Pack of the Month: Sol Gives Us The Brazilian Vibes We So Desperately Need Right Now

by Bill McCool on 01/29/2021 | 4 Minute Read

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Most of us are probably planning our dream vacation when the pandemic is finally over, and we can actually, you know, GO places once again. I’d wager you have about three or four tabs open right now for some epic daydreaming and wanderlust.

Missing her native Brazil, JKR’s Lilia Quinaud invented the coffee concept Sol—she not only wanted to explore her roots but the home she could not visit because of COVID-19. Plus, she wanted a balm to escape those cold and grey London mornings, and what better way than to do that with a vibrant Brazillian coffee.

Now that we’re knee-deep in winter, Sol was an obvious choice for January’s Pack of the Month. We spoke with Lilia about the inspiration behind her design and the glorious Brazillian foliage that graces her darling coffee concept.

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Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

With Sol, I wanted to develop a brand identity with absolute creative freedom that spoke personally to me and my roots. One of the things I miss the most from Brazil is coffee. That gave me the initial idea for this project—a delicious Brazilian organic coffee, packaged in six rich earthy blends, with a colorful visual identity to brighten up grey mornings. The typography was the first thing to be developed and set the tone for everything else.

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Why was Brazil the inspiration for the packaging concept?

In my experience, living abroad makes you create stronger connections with your own country—I think many expatriates will relate to this. It has made me reflect a lot about Brazilian culture and how that has shaped my creativity as a designer. I wanted to create something that spoke to that, an homage to the country I missed.

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What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Sol packaging, and how did you accomplish it?

I've been working in studios for years, so most of the projects I work on are designed by a team and take months—sometimes years—to conclude. One of my goals with Sol was kind of the opposite of that. To develop something with a quick turnaround, and that was 100% me. To achieve that, I only had to trust my gut and do the kind of work that makes me smile.

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What was the most challenging part of this project?

There are many "tropical" inspired products out there, so one of the main challenges was to make sure I was creating something original and not falling into any visual clichés when speaking about Brazil. By using an abstract illustration style, inspired by Henri Matisse's cut-out prints, I hoped to nod to the iconic fauna and flora without making them too obvious.

For the flavors of the coffee, you matched them to six different regions in the country. How did you determine the look and feel of the packaging for each one?

Brazil is extremely biodiverse, comprising 70% of the world's cataloged animal and plant species. We might remember the Amazon and the beautiful beaches, but there's so much more than that! I wanted each flavor to represent one of its six biomes, hoping to also educate myself a little bit more about my own country. I had to do extensive research on the fauna, flora, and flavors in each of them and decide which elements felt right for the design composition. I haven't been myself to all of those places yet (a shame!) but will definitely go someday.

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If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel proud of, what would it be and why?

I especially like the custom typeface, which also appears in the wordmark; it has a nice balance of sharp and sinuous that speaks to the visual concept. I find typography extremely hard to get right, so I'm proud to have developed something that feels modern and unique.

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Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Even though I wanted the design to be naturally rich and colorful, I had to find a balance to make sure the brand was clear and readable on the pack. Simplicity is key.

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Seeing that this was inspired by a longing to go back home, what will you do when you finally see your family again?

I'm happy to say I'm currently in Brazil! I was able to come here with my husband before Christmas, and we're staying for a few months, as London is still in lockdown. It was very special seeing everyone after such a lonely year. I feel really grateful for being safe and able to work for a company in the UK while staying with my family.

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