Playful Illustrations Bring NOP's Packaging To Life

by Casha Doemland on 01/23/2019 | 3 Minute Read

A bohemian eco café-shop located in the Kadriorg subdistrict of Estonian capital Tallinn, NOP has served as a hot spot for tourists and locals alike for the last decade.  Their popularity has even granted NOP the opportunity to sell their small snacks and treats in stores all around Estonia. But apart from a successful line of biscuits and granola, the only problem was a lack of consistency throughout their branding as their packaging, logos and typefaces changed annually. 

So, when NOP discovered Marju and Margus Tammik, a brother and sister duo who collaborate on projects in their free time, from a previous project they did for Estonian Roastery Coffee People, they immediately reached out.

We spoke to Marus and Marju about the two-year design process that changed the trajectory of NOP’s packaging line.


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Walk us through the design process. How did you go from start to finish on this project?

Margus: Our first step was to map all the packaging needs and decide the optimal amount of product and packaging types bearing in mind practical aspects - economics for owners and simplicity for us. 

We ended up with two types of packaging,  the first requiring stickable labels and the second, boxes for biscuits, granolas and snacks. As the latter is sold in shops and supermarkets outside NOP, the differentiation was essential.

Marju: As most of NOP products are handmade, we decided early on that this had to be the case with our design too. 

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The design elements cut from paper with scissors were in place quite early in the process. We wanted to create a set of figures that were a little angular and clumsy and then bring these to life in different visualizations and combinations.

Margus: We started simple and created repetitive wallpaper with a range of colors, which transformed into a complicated world of various images and colors based on different ingredients found in the products.  This proved to be the most challenging aspect of the design process. Eventually, each box received its own design and story. Our printing house was a great partner in this process, so from time to time, we created a series of prototypes to be tested on shop shelves.

For several reasons, the design process from ideation to finalization took nearly two years. Often long delays gave us a good opportunity to reconsider proposed solutions with fresh eyes and try out new versions, which would not have been possible with a tighter schedule.

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How did the Kadriorg neighborhood inspire the designs?

Marju: Kadriorg is one of the oldest and most historic areas of Tallinn. The area features a lot of original wooden architecture, including NOP themselves. They operate in a 100-year old wooden house that is charming and bohemian with its sagging floors and uneven walls. This is the vibe we wanted to bring to our design.

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In addition to cutting the designs out by hand, what other methods did you use to complete the final packaging? 

Margus: We created NOP typeface via scissors and paper as well. We use it on packages, menus and other important texts. For a secondary font, we use Eesti, created by Frilli Type Foundry. This typeface incorporates a sense of childishness with a touch of Estonian history, which seemed to fit the brand.

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Why did you opt for a window in the packaging?

Marju: The window is important as it allows the consumers to view the color and texture of the biscuits, granolas and other ingredients found inside. They are all different in this respect, and a closed packaged would have received less attention.

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