Herkimer Ready-to-Drink Coffee

Role

Packaging, Layout

Tools

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop

Timeframe

4 Weeks

Collaborator

Solo Project

Challenge

Herkimer, a small high-end roaster and coffee shop in Seattle with three locations and 24 employees, is looking to expand its product offerings to a ready-to-drink canned coffee to be sold in stores.

Goal

How might we communicate the brand’s commitment to ethical sourcing and premium beans while still standing out in a grocer’s packed drink aisle?

Background

Founded in 2003, Herkimer Coffee is a high-end roaster and coffee shop with three locations in Seattle. They take pride in their complex flavors and ethically-sourced, premium beans.

They're a small company with only 24 employees, but are well-positioned to sell ready-to drink coffees to regional stores a'la Stumptown Coffee from Portland.

Herkimer's name is derived from Herkimer County in Upstate New York, which is where founder Mike Prins's father was born. Their logo is a stylization of the iconic Trolley Bridge located there.

Most of the packaging for their beans, gift cards and merchandise is shades of dark brown, pale blue and they use untreated paper bags for their beans.

Initial Visual Inspiration

Herkimer's website and blog feature extensive photography of the countries of origin for their coffee. Their roasters visit these locations to taste their coffees, tour the farms and immerse themselves in the culture.

The site also features black and white photography of their baristas and roasters, which reflects the timeless, artisanal nature of their products.

Herkimer's stores feature a minimalist aesthetic, with clean lines and minimal color. Even their chalkboards, which in many independent coffee shops feature hand-drawn decorations, are in kept very clean and minimal.

Iterations

My initial design utilized photography of the bean fields from which their coffee is sourced. I added a sepia tone to the photographs in reference to the black and white photography on their website. However, the design was far too narrow (to the point where you can barely even see the photography at a glance)

My next iteration used a more squat can, but still had too much of the photography covered. Furthermore, I realized I had made a grave error changing Herkimer's logo. A big part of the appeal of their logo is the gestalt principle of Closure. The bridge is actually in the negative space, and looks like it expands beyond the bounds of the logo itself.

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