Derrick Lin


Agency: Mark Oliver Inc
Creative Director: Mark Oliver
Sr. Art Director: Patty Devlin-Driskel
Illustrator: Jeremy Sancha
Project Type: Produced
Client: Cafe Altura
Location: Solvang, USA
Packaging Contents: Coffee
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Film, Paper
Printing Process: Rotogravure, Flexography, Offset Litho, Digital printing

The Origins of Cafe Altura date back to the late 1970’s when a group of organic enthusiasts gathered in Ojai, California to live and work on a 75-acre citrus farm. Their idea was to farm the ranch organically and develop related businesses. One afternoon, a group of visitors told them a story of a farm in Mexico that had been growing coffee using organic and Biodynamic techniques for 20 years. They promptly went to Chiapas, Mexico and begin importing organically-grown coffee beans, becoming the first company in the U.S. to market organic coffee.

Cafe Altura has been in business for over thirty years, but the branding had not been updated since the 1980s. The team at MOI was given the assignment to “Modernize” and update the branding and packaging, stress organic, improve quality and value perceptions and “find-ability” in-store by improving brand-blocking. The design had to be applicable to all product categories: whole bean, ground (canned) and instant for more than 80 SKUs.

Our design strategy was to focus on the company’s authenticity — the real “story” behind the product; on organic ingredients; on superior, hand-made artisan quality sourced from small family farms; and on taste — great taste experience, not necessarily in that order. We created a narrative of the company history with the text and specific visual cues. An illustration of a farmer tending his coffee trees anchors the concept visually, focusing attention on the organically-grown family-farm product link. An “Aztec-style” pattern background is used in the panels and a clear sticker printed in black announces the type of coffee and its condition (ground, whole, etc). The selected design offers a warm, welcoming feeling to the consumer.

What’s Unique?
The Cafe Altura Coffee packaging project had a unique combination of printing methods and materials. Large coffee bags (2 lb and 5 lb) were printed Rotogravure in Asia, four color process and custom spot color. A master bag was printed for each size and flavor labels were printed flexo on rolls by a US printer which are hand applied, allowing for cost effective flavor line extensions. Instant coffee labels were printed in Germany four color process, Offset Lithography. Coffee can labels were printed in Los Angeles, four color process and custom spot color, using Flexography on a clear film with a metal backing. A second press pass was necessary to add the matte coating. Finally small 12 oz coffee bags were printed in the mid west using short run digital printing. With more than 80 SKUs printing world wide using a variety of printing methods and materials, it was a unique challenge achieving consistency across the line.