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Pavement Refreshes Utopian Coffee's Branding and Packaging

by Rudy Sanchez on 05/04/2023 | 3 Minute Read

Founded by backpacking vagabond Brendon Maxwell, Utopian Coffee aims to provide craft coffee without compromising on fair pricing and ethical, sustainable coffee supply chains. 

They also believe that making good coffee means making it more meaningful through endeavors like Cocaine to Coffee, an initiative that supports former coca farmers and their transition from growing the illicit crop to growing coffee, which thrives in the area.


Utopian Coffee recently enlisted Pavement Design to update its branding and visual identity. The refresh includes a packaging overhaul to reflect where Utopian’s coffee beans come from and the brand's origins. 

“The client wanted to infuse a good dose of personality on top of the existing brand, which at the time featured a basic blue bag,” said Michael Hester, principal and creative director, Pavement. “The brand didn't fully tell the story of the owner or the level of craft that went into the coffees Utopian was producing. They really wanted to create something unique and memorable that told its story better so it could stand out amongst other prominent third-wave coffee roasters.”


Replacing the more austere blue coffee bag design is a more vibrant look with full-bleed illustrations inspired by the natural inhabitants of coffee plantations, like a hummingbird approaching a coffee flower or a butterfly perched atop a leaf, both surrounded by coffee branches replete with berries.


Bag labels are also streamlined, removing the more colorful elements like the roast profile scale and the country of origin’s flag. The update provides essential information like tasting notes without clashing with Utopian’s new and colorful bags. What's more, Pavement carefully evolved the logotype into something elegant.


“‘Utopian’ is such a great brand name, so we wanted to bring that to life visually as best as possible,” Hester explained. “Colorful and vintage botanical illustrations served as the main influence towards the new brand but were reinterpreted in a modern way. The brand illustrations captured this sense of a Garden of Eden, or ‘utopia,’ to romanticize the tropical origins of the coffees the owner was sourcing firsthand through his world travels. The work of illustrator Teagan White really captured this well, so we partnered with them to create the brand illustration that served as the centerpiece of the packaging redesign.”

The coffee plant grows within the Earth’s tropical belt, typically in elevations between 4,000-5,000 feet. That includes secluded highlands and lush and complex rainforests in places like Honduras, Brazil, Indonesia, Keyna, and Ethiopia. Utopian’s new brand identity visually honors the wild and beautiful nature where coffee is grown while continuing to support those along the supply chain through attention-grabbing packaging that stands out among other coffee roasters.