Featured image for Instant Coffee Brand Flash Fuel Gets An Adventurous Design Inspired By Vintage Camping Gear

Instant Coffee Brand Flash Fuel Gets An Adventurous Design Inspired By Vintage Camping Gear

by Chloe Gordon on 02/08/2023 | 3 Minute Read

There is an interesting divergence of humans: those that prefer the outdoors and those who would rather spend their time inside, often behind a screen. The former often find joy in the thrill of adventure and value exploring the unexplored. Yet, despite the division of preference, both indoors-y and outdoors-y folks can agree on one thing: nothing makes life feel more complete than a full cup of coffee to start a busy day, no matter what experience might lie ahead. 

Founded by two former forest firefighters, The Calgary Heritage Roasting Co. recently released its first instant coffee product. Because of the two founders' love for adventure and the outdoors, the brand tone and visuals needed to highlight their story and life experiences. 


The two turned to the creative studio We Are Trill to create a packaging system that felt like a legacy outdoors brand, ideal for any adventurous spirit. The Calgary Heritage Roasting Co. team developed the name "Flash Fuel," creating a matchbook-inspired starting point for Mark Rowe, We Are Trill's art director. 

The color palette found inspiration in vintage camping gear and packaging design, but the Flash Fuel aesthetic features a contemporary twist motivated by the current market of coffee drinkers. "I inherited my grandfather's old coffee percolator in the 60s. It's a Regal PolyPerk. It's long been associated with coffee and my youth; I wanted to capture those warm memories. The orange and brown colors were always so striking to me that when I initially ideated, I decided to build a palette based on them first," noted Rowe. "Then, I added an off-white color that I called 'used coffee filter beige' to justify its inclusion. I explored different iterations and swapped those colors around in the layout, but the orange base always drew my eye, so I decided it was the right path." 

The match strike bean pattern and vintage typography help push instant coffee away from its taboo flavor profile and into a space that values an on-the-go, thrill-seeking lifestyle. 


"I want the type to distinguish between classic and contemporary. Usually, in my advertising work, I bring in textures and elements to enhance the type and set a tone. For this project, I didn't want it to look old or vintage. Instead, I wanted it to re-interpret elements from a different era and modernize them," shared Rowe. "I picked a subtle serif typeface with enough character to emit that nostalgic feeling but also be unencumbered by too much personality. I needed something a bit neutral but had character." 

Creating a modern packaging design with a vintage aesthetic can be tricky, as finding an accurate, nuanced balance can be complex. Still, We Are Trill's work for Flash Fuel balances the intersection of past and present design aesthetics through an anticipated but authentic outdoorsy lens.