Ritual – Feel Good Coffee

Derrick Lin


Creative Agency: Good Stuff Partners
Designer: Aimee Kilmer
Project Type: Produced, Commercial Work
Client: Ritual Coffee
Location: San Francisco, US
Packaging Contents: Coffee
Packaging Materials: Compostable paper

We’ve been Ritual’s brand partners since the day they opened their first cafe in the Mission District of San Francisco back in 2005. Since then, we’ve all grown up an awful lot and it was time to revisit the original brand we’d created all those years ago. We’ve repositioned them and updated their brand identity, including their iconic logo. Once the new brand was set, it was time to apply the new look and feel across their line of coffee packaging.

Over the years, the bags had lost their logo’s recognizable cup and star and the design felt heavy. We transitioned from a non-recyclable foil bag to a compostable paper bag, bringing it in line with their customers sustainable lifestyle and giving it a more natural feel.

One of the design challenges we faced was creating only two different bags, one for espresso and one for everything else. The roasters needed flexibility for several different roasts every month and wanted to move away from using messy, non-recyclable stickers. The bags also needed to feel special in order to command premium pricing and needed to work harder to stand out on more ever crowded retail shelves.

We designed detachable paper belly bands that wrap around the bag to make it feel more like a gift. More importantly, it gave us the outside and inside surfaces to create messages not only about the coffee itself, but about the new Ritual brand. Now they can tell in-depth stories of farmers who grew the beans, educate coffee lovers with illustrated brew guides, announce cafe openings and events, and tell people that they believe being nice is just as important as making the best coffee.

Unique illustrations of their farmer partners brings authenticity and personality to the packaging. Ritual buys 98% of their beans directly from their producer partners, setting the highest standard in the industry. This makes sure they not only get their hands on the best beans in the world, but more importantly, their farmers maintain the quality of life they deserve. Telling this story is a critical component of the packaging. The perforated belly band has a detachable, wallet-size card. It’s a handy reminder for customers to use when it comes time to restock their favorite coffee. Friendly, detailed brew guides help Ritual share their great love of coffee in a fun and down-to-earth way. And because they can print the belly bands whenever they want, they have the freedom and flexibility to use them for more short term announcements and promotions.

What’s Unique?
The premium compostable bags have removable belly bands with a detachable, wallet-size card, helping customers remember their favorite beans so they can buy them again. Illustrated stories about their farmer partners, and friendly, detailed brew guides, help Ritual share their great love of coffee in a fun and down-to-earth way.

Award of excellence from Communication Arts 2016 design annual.