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Featured image for Mr. Black Panama Geisha

Mr. Black Panama Geisha

by Elizabeth Freeman on 07/19/2016 | 4 Minute Read

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Since winning The Dieline 2014 awards, Mr. Black has grown an outstanding reputation for making the best coffee liqueur in the world, or as they put it; ‘caffeinated boozy perfection’. This year, the Australian brand wanted to raise the bar with a very special, limited edition, Mr. Black. It was a dream job for  Co Partnership, a design agency that specialize in premium drinks packaging and a team of coffee nerds who go out of their way for great coffee every morning. A perfect fit. 

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Known as a miracle of nature, the Panama Geisha has won every coffee competition for years. So many times in fact, that it was put into a class of its own, known as the ‘Best of Panama’ – the Olympic games of coffee. As if it couldn’t get any better, this year’s winning batch from the Auromar Estate belonged to Mr. Black. The packaging brief was to create an exceptionally limited ‘farm-to-glass’ coffee liqueur, using the rare, Panama Esmerelda Geisha bean - the most prized coffee in the world. To begin the challenge, Co Partnership explored the world’s relationship with Panama and sought inspiration in the distinctive look and feel of their famous cigars. They noticed a resemblance with the diamond shaped label of Mr. Black and the intricate cigar bands famous of the country. This gave them a way to bring provenance into the design, without changing the dieline and shape of the label, a recognisable brand equity. 

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Using beautiful paper stocks and rich, coffee gold foils, the team handcrafted the flourishes on the label design to within an inch of its life. This included a custom neckband, which was dipped into black wax to seal the closure. Hand touches were brought into the sides of the label to tell the story of each unique batch and bottle number - of which there are only 289 - details that make the prize, for those that are lucky enough to win the ballot. At the same time, the team set about to commission the artwork for the famous ‘back label’ reveal. Building on the brand's existing nocturnal theme, Co Partnership art directed UK illustrator Greg Coulton to create a custom ‘Spectacled’ native Panama owl. By cropping closer into the image, the screen-printed illustration became more intense and turned up the volume when seen together with the front label. Simplicity isn’t something you see much of in Panama. The Liqueur, in collaboration with Campos, will be conducted through online ballot only, with winners chosen at random will be announced on the 12th August.

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Owl Illustration: Greg Coulton Printing: Multi-Colour Corporation / Peter White Photography: Guy Davies

Designed by Co Partnership

Country: Australia 

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