Salt Spring Coffee – Seasonal

Alongside its mainstay classic line of coffee for distribution to major grocery stores, Salt Spring Coffee roasts several small-batch seasonal offerings for limited sale at specialty retailers, and online.

Due to roasting in very small batches—sometimes fewer than one hundred bags—Salt Spring Coffee required a structured yet flexible seasonal coffee packaging system. The visual program needed its own identity that also fit within the main parent brand.

Salt Spring Coffee is one of Canada’s largest micro-roasters with sales of close to $10 million annually. The company roasts approximately 3,500 pounds of coffee a day. To keep up with the challenge of maintaining consistent coffee tasting profiles through seasonal supply changes, Salt Spring Coffee continually sources green beans from around the world. It does so with a true dedication to quality, an ongoing commitment to reducing emissions, and a responsible approach to promoting stability for its partner communities. The company’s coffee-sourcing practices are independently certified by accredited third party certifications and verified through its own Fair to Farmer™ program. The programs ensure transparency and source traceability, resulting in improved economic stability for coffee-growing communities.

Salt Spring Coffee’s mainstay grocery classics brand uses visual design to communicate its inspiring story of craftsmanship, authenticity and world-changing coffee. Sold almost exclusively in conventional grocery stores, its mainstay classics brand packaging boldly displays product names, certifications, roasting level and tasting notes over rich and lively coloured backgrounds that engage and appeal to mainstream consumers.

Although Salt Spring Coffee applies the same commitment to quality, responsible partnership and sustainability practices for both its mainstay grocery classics and small-batch seasonals, the marketing approaches required for the two product lines vary due to product volume, distribution channel, and the overall perception and expectation needs of the consumer.

As part of an integrated brand strategy developed for its mainstay grocery classics, Exhibit A: Design Group collaborated with Salt Spring Coffee to evaluate and reposition its small-batch seasonal program. The completed positioning strategy serves as a roadmap for brand development including packaging design, launch materials, social media campaigns, and point-of-sale support for four to six ever-changing yearly seasonal releases, including a traditional holiday blend and its exclusive Roast Master Series.

We seized the opportunity to bring storytelling to the forefront and share information about each country and the farm or cooperative where the coffee is grown and harvested. The positioning is clearly demonstrated through the packaging design, which utilizes an all-purpose preprinted bag and flexible labelling system.

To ensure maximum memorability, our illustrative approach uses a single iconic symbol that denotes the arts, culture and history of each coffee’s site of origin. Each symbol is hand-drawn to mimic stencil street art found throughout the coffee-producing countries, alongside bold typographic treatments and colour palettes inspired by street signage, posters and graphics.

For cohesiveness the applied background textures are complementary to the versions we created for Salt Spring Coffee’s mainstay grocery classics’ brand design. The new packaging is consistent with the overall brand family while demonstrating that every seasonal roast has its own unique story and taste.

As Salt Spring Coffee’s long-term creative partner, Exhibit A: Design Group has applied the new brand strategy to the company’s complete packaging system as well as in-store point of purchase and merchandising, online promotional material, seasonal launch materials, advertising and social media campaigns, and website e-commerce including ongoing maintenance. The creative platform continually introduces and shares information about Salt Spring Coffee’s partner farms and cooperatives.

Salt Spring Coffee’s seasonal program continues to garner new wholesale specialty retail stores and food service partner accounts and increased consumer direct sales at its own cafés and online store. The company’s Ethiopia Amaro Gayo seasonal coffee has been twice recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Barista Guild of America (BGA) to participate at #TEDCoffee at the TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Long Beach, California.

Design Edge Canada Regional Awards: Finalist, Salt Spring Coffee Seasonal Program, 2014

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