Coffee bag design inspiration: Colours

MTPak Coffee
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August 17, 2021
coffee bag colours

Few aspects of coffee packaging have more of an influence on consumer behaviour than colour. It can make people feel happy or melancholy, excited or relaxed, hungry or hostile. It can change perceptions of flavour, evoke feelings of security, and compel people to make purchases.

According to recent studies, consumers will make a judgement about a retailer within 90 seconds of entering a store, with 62%-90% of the impressions based on colour alone.

What’s more, unlike symbols or logos, there is little variance between how people interpret colours – it tends to be more deeply ingrained in the human psyche. This means that brands can reach a wide number of consumers without overhauling designs for different markets.

For specialty roasters, it can be difficult to decide on a single colour for their coffee bags. Not only does it have a significant bearing on brand identity, it can be difficult to switch once customers have become familiar with it.

As such, it’s important to get it right the first time round. Here’s some inspiration from established roasters in the specialty coffee market to help you find the perfect colour for your brand.

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yellow coffee bag colours
Yellow is effective for capturing attention and boosting brand recognition

Yellow

Bright, eye-catching, happy, frenetic – the colour yellow is high-impact and sure to draw attention to your coffee bags, not least because very few specialty roasters use it.

For brands, it shows a real statement of intent: they want to capture a share of the market and are willing to do everything in their power to do so.

It ensures that when customers see the yellow packaging for the first time, it will live long in their memory. Indeed, using a colour like yellow can boost brand recognition by as much as 80%.

However, it also offers warmth and optimism, often being associated with things such as sunshine and flowers. This can help foster a sense of trust between brands and consumers, promoting a “community” atmosphere.

Kofra is a coffee roasters that uses yellow coffee bags to great effect. As well as standing out on the shelf, their bright yellow bags perfectly encapsulate their brand identity as a welcoming, neighbourhood-focused chain of coffee shops with its roots in Guatemalan culture.

red coffee bag colours
Red packaging can make consumers perceive the coffee as being sweeter

Red

If you wander around any store with a sale on, the chances are the signs will be in bright red. But why is this?

Red, among other things, promotes a sense of urgency that compels consumers to act quickly and spontaneously. According to research, it can quicken heart rates, elevate blood pressure, and increase respiration – all of which cause a spike in energy levels.

Red is also known to increase appetites by increasing metabolism, which is why it’s become such a popular colour in restaurants.

In the case of coffee, red is often used to promote caffeine content and its stimulating effects.

For example, the branding of Massachusetts’ Fuel America Coffee is bright red, helping draw attention to the ability of the coffee to keep you energised throughout the day.

However, it’s important to note that red can also influence perceptions of sweetness. An experiment involving salty popcorn found that when it was served in a red bowl, participants perceived it as sweeter than when it was in a blue bowl.

Find out more about how colour can influence flavour perceptions

blue packaging
Not only does blue promote tranquility, it can also reinforce a sense of trust and professionalism

Blue

Have you ever felt a deep sense of calm while looking out to sea or staring up at the sky?

You’re not alone: according to a study in The Journal of Business Research, people feel more relaxed when surrounded by the colour blue than other colours, such as orange, red, or yellow.

For brands, blue can be useful for putting forward a sense of reliability, trust, serenity, and professionalism. This has made it a popular colour among a number of organisations, including social media firms, financial institutions, and political parties.

However, it’s been widely adopted by specialty coffee roasters, too. Quebec-based Bluebarn Coffee Roasters use blue across all their coffee bags, reflecting not only the name of the brand, but also the trustworthy relationships they have with coffee farmers.

sustainable black coffee bags
When combined with gold, black fosters an image of luxury and exclusivity

Black

Despite not featuring on the colour wheel per se, black has been adopted by a whole host of brands, from car firms to mobile phone companies.

Unlike other colours, interpretations of black branding can vary widely and are often linked to past associations with the colour. More broadly speaking, black is is symbolic of mystery, power, elegance, and sophistication.

When combined with gold, it can promote a feeling of luxury, high-quality, and exclusivity. As such, it is often used for limited edition packaging to inform customers that what they are buying is “rare”.

Roastworks and Qima are two specialty roasters that have become recognised for their distinctive black and gold coffee bags. Roastworks based their designs on their 1970s Probat roaster, using the heavy, industrial font and colours to inform their packaging design.

green coffee bags
Green is often adopted by companies that want to promote their brand as healthy and sustainable

Green

As sustainability becomes an increasingly pressing concern, the colour green has crept into the branding of more and more companies in recent years.

McDonald’s is perhaps the most famous example, when they swapped their traditional red and yellow storefronts for green across all European locations. Commentators at the time labelled it a clever way to promote their “green” initiatives, in addition to “healthy living”.

In coffee, this has also been the case for a number of roasters. But it’s not just about sustainability: research by the Coffee Sensorium shows that green can be used to influence consumer perceptions about the acidity of the coffee, while also highlighting the natural ingredients present in a bag of coffee.

Esquires Coffee uses a distinctive sage green colour across its coffee bags to support its commitment to fair trade, ethical sourcing, and the environment.


Choosing the right colour for your coffee bags is crucial. Not only does it help define your brand personality, it can significantly influence consumer perceptions about your products.

Although it can be difficult to pin down exactly how customers will react to different colours, it’s important to think carefully before committing to any set colour scheme.

At MTPak Coffee, our team of expert designers have decades’ of experience creating coffee bags that reflect brand identity and stand out on the shelf. We can help you select from a range of sustainable materials and additional components to design the perfect packaging for your needs. All our options can be fully customised.

For information about our recyclable and compostable coffee bags, contact our team.

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Coffee bag design inspiration: Colours

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