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Bag Art: Dogwood Coffee

This dog is up to new tricks.

by Randy Miller | January 19, 2021

You may have noticed a new guy at your mailbox recently, that's thanks to Dogwood Coffee. The Minneapolis, Minnesota roaster's coffee bags feature a fresh, whimsical design with a quirky cast of characters — including its mascot poodle, Wilson — created by a local artist in Montreal, Canada.

With an equal eye on design, function, and ecological impact, Dogwood's brand-new coffee bags are sure to sweeten up your coffee counter. Get the full story behind them, here.

Why did you redesign your bag?

It was time for an update — not only in the expression of design, but also in bag functionality, ecological impact, and also considerations in production efficiencies.

dogwood 01

Tell us about the bag design inspiration.

There’s a lot of layers to the inspiration and design. For one, we wanted to start by expressing the collective people that make up Dogwood. From the coffee producers we work with, to our staff, to our customers, (even our poodle) everyone has a place on the bag. Lots of characters, all participating in that coffee in the bag.

Another more subtle aspect is the use of pinks and reds. These colors express that we want to be a sweet coffee company — source and roast inherently sweet coffees and be sweet to everyone every step of the way. Other layers of design include: expressing playfulness, simplifying messaging, creating a uniquely identifiable design and lastly, finding a fun original way to communicate which coffee is in the bag.

Who designed the bag?

The illustrations are from Benoit Tardif, he’s just the best! A fellow hockey fan who lives in Montreal. I truly consider it an honor and privilege to work with him. He’s really a perfect fit for Dogwood. He’s previously done a number of illustrations for us and we also have another really exciting project that he’s working on now.

dogwood coffee 02

The overall bag design and stickering system/design was done by Sam Michaels from Studio on Fire here in St Paul. Sam has done a ton of incredible design work for us here at Dogwood and with this bag, she really pulled everything together. Studio on Fire also makes the stickers for us, doing all the letterpress, foil, and die cut work.

What brand messages do you hope the bag conveys?

We want people to quickly know that yes, we love coffee and are all about it, but beyond that, we are all about the people in and through the process.

How did you choose what to print on your bags?

We really simplified this compared to our previous bags. We used to try to communicate everything about the coffee we could fit on the label.

We now have a more focused approach stating blend or farm name and two flavor notes that we believe most people will taste. We’ve moved much more of the coffee/farm information to our website for those looking for that level of detail.

It was a conscious decision to simplify and streamline information in a way that we could imagine being appreciated by someone grocery shopping at Whole Foods or while in line at a coffee shop.

dogwood coffee 03

How do you name your blends?

Honestly, we just try to find a fun name that feels right for the blend and one that no one else in coffee has already used. We started 10 years ago with Neon (brighter flavor) for our espresso blend and Mixtape for our filter coffee blend. Over the years, we’ve added Zamboni® (cold brew blend), Bear Hug (deeper flavor espresso), Snow Emergency & Panorama (rotating seasonal blends) and we just added Futurist, our first-ever certified organic blend.

How did you consider sustainability?

From the beginning of this redesign process, we knew we would be moving into a biodegradable bag. We have a great bag manufacturing partner in TricorBraun Flex and we’re really happy with their Biotrē™ film that the bags are made from.

As a side note, we’re also currently working with Noissue on custom biodegradable mailers for shipping our coffee bags. We first learned and were introduced to Noissue by Trade and appreciate the work you did in pioneering these biodegradable mailers, so thank you!

— Dan Anderson, Owner, Dogwood Coffee