They say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". ReAnimator found that lesson firsthand in the process of redesigning their coffee bags, when they decided the beloved art featured on ReAnimator's seasonal blends would become a part of every ReAnimator coffee.
Combining the playful illustrations of local artist Cat Park with the medieval wood etching that had become ReAnimator's mascots, this Philadelphia roaster was onto something really special with their new bag designs. Join us as we explore the end result two years in the making — and more than well worth the wait.
Why did you redesign your bag?
We started the redesign process almost two years ago now. It started kind of naturally, as for a while, we had been working with an artist named Cat Park, who is an old friend of mine from the music scene.
Cat was doing custom artwork for our seasonal blend stickers, as well as doing some reimagining of our logo in her own impressionist style for random merchandise we’d release. Over time, we sort of realized how much we loved Cat’s aesthetic, and how much better it seemed to suit the brand as a whole. We also saw that our customers really loved anything we released with that same aesthetic. So at a certain point, the question became, "Why don’t we just have our normal bags look like this?" And we took it from there.
Tell us about the bag design inspiration.
Once we had our inspiration for the redesign, we started to think of some other objectives for the bag. One was to add the kangaroo pouch zipper, just for customer convenience, and the other was more major, which was to have two separate bags: one for blends and one for single origins.
This would solve one of our biggest problems with our old bags, which was that in order to differentiate blends from single origins on the shelf, all of the blends had the same color sticker. However, that created a new problem where visually, all of the blends looked the same, and had no individual personality. So solving that problem was a huge priority.
Who designed the bag?
The bag was designed in collaboration with Cat Park for all of the main assets, and then a local design firm called The Heads of State, who took the raw materials, as well as some thematic ideas from us, and put it together into a cohesive package.
Tell us about the guys on the bag.
The “mascots,” as we often refer to them, are really integral to the brand. They’ve gone through so many revisions over the years, from the original which was taken straight from a medieval wood etching, to various “cleaned up” versions over the years.
There’s such a strong connection to them for people who have been customers for a long time. When we removed them from being front and center on our previous bag, we definitely heard about it. So it’s really exciting to have them back in the spotlight, in yet another new revision. In many ways, they are the brand.
What brand messages do you hope the bag conveys?
We feel the bags are an incredible combination of something that is sort of understated and classic, but also a little bit irreverent and not too serious.
There’s obviously inspiration from artists like Henri Matisse and 20th century art exhibition posters. I just hope that they’re an aesthetic that makes people feel good, and something you’d be excited to have sitting on your kitchen counter and looking at every morning while you make your coffee. I know we feel that way.
How did you choose what to print on your bags?
Over the years, we’ve tried to get as simple as possible with what goes on the bags, and leaving more of the heavy lifting to the website if people want really granular details on the coffees.
So generally, we provide the producer name, country of origin, region of origin, processing method, and our tasting notes. We feel like that’s the baseline information that most coffee consumers are after.
If someone is really curious about the specific varietal, how we sourced the coffee, or anything more specific, they can either find it on our website, or just ask us! But we feel like what’s on the sticker right now is a perfect baseline to make a decision and have a good feel for what you’re getting, without bogging things down too much with every little detail. We also slap the roast date on the bottom of each bag.
How do you name your blends?
The blend names came up pretty naturally over time. In the old days, we literally had one blend, and called it “Espresso.” But when we decided to take things a bit more seriously, we started with Foundation, which, kind of explains itself. It’s a foundational blend for us, and serves a purpose as a nice baseline for either drip coffee or espresso.
The next was Keystone, which was a bit of an homage to our state. Honestly, naming blends is kind of a weird exercise… so our instinct is to just keep things really simple and not overthink it. It’s nice having seasonal blends that we can just call “Autumn,” or “Winter,” or whatever.