Creative Agency: Pilot
Creative Director: Erik Weikert, Bill Concannon
Designer: Sean Morse
Copywriters: Chris Antonowich, Sergio Boppel, Marcelo Urjel
Project Type: Produced, Commercial Work
Client: Great Circle Coffee
Location: Miami, U.S.A.
Packaging Contents: Coffee
Packaging Materials: Kraft Paper

Great Circle came to market with the goal of leading the burgeoning craft coffee industry. Pilot kicked it into “high test” territory.

After leaving their jobs in the banking industry to start a coffee roastery, Great Circle Owners Sergio Boppel and Marcelo Urjel needed to build a brand that could live up to the quality of their product and the mission of their company.

Our team strategically set out to build their brand from the foundation up. We listened wholeheartedly to their story and helped them refine their message into a concise mission statement. Through imagining their brand as a person, five key attributes were identified that defined their vision for the company. These five brand pillars, mission statement and brand story allowed us to brainstorm optimal names for their company. Our options needed to be memorable, yet more importantly, reflective of the brand and the story.

The name Great Circle quickly rose to the top. It spoke directly to their “high tide lifts all boats” philosophy, while also being a geographical reference to the earth’s equator and coffee belt that parallels it. It was a natural fit. The tagline “Roasted with Care” enforced their mission statement while also bringing context to them as a roastery.

Once we had all agreed upon a name, our team started concepting how we could visually bring our work in the brand foundation to life. We measured our design decisions against the attributes of the brand pillars — these became our measuring sticks to which we could analyze our work. The design team explored, in great depth, potential directions for the identity. We met regularly as a team to discuss our work. Coffee shops and our “coffee room” held most of our discussions.

A heart was a natural concept for the identity. It spoke directly to their passion for the product and compassion of their mission. The construction was also designed to incorporate a “G” for Great Circle while overall reflecting the forms of the cross section of a coffee bean. We paired the heart icon with a palette of typography that pulled its inspiration from times when handcrafted goods were the norm.

With the identity established, the design team moved on to exploring packaging concepts. We devised a range of options to help us determine the right direction for Great Circle. We needed to identify suitable application methods that could be logistically feasible for a small two-man roastery. We also developed iterations that explored different levels of product and brand hierarchy.

The final packaging solution was a dynamic label system that utilized one common label size for for both single origin and blend roasts to simplify logistics and lower the required packaging inventory. As a small roastery, the single product label allowed Great Circle flexibility to bring a small run of products to market. We paired a bright color with the utilitarian typography to easily communicate different product segments. Over-arching brand information was fit into one label on the back of the packaging to succinctly communicate Great Circle’s mission. The Great Circle team was pleased with the results.

“Finding a creative partner who could effectively translate our story, ideas and vision into a powerful and well crafted brand identity package was a key strategic priority for us in order to differentiate as a new company in a competitive market,” said Sergio Boppel, Co-Owner at Great Circle Coffee Roasters. “We have been fortunate to work with Pilot’s high-caliber and highly collaborative design team on every aspect of our branding. From polishing our brand story, to naming the business, crafting our packaging and building our web presence, Pilot has become a true partner to us and has delivered results beyond our expectations.”

The final step in bringing the Great Circle brand to market was developing an ecommerce solution that provided customers with an easy ordering platform for both one-time and subscription purchases.

Shortly after developing the brand, Great Circle was able to strike its first major deal — supplying beans and brew to the luxury 1 Hotel in Miami. With a strong brand that upholds their story, Great Circle is poised to win the hearts of local and national consumers.

What’s Unique?
The packaging design took into consideration the production capabilities of a startup 2-man roastery. We kept the applications simple (1 front label and 1 back label) to minimize production time and designed the heirarchy of information so that it could be easily updated by the client. Allowing them to quickly produce labels for small run and limited batch products.