Material chosen, we wanted to ensure we had a beautiful and eye-catching design for the finished bags that would help us communicate our deeper purpose as a business which is to help build a coffee industry that works for everyone.
To do so, we worked with the hero that is Lucas Jubb of Turtle & Hare (and now Branding Lead here at North Star!) who put a lot of time into understanding our business, what we wanted to communicate and the practicalities required of the packaging. Lucas and I have worked together in the past on sustainable initiatives and I knew he would understand the importance of design that not only looked good but that was environmentally responsible too.
We ultimately wanted to convey a sense of place with our coffees that signified the incredible producing network we partner with and do so without, in any way, being culturally appropriating. Approachability, creativity and a sense of fun was also important to be more representative of who we are as a team and business along with considerations as to how the producer narrative was represented.
The result is a bag bursting with colour and a pattern inspired by the global tradition of quilting. We wanted to make maximum use of the star which is not only a key part of our identity but also very representative of the magic of the starry skies above coffee farms. We feel the slightly kaleidoscopic effect of the pattern really does justice to the captivating contents of the bag itself and on that note…
We have also worked hard to make our range more approachable. It hit us last year as our online shop sales responded to the vast swathes of people suddenly working from home that our range can be a little difficult to understand if you are new to buying coffee from businesses like North Star! Despite it being super cool that we know where our coffee comes from, the altitude it grew at, the varietal etc we are not too sure how much that helps you guys make a decision on what you want to buy – particularly in a retail setting where you may be confronted by bag after bag of single origin beans. You may have been in that situation before and found yourself going for familiar coffee producing countries you may have previously encountered. The only downfall being that we work with a lot of producers pushing experimental and innovative techniques that may result in a coffee far from what you were expecting in the cup!
We therefore started to think about how we could profile our range into just two categories that would more easily communicate what to expect in the cup to match a particular flavour profile preference and this is what we came up with:
BASE – This range includes coffees that are traditionally more approachable with good balance and body. The natural acidity of these coffees is more rounded and at a low to medium level, making them better suited to enjoy with milk and usually on ‘metal filter’ brew methods such as espresso, French press or stove top (and of course through the highly versatile AeroPress).
EXPLORE – Here we aim to showcase lots that push the boundaries of what coffee ‘should’ taste like, challenging tradition with innovation and, on occasion, providing a market for experimental processing. These coffees can be incredibly complex with medium to high levels of natural acidity that can be at its best with ‘paper filter’ brew methods such as the Chemex, V60, Kalita or AeroPress. Some of these coffees can take milk but many are best enjoyed without thanks to their more fruit forward profile.
Along with each range being packed into a different bag colour, you will also find information on the front label that will tell you all you need to know about what to expect from the coffee. For example, in the place of altitude you will now find ‘Enjoy with’ to signify if we recommend the coffee with or without milk (or with the Base range, both!). You will also see a QR code which will take you to the product page for that coffee on our website. We are starting to populate these pages with videos directly from the producer themselves to better connect you directly with them and also allow them to tell their own story in the manner they would like to.
It is safe to say that this has been one of the biggest undertakings for the whole team here at North Star and we are so delighted to finally be able to show you what we have been working away on for the past year! We can’t wait to hear any feedback or questions you might have and we really hope you can feel the love and effort that has gone into this project – all designed to provide a better experience for you, our treasured customers, and to improve our environmental and business impact.
To find out how to close the loop in disposing of our new bags, click the image below: