Pack of the Month: Target’s Archer Farms Redesign

Forget “employee of the month” or high school superlatives—this is The Dieline’s Packaging of the Month. This monthly feature offers an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at one of the most popular designs that’s appeared on the site. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about the designer or agency behind the product, why they designed it the way they did, and why we here at The Dieline love it. For September 2016, we spoke with David Hartman at the Target Creative Team about teaming up with Collins and the design for Archer Farms Fair Trade coffee.

Who: Target Creative Team partnered with bi-coastal brand consultancy Collins when redesigning the coffee for their in-house brand, Archer Farms. Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, is home to an array of brands, many of which are their own, such as Up & Up and Room Essentials. A makeover on any of their products requires meticulous planning and collaboration from many team members. Chief Creative Officer Todd Waterbury, Creative Director David Hartman, Associate Creative Director Steve Jockisch, and Designers Brad Norr and Luke Hunt worked together to expand the new and improved brews.

What: Bright and bold bags of Fair Trade coffee that entice the Target guest with a story. 

Target’s Archer Farms Redesign - http://bit.ly/2f9Jspf

Theresa: Why did you choose to partner with Collins for this particular project?

David Hartman: We understood from research that coffee is a complicated category for guests to navigate, regardless of brand, and our Archer Farms assortment is no different. It features a range of flavors, roasts, origins, fair trade and direct trade varieties with a better/best quality tiering and organic options. So, success for us meant a design solution that was both easy to shop, but also telegraphed taste cues, had lots of appetite appeal and delivered compelling region and origin stories. To deliver one part of that equation wasn’t enough—we had to do all 3. Given our previous experience in partnering on a range of successful branding and packaging assignments, we believed Collins would be able to provide a strategy and design system that achieved all of these objectives. And they did.

Theresa: Why did you opt for illustrations on the packaging, and why did you choose to go with the particular style you did?

David Hartman: Our previous Archer Farms coffee packaging was constrained by our print production—we were limited to small 2–color labels applied to the front of the bag. It was a severe design constraint given our retail environment and unfortunately, negatively affected our perceptions of quality with guests. With our new Archer Farms packaging, we dramatically elevated our capabilities. For example, we are able to print directly onto the foil substrate of the bag using as many as 8 colors—greatly expanding the range of potential solutions. And the opportunities for design. During the early stages of the creative development we landed on illustration as a scaleable solution that could effectively address the diverse needs of the assortment—in a way that photography could not. We developed 3 unique illustration styles for the program, working with 3 different global illustrators: Lan Truong (NYC) for flavored SKUs, Adrian Johnson (UK) for non-flavored SKUs and Tom Haugomat (France) for region specific, origin SKUs. 

Theresa: Why did you opt for a compartmentalized design that creates a specific location for all of the key product attributes?

David Hartman: We needed a design program that allowed our guest to make quick visual comparisons across a visually busy, highly complex 12 foot shelf set. A unified grid system at the top of each bag, with consistent placement of product names and attributes provided clear, easy navigation while allowing the illustrations at the bottom of the bag to deliver a variety of different stories. As part of this assignment, we also greatly expanded the toolkit for the Archer Farms brand including the color palette, typography and—of course—the illustration style, in order to flex our design solution to meet the specific needs of the coffee category. 

Theresa: Why is fair trade or direct trade coffee is better-tasting choice and how did you communicate that on the packaging?

David Hartman: Target was the first mass retailer to offer direct trade and fair trade coffee. It’s true. This means when we label something as fair trade or direct trade, we are directly connected to a specific farm or network of farms. And with our new assortment, we've expanded those offerings from 4 SKUs to 32 SKUs. Arguably, these types of coffee are better tasting because of the way the beans are grown and processed—without the use of harsh chemicals. The biggest way we tell this origin story is through our region and location specific illustrations, which serve as a window to the local communities where this coffee is grown (in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America and Central America). The color coding at the top portion of the bag also serves as an indicator to quality: the black background is reserved for our fair trade, direct trade, organic and natural options.

Theresa: Why did you opt for BPA-free packaging for the single-serve coffee pods, and what benefit does that have for the consumer and the environment?

David Hartman: Our single-serve pods have been redesigned using something called Real Cup technology to include BPA-free translucent packaging—the first of its kind at mass retail. And all of our single-serve pods benefit an organization called Waterwise, a clean water nonprofit committed to cleaning the water supply in Ethiopia by creating sustainable and innovative wet mills. We know that sustainability is important to our guests and being able to offer recyclable single serve cups was one way to demonstrate that we're paying attention to the smallest details around the guest experience of our owned brands.

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Why we love it / Why we picked it: Seeing the before and after photos of Archer Farms coffee products is a prime example of how simplifying and streamlining can be completely transformative. The information about each brew (such as whether it’s light, medium, or dark roast) is easy to locate, while vibrant illustrations by Adrian Johnson, Tom Haugomat, and Lan Truong instantly breathe life into the packaging. It gives consumers a visual “taste” of where the beans come from, showing the environment and helping consumers gain an understanding of the culture. 


Designed by: Target Creative Team & Collins

Target Creative
Chief Creative Officer: Todd Waterbury
Creative Director: David Hartman
Associate Creative Director: Steve Jockisch
Designers: Brad Norr, Luke Hunt

Collins
Chief Creative Officer: Brian Collins
Creative Director: Nicholas Rezabek
Design Director: Jules Tardy
Designer: Flora Chan
Producer: Courtney Shares


David is the Creative Director of the Brand Design Lab at Target, a specialized design and innovation team whose mission is to create brands and design experiences that delight guests, improve their daily lives and deepen their relationship with Target.