New Standards in Coffee Packaging
Unity: An LA Roastery Gets Creative with New Packaging
Starting a business may be one of the biggest risks you take in your life. You face plenty of unknowns. And there are no guarantees that things will work out.
So it’s remarkable to see that other decisions you make as a business owner are designed to mitigate risk as much as possible. Decisions that require careful planning and vetting; as well as significant allocation of resources to these efforts.
Unity (a.k.a. “Unity Sourcing & Roasting”) is a Los Angeles roastery that was founded by Adam Strauss and Tyler Elliott back in 2017. The two had originally met at a roasting company in New York where they had a reputation for buying coffees from innovative producers. They were known for their risk-taking personalities.
When they decided to found their own company, they came up with a simple motto for their brand: Coffee that unites us all.
Adam explains: “We wanted to be a brand that would be about people. About traveling to origin, connecting with producers, your importers and exporters. And your customers. Specifically about uniting customers with origin, and everybody in between.”
Great. But how do you communicate this idea to your customers? Especially to those who are encountering your products for the very first time? It’s a relevant question for brands. And for consumers who are deciding from a selection of coffees at a supermarket or café.
Unity’s Kossa Geshe - Previous Packaging
Last November, Unity began a project to create new packaging for its coffees that would clarify this messaging. A project ultimately designed to help the company stay competitive and relevant in the context of new trends in the market.
Unity’s previous packaging (see photo above), which was designed by Adam himself, is a simple white bag with a label in the front. “Stickers with big paragraphs about the coffee,” as he describes.
Although the packaging carried the company for a few years and was a step above the brown craft bags that they had started with, the team felt that it was time to switch things up.
So they hired LA-based designer Elliot Law to come up with a new design that would not only capture Unity’s brand and messaging but also take advantage of the bag’s entire surface area. So that it would become a fully printed bag. As opposed to just a printed label.
The goal was to keep things fun, exciting and colorful – qualities that are evident in Unity’s rainbow aesthetic. While finding ways to help consumers grasp the company’s brand right away. Specifically its focus on transparency.
Unity’s Serious Black in New Packaging (with side views)
The process took many months. And many more iterations to complete. But the result is one that can easily be described as transformative.
The bags are now fully printed (also resealable) with blocked colors and bold letters that spell out the company’s mottos on each side. A label that’s less congested and describes the coffee in two sentences or less. And noticeably, a shift in the company’s name from Unity Sourcing & Roasting to just Unity.
As Adams explains, “For the longest time, people were calling us Unity. And instead of fighting people and constantly correcting them, we’re just making that correction no longer about the narrative. And just about Unity.”
He notes that the process to update your packaging requires both time and intention. Which are reasons to hire a professional designer when you’re busy running a business and need to outsource this type of work.
“It’s an expensive process, so make sure you’re happy with it,” he says.
It’s worth repeating here that the motivation behind the project was to create new packaging. To help Unity stay competitive and relevant. Not to re-brand the company with a new identity or set of values.
In light of this distinction, I asked Adam whether he has any advice for companies looking to go through the same process to update their own packaging without abandoning what they started with.
“My advice would be to keep it additive. It’s not that I don’t believe in the re-brand. But don’t just try and delete things. Keep it additive. It adds to your brand. It doesn’t replace your brand.”
Unity’s Kossa Geshe - New Packaging
Today we’re pleased to offer Unity’s Kossa Geshe on our marketplace. In its new packaging of course.
Unity is known for sourcing vibrant and jammy coffees, and roasts as light as possible to bring out as many flavors from each of its single-origins.
This one is no exception.
A natural process coffee from producer Abdulwahid Sherif in Ethiopia, the Kossa Geshe offers stinging and chaotic bursts of Berry Jam, Clementine, and White Flowers in your mouth.
It’s a coffee that’s meant to draw a reaction.
Unity roasts on Tuesdays and ships within 2 business days.
Shipping: $5 Flat Rate
Weekly Public Cupping (free)
Boxx Coffee Roasters Co., 950 East 3rd Street
Thursday, May 25 (3 - 4pm)
Panther Coffee, 5934 NW 2nd Avenue
Saturday, May 27 (7pm - 12am)
Counter Culture Coffee Training Center, 376 Broome Street
Thursday, May 26 (6 - 10pm)
284 Lafayette Street
Friday, May 26 (7am - 6pm)
NYCoffee Discord Cupping, 9-10am slot (free; donations encouraged)
Principles GI Coffee House, 139 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, May 27 (9 - 11am)
Drip Coffee Makers, 75 Varick Street
Saturday March 27 (3 - 5pm)
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