Originally, takeaway coffee cups were viewed solely as a way of carrying beverages. Now, they have become an art form and an essential marketing tool.
As specialty coffee becomes increasingly popular, cafés have transformed into social hubs that exude creativity. It was only a matter of time before coffee businesses turned their attention to the design of their takeaway coffee cups to reflect this individuality.
Art and design are now major factors in branding and marketing. Everything, from the type of materials used to create the cups to the artistic appeal of their design can mirror a brand’s identity and business goals.
For more information about artistic design on takeaway coffee cups, I spoke with Perth-based graphic designer and artist Georgia Treloar.
How artistic takeaway coffee cups can help build a brand
High-quality coffee plays a vital role in the success of a café. However, much of its appeal can stem from marketing strategies and packaging design.
Many consumers now see their favourite café as a reflection of their own look and lifestyle. As a result, cafés must build their brand around consumer interests to create a memorable experience and increase demand.
“Coffee cups can be the main contact point for consumers,” says Georgia, who collaborated with a packaging company to design takeaway cups in 2018. “It is the element consumers get to hold and take with them, so there is a sense of ownership.”
She adds that interesting takeaway cups can lead to unique consumer experiences. “A strong design is a sign that a business has taken care with its aesthetics. In turn, this leads consumers to believe the coffee is also made with similar expertise.”
Simply put, an eye-catching takeaway coffee cup can help build consumer trust and brand memorability.
“In a world saturated with brands, you only have a few seconds to make a meaningful impression on consumers,” explains Georgia, who is also an illustrator and mural artist.
“How a product is packaged is essential to its success, as it determines how consumers view the brand and the product itself.”
As consumers often carry a takeaway cup around for others to see, the design is just as important as its ergonomics.
Social media platforms play an influential role in spreading brand and product awareness. Interestingly, 71% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product based on social media referrals.
Furthermore, Gen Z and millennials are more likely to be influenced: 84% of millennials say user-generated content from strangers has some influence on their buying habits.
“Who would repost a picture of a plain white cup?,” Georgia says. “No one. But you would repost a picture of a unique design, as it is interesting and rare.”
How to choose the right artist to represent your brand
When looking to redesign takeaway coffee cups, specialty roasters and cafés should first consider their brand.
It is vital they have a clear idea of who they are as a business and what values they want to communicate to consumers.
“In this day-and-age, having a sustainable ethos is not enough,” Georgia says. “You need to incorporate good design to help project your company vision, whatever it may be.”
As an example, she says the cup she designed ticked all the boxes. “It looked cool, it donated to a great cause, and it was environmentally friendly. That is something people will talk about and get behind.”
Next, specialty roasters and cafés should research local or international artists who share the same values as the company.
For instance, in 2021 South Africa’s vida e caffé partnered with local medical aid provider, Discovery Vitality. The aim was to support and celebrate local emerging illustrators and artists in a design competition for their takeaway coffee cups.
Eight local illustrators were selected to design cups that reflected the brand’s core values of health and wellness. Furthermore, the designs were to represent the diversity of South Africa’s culture.
Consumers were encouraged to vote for their favourite design and share images online in order to win cash prizes and discounts on coffee. The winning designs were also used on vida e caffé’s reusable bamboo cups, making them somewhat of a collector’s item.
Georgia recommends that specialty roasters and cafés should be bold when it comes to their takeaway cups. “It doesn’t always have to be about the coffee. Consumers have seen enough coffee-focused imagery. The cup itself is already selling the product, so be bold, exciting, and different.”
Additional brands with artistic takeaway coffee cups
Many cafés and roasteries have successfully incorporated unique cup designs as part of their branding.
Melbourne in Lichfield is unmistakable with its graffiti-inspired branding. The takeaway cups stand out with their distinct yellow and black colours. Furthermore, they use an image of the movie monster icon King Kong batting at aeroplanes.
This reflects the urban look of the small kiosk they serve from, which is tucked away in an alley in Staffordshire, England.
Another prime example is Ireland’s Square Coffee Bar. This brand has changed the design of its takeaway cups numerous times. Originally black with a white square, they now incorporate a pink maze with a white square in the centre.
The square is always the focal point and is instantly recognisable. As a result, the brand rarely has to print their company name on merchandise.
These are just a few examples of established cafés with a unique approach to coffee cup designs. Furthermore, these brands have managed to build successful social media followings, helping them gain global recognition.
This further shows how marketing is key when the competition between specialty coffee cafés is increasing. Unique takeaway coffee cup designs can help a business stand out from the crowd.
At MTPak Coffee, our expert design team will use sustainable water-based inks to bring your unique design to life. Our inks are low in volatile organic compounds, making them highly resistant to heat, water, and abrasion. Plus, they are compostable and easy to remove for recycling.
Additionally, we offer a range of recyclable options for takeaway coffee cups made from PET or paper. Our paper cups can be coated with wax, PE or PLA and are resistant to heat, liquid, and grease.
We have a number of takeaway cup options available, such as double wall, single wall, and ripple wall, as well as fully customisable cup sleeves, to ensure your customers have the best experience while drinking your coffee.
For more information on our sustainable takeaway cups, contact the team.
Photo credits: Georgia Treloar