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Heirloom Labels

FEBRUARY 24, 2013

This is a project I worked on for a local coffee bean importer named Heirloom Coffee, LLC. They needed labels for their different lines of coffee beans, starting with Vietnamese, Philippine and Sumatran brands.

The back story: the client was originally thinking along the lines of landscapes of each country for the labels, but other than that input, I was free to pursue my own concepts. I thought that the landscape idea may have worked on larger signage, but given the small size of the labels, (approx. 3” x 4.5”), I decided to try some simpler imagery. 

My first concept was to have an illustration of a coffee cup on each label, and on each cup there would be a design or motif that was indicative of the country where the beans were from. The designs could be current or from antiquity; it didn’t matter. I used the diagonal background to further tie them together.

The second idea was to show a person from each country on each label, dressed in traditional or popular garb from that country. In the backgrounds would be the coffee bean plants from each region.

For the third set of sketches, I went back to the coffee cup with country-specific design theme. Only this time it was an aerial view. I further explored the concept of tying the three labels together graphically. I wanted each label to be part of a larger mosaic when seen together on a shelf. 

The final concepts were more of an editorial approach. I had fun with these. In a way, I came full circle because these are landscapes, although very simplified: the coffee cup floating in Vietnam’s Halong Bay, on top of a Sumatran volcano and in a Rousseau-esque Philippine jungle.

The client picked door #2. They loved the idea of focusing on the indigenous people, since Heirloom donates a portion of their profits to help build schools and to create jobs for the local economies, and they are on a first-name basis with their growers. (The guy on the Liberica label is actually from Costa Rica, so we swapped him out).

I don’t have any of the actual printed labels yet but will post those at a later date.