Packaging Design : The key to success


With the improvement of living standards and consumption level, people began to pursue a higher quality of life. Coffee brands also began to pay attention to the packaging of the products to meet their consumers’ need.

Many people like to drink a cup of Starbucks coffee in their leisure time, some people do it to taste the coffee, some people do it to get a Starbucks cup. Let’s see how Starbucks become “Star cups”. 

As a famous chain brand, not just for Christmas, Starbucks launched a limited paper cup with the seasonal characteristic in different holidays every year. In March 2017, for example, Starbucks celebrated the season of spring with its special spring hot beverage cup which has three different colors for choice: blue, yellow and green. 1

spring cups

(Starbucks Spring Cups) 2

No doubt that “Christmas cup” is still the most famous seasonal cup of Starbuck which began releasing 21 years ago (since 1977). Each Christmas season, Starbucks will launch one different paper cup which is distinct from the original one. Due to this type of cup always added by typical Christmas symbol—the Christmas tree, snowman and so on, these cups which have strong festival atmosphere are expected to be very popular with consumers. Data show that every Christmas holiday season, Starbucks’s sales figures are particularly good. Though not the result completely due to limited Christmas paper cup, but it absolutely serious effect on sales promotion. 3


(Starbucks Red Cup) 1

In addition to holiday limited paper cup, Starbucks launched mark cup, vacuum cup which also attracts the Starbucks fans. The most famous is the basis of the Starbucks mark cup series – city limit model. As Starbucks has stores all over the world, you could go to any store located in different cities to purchase the limit cup with local characteristics and special packaging which is a very memorable collection. 1

IMG_8319-copy city

(Starbucks City Coffee Mugs) 4

Starbucks coffee packaging is undoubtedly successful, not only with the holiday limited paper cups but also the packaging of its flat bottom coffee bags, such as the Starbucks VIA instant coffee series and House Blend Series. Starbucks’s design team use storytelling elements outside the bag which also mixed art elements with the influence of era. The descriptive text helps consumer easily to divide a different kind of coffee. With the storytelling elements, enabling the consumer to learn more about the tastes they love. Since the newest coffee bag is more focus on the artistry, as the packaging reflects the creativity and skill and particular color that helps people easier to distinguish from different beans or flavors of coffee than before. Starbucks is also famous with the placement of its easily identifiable logo (on the front and center) of its coffee pouches. So although there are many different varieties of coffee on the market, consumers could still figure it out on the shelves easily. 5


(Descriptive text with the story, roast and tasting notes) 6


(Starbucks House Blends) 7


Compared with Starbucks, Mc Café design philosophy is more simple. Mainly focus on the design principle of modern simple and feeling of freshness by bright and warm yellow color which could make people think of McDonald’s because of its icon color is yellow. In addition, McCafe began to release the seasonal takeaway coffee cup that might attract more and more potential consumers. 8


(McCafé takeaway cup) 8

The other two famous brands– Nespresso and Nescafé, both belong to Nestle S.A., are more focus on the coffee capsule and coffee machine. Nespresso use recycled materials for its capsules, in addition to the limited design, all capsule packing use the simple and modern design. 9 Nescafé, as an internationally well-known brand, strives to achieve global brand consistency in appearance, and try to cater to the different market. It tries to find a balance between the two. 105510108c6f775.jpg

(Nespresso capsule and coffee machine) 9


(Nescafé) 10

Data shows that the packaging design of Starbucks is undoubtedly more successful than lots of coffee brands. It tightly grasps the customer demand and constantly updated the outer packing.  And Mc Café‘s packing design focused on its brand image. The packaging of Nespresso and Nescafé focus on materials. It basically is to use green environmental protection material, do not pay too much attention to the design. Therefore, Nestle made a big decision: Alliances with Starbucks, Nestle will pay $7.15 billion to Starbucks in an exchange outside Starbucks products worldwide marketing rights. This decision makes nestle brand has the advantage of the packaging design in the future. It could learn more from the Starbucks design team. 11 We could say, nowadays, that the packaging is getting more and more important for a brand. It such a key for success which could help brands to get more consumers.



  1. 说吧星巴克,你其实是卖杯子的吧. (2017, October 20). Retrieved from

  2. Koerber, B. (2017, March 09). Starbucks releases special spring cups for the first time ever. Retrieved from

  3. 大学生就业迷茫,「很懂你」想帮 … – (2017). Retrieved from
  4. M., L. (2017). This will Shock you! Collecting Starbucks City Coffee Mugs for a Major Jolt. Retrieved from
  5. Nader, B. Why Coffee Packaging Like Starbucks Succeeds at Storytelling, Design. Retrieved from
  6. New packaging comes to Starbucks Stores. (2018). Retrieved from
  7. Starbucks Coffee Bag. Retrieved from
  8. McCafe Packaging Redesign by Boxer Brand Design for McDonald’s. (2018, February 07). Retrieved from
  9. 品深设计. 相关案例. Retrieved from
  10. S. 雀巢咖啡包装设计. Retrieved from雀巢咖啡
  11. 联 (Ed.). (2018, May 08). 雀巢将付星巴克近百亿元 组成全球咖啡联盟. Retrieved from

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