When you think of a brand, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a logo? A colour scheme? A catchy jingle?
For many, the most distinctive aspect of a brand is its typography – the style and formatting of printed words across products, shop fronts, leaflets, business cards, and websites.
Good typography is essential not only for legibly communicating information, but also for representing the overall tone of your brand and the way in which consumers perceive it. This involves everything from colour and typeface, to line spacing and point size.
For specialty roasters, typography plays an important role in the design of their coffee packaging. It helps create a memorable and appealing product, while also conveying essential information about the roastery and the story behind the coffee.
To find out more about the importance of typography, I spoke with ONA Coffee’s marketing manager, Viry Ortiz Hurtado.
What is typography & why’s it important?
Put simply, typography is the style and appearance of printed letters, numbers, and symbols. For brands, it has myriad purposes, from conveying information and attracting attention, to crafting tone of voice and enhancing product memorability.
Typography can also influence consumers’ perceptions of brands: according to one study, people are more likely to trust information set in “Baskerville” font than they are in “Georgia” font. Similarly, standout types are much more persuasive than weak types that don’t reinforce the message of the text.
An understanding of typography and its impact on consumers is therefore crucial to creating a successful brand. Viry Ortiz Hurtado is marketing manager at ONA Coffee in Melbourne, Australia, having formerly worked as a senior graphic designer in Mexico. She tells me that typography is integral to effective design.
“Typography is not just letters and numbers,” she says. “It’s designed text that’s used to highlight an important message we want to communicate. There is no good design without the right typography: for me, it’s 80% of your final design.
“Each typography has its own personality and its own set of specific characteristics for which it was created.”
To shape this personality, brands have to take a number of factors into account, such as typeface, colours, point size, and line spacing. Many will hire designers with whom they will work closely to create a typography that works across the brand, including all its products and services.
The power of typography on coffee packaging
As more and more people take an interest in specialty coffee, the number of roasters on the market have soared. As such, it has become more important than ever to ensure your coffee stands out on the shelf and online.
Viry explains that key to this is typography. “Coffee evokes a lot of emotions. It activates senses in our brain through the smell and flavours associated with it,” she says.
“These emotions can be channelled effectively through good design and typography in order to make the consumer choose the coffee they feel they can connect with.”
Fuel America is a small-batch coffee roastery in Boston that’s done this to great effect. Everything about the brand, from its name to its packaging designs, promotes the stimulating effects of coffee, which provides energy throughout the day.
“Coffee evokes a lot of emotions…It activates senses in our brain through the smell and flavours associated with it.”
Equally, their typography features the name of the brand in a circle, with a lightning bolt firing out the end of the “L”. For their “Patriot’s Blend” it’s in red, furthering the promotion of caffeine. This clearly aligns with the needs of their customers, of whom many will be looking for an energy boost when they choose Fuel America’s coffee.
Viry tells me that custom fonts which reflect brand identity, appeal to the target audience, and set the coffee apart from the competition have taken on an important role in the sector.
“Every coffee brand wants to stand out and be unique,” she says. “To do this, many are using more custom fonts than before. In particular, I’ve seen a lot of brands going for bigger, bolder, and brighter fonts on their coffee bags.”
A good example is Roastworks, whose distinctive gold lettering against a black background have transformed them into an instantly recognisable brand in grocery stores across the UK.
A few things to consider…
According to Viry, one of the main considerations when choosing your brand’s typography is where it will be displayed.
“You need to consider where the typography is going to be applied and the medium the message will sit on,” she explains. “For example, it could be used for physical printing, and you have a whole new world of design just within that category itself.
“On the other hand, it could be for smaller types of packaging, magazines, billboards, or, it could be used for digital purposes like a web page, video content or apps. The type will adapt accordingly.”
This is especially true when the typography is going to be used across multiple mediums, as roasters need to ensure it retains its legibility regardless of size, colour, and format.
For example, a letterform logo that looks clear on a laptop screen may become less clear when placed on the side of a coffee bag if it’s not sized correctly. The letters may become bunched up or squashed, causing colours to seep into each other and make the typography unrecognisable.
A way of testing this before settling on a design is with the “piccolino test”. According to graphic design agency Trillion Creative, the piccolino test involves an exploration of the following questions:
- Can you reduce your logo design to less than an inch in width?
- Is your logo design legible if you print it small, and in black and white?
- Would you be able to print your logo design on a pen and still be able to read it?
- Would your logo be legible if it were on the face of a watch?
Brands like Coca Cola, H&M, Cadbury, and Onyx Coffee Lab all use letterform logos that are still readable when shrunk down. If your logo isn’t, then it’s likely it won’t work.
As for text on your website, the recommendation is 16 pixels. Anything smaller than that could compromise readability for visually impaired users.
At MTPak Coffee, we recognise the importance of designing packaging that not only protects your coffee, but also reflects your brand identity and stands out on the shelf.
Our team of expert designers can help you create the perfect packaging for your coffee with sustainable materials, water-based inks, and recyclable components.
They can advise on everything from typeface to line line spacing, while making sure all typography is readable and appealing.
For more information on our coffee packaging design services, contact our team.
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