Of the major coffee chains, I’ve always found Peet’s to have the least appealing brand. Even though their coffee is usually better than the other large chains, I tend avoid it for this reason. I’ve never felt completely comfortable in their stores, which always seem more fitting to a grandmother than your typical urban dwelling coffee drinker. And their attempt to feel like an Old World trader on the Silk Road, falls short of authentic. With Caribou and Seattle’s Best freshening up their brand, is Peet’s next? A couple design students have recently taken the liberty to do so for them.
The first, and nicer of the two, is by Tomoko Ogino who is a student at Art Center College of Design. This direction is modern, but remains soft and inviting to those who would normally be turned off by such a thing. Tomoko uses a high-tech clear bag, normally unused for quality reasons, that supposedly protects the beans from harmful UV light. This immediately makes the packaging unique from the competition and allows the product to speak for itself. The bag tags also allows for an efficient and flexible system to replace the old one that required different bags to be printed for each bean.
The second direction was designed by Chul Lee, also from the Art Center College of Design. While I understand that school is a place for exploration and I appreciate Chul’s work for pushing what’s expected of coffee packaging, I don’t think it’s very realistic. Unlike Tomoko’s modern redesign, which makes the brand approachable by a broad demographic—this direction polarizes the brand too much for Peet’s market. Cardboard packaging also wouldn’t be ideal to retain the freshness of the coffee—unless it were lined—adding to the cost and complexity of production.
Both redesigns are better than Peet’s current brand and either would entice me to actually stop in their stores more often. It’s nice to see students capable of showing large companies how much better they could be, if only they would invest in design.