Joe Coffee

Joe Coffee

Square One Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lansing, Michigan, 2010


Project brief: Paramount Coffee, a leading Midwest roaster based in Lansing, Mich., asked us to develop new packaging that would help them extend mid-market sales outside the region they’d been serving.

Approach: Early in the process of package design, we realized there was even more potential in creating a whole new brand. Our insight was that first-time purchases are based on package design—not taste—and a memorable brand makes repeat purchases that much easier. We looked at the shelves and focused on creating something that would stand out from the competition.

We chose the name Joe as a simple shorthand for good coffee that could be appreciated by “the average Joe.” Along with the name, we developed a bold, graphic design with a unique character and a sense of humor to forge connections with consumers. The first round of flavors, including “Wake Up Joe” and “Tall, Dark, and Handsome,” were so successful that we’ve since helped Joe’s family grow with a line of flavors for his wife, Joy, and his son Jr., whose premium flavors are sold in smaller, junior-size bags.

Effectiveness: Joe helped Paramount make the leap from a good coffee to an attention-getting brand. It’s now one of Paramount’s top sellers and has expanded their reach to consumers on both coasts.

When our client introduced Joe at the National Food Show, he was overwhelmed by the positive interest in the brand. This success opened Paramount’s eyes to the power of branding. To date, we have created six new lines in addition to the Joe family, with more in the works. The “Ho Ho Holiday Blend” with its “Naughty” and “Nice” flavors was a supermarket favorite in 2010.

Paramount now considers us an integral part of its team and is actively pursuing more creative ways to increase its share of the market.

Juror Notes

Surprisingly refreshing in a category that has been beaten to death.

Collections: AIGA 365: Design Effectiveness (2011)
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Package design
Format: Package