Pop & Pac’s fun and friendly packaging bucks Melbourne’s minimalist coffee scene

Coffee receipt-inspired, unpretentious and “quite literal”: Pop & Pac speaks about creating a coffee brand for everyone.

15 August 2022


“The brief from the client was to be bold and colourful, it was as almost as simple as that,” Melbourne-based design agency Pop & Pac reflects on its most recent work for coffee shop Otherside. This could seem a fairly run-of-the-mill brief, but for Melbourne’s coffee scene, where the coffee brand has set up shop, the affable approach is a bit more of an anomaly. “The specialty coffee industry in Melbourne has a tendency to lean towards ultra minimalistic design,” Pop & Pac explain. While a mysteriously sterile coffee bar might entice some customers, it doesn’t always promote approachability. So the design agency has focused on inclusivity, coming up with branding, packaging and a creative strategy that will welcome “everyone else” through the doors.

To shift away from coffee as a secret club, Pop & Pac has gone unashamedly literal. The forms that define the brand are plucked directly from behind the coffee bar – a tamper, milk jug, cups of varying shapes and sizes. This deliberately unpretentious outlook becomes all the more clever when considering the landscape. “We wanted to instil a certain level of familiarity in the brand, given the many aspects it played in quite different areas to what you typically see in the coffee industry here in Melbourne.”


Pop & Pac: Otherside (Copyright © Pop & Pac, 2022)

That’s not to say that the Otherside branding is plain. 3D colour-block forms intersect excitingly with type on the project. Inspired by coffee orders and receipts, typography is organised in printed lines, even occasionally mirrored or distorted to stretch across a portafilter. The attention paid to coffee receipts is a further homage to how diverse orders are and “how skilled a barista must be to create the perfect cup for each customer”, Pop & Pac adds. This also links back to one of Otherside’s core brand aims, to represent everyone’s orders, especially those that don’t “feel part of the ‘accepted norm’”.

Further details include the addition of Favorit from Dinamo, which makes for a simple logotype “with subtleties that made it feel unique”. Pop & Pac lists Bauhaus sensibilities as a point of reference for the project, particularly the aim to combine aesthetics with everyday function.

Meanwhile, the packaging created for coffee bags centres on the idea of cups of coffee stacking up over the course of a day – nodding to drinkers who rely on multiple cups to get going. In line with the brand, these cups appear in different shapes, sizes and tones when stacked together, a subtle reference once more to the multiplicity of orders.

GalleryPop & Pac: Otherside (Copyright © Pop & Pac, 2022)

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Pop & Pac: Otherside (Copyright © Pop & Pac, 2022)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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