This project was an exercise in graphic design and branding. My goal was to create a series of packaging labels for a coffee product in the style of mid-century modern graphics from the 1950's - 1960's.
The label would include an icon set, brand name, an illustration, and required information for manufacturing (nutrition facts, net weight, and a barcode).
To get a sense of graphic design from this era, I researched popular design trends of the time. One of the first things I noticed was the use of color. Commercial artists and designers often featured vibrant primary colors in their work. Red hues were especially popular.
Packaging design relied on bold text with simple color palettes. Typefaces varied, but the most popular pairing tended to be a mix between handwritten fonts and bold serifs.
Commercial Illustrations had two distinct styles. There were modernist paintings rendered in excruciating detail from artists like Mac Conner (work depicted above). These were well suited for advertising, but less common in mid-century packaging design.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, character illustration depicted stylized cartoon characters. The United Productions of America (UPA) Studio is accredited for applying the sensibilities of post-modern art to American cartoons by making use of negative space, hard lines and flat, geometric shapes.
With these trends in mind, I ideated concepts that fit within this defined aesthetic.
I sketched with a few different styles and techniques in Procreate. This was one of my first times experimenting with halftones, which is an element I kept in the final design. The second drawing with the two cartoon characters got me thinking that this coffee brand should be something people could use on the go. So I decided to focus on making the coffee packaging a label for cans rather than a box.
The typefaces shown above are ones I explored before settling on the final font. These aren't fonts that existed during the time they were inspired by. However, they lead me to finding a versatile typeface that works well for both mid-century and contemporary designs; Monument Extended.
Monument Extended has the qualities of typefaces from almost a century ago. It's a combination of fonts such as Monument (1928), Venus (1909) and more recent fonts like Mars Extended (2018). When used in all caps the typeface has a very contemporary look. However, when used with lowercase letters the font is very stylized. While other fonts captured the style of the era I was aiming for, I also wanted a font that was easily legible and timeless. Monument Extended met both of these criteria so I used this typeface for my final design.
This is a coffee brand for people on the go, and I wanted the name of the brand to reflect that. Eventually I decided on InstaBrew. When typed in Monument Extended the brand name also works as a logo. The coffee's flavor is written in bold on a coffee mug just under the brand name. A trail of halftone smoke leads from the mug and reaches around the can to the three instructional icons, and finally a stylized illustration of a couple enjoying their breakfast.
Made in Photoshop & Illustrator