebranding strategy below. What do you think of this new look? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @FIDMDigitalarts.

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

Counter Culture Coffee packaging redesign featuring tactile biodegradable material. Photo: ©Christy Baugh

More about Counter Culture Coffeee’s Rebrand and Packaging

“Conceived and developed by Counter Culture’s in-house design team, with work beginning in earnest in February 2014, the rebrand progressed at an accelerated pace. Each year-round product will have its own design variation for 12-ounce packaging, and all single-origin coffees—representing dozens of countries and farms—will go into a single bag design with differentiated labeling unique to each origin. Each vibrant, eye-catching color used is representative of a year-round product or single origin coffee, allowing buyers to easily distinguish the varieties, and each product has a unique texture and icon that is representative of that coffee. Additionally, the roast date appears in a more prominent location on all bags, further underlining Counter Culture’s commitment to quality and transparency.
All 12-ounce whole-bean bags will be made of Biotre film, a material created by Pacific Bag Inc. at the forefront of sustainable, biodegradable packaging initiatives. Up to 60 percent of the material comes from renewable resources—shown to break down in well-managed compost environments in approximately 90 days—with the remaining materials breaking down in five to 10 years in a landfill.

Counter Culture is committed to being carbon neutral—having begun purchasing off-sets and working toward reducing consumption since 2011—which requires annual measurements of carbon activities from roasting coffee to facility energy consumption and beyond. Counter Culture’s strong relationships with the farmers and communities who create their coffees are yet another facet of their business that epitomizes their commitment to environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability.

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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