Salvador Coffee Branding by Co Partnership

Shillington Sydney was honoured to have Co-Partnership come in for a talk recently on Packaging. We spoke with awarding-winning designer Zoe Green to tell us about the process of branding Salvador Coffee.


Co-partnership specialises in giving brands a voice. Tell us about this process for Salvador Coffee

Co Partnership are coffee snobs. Max, our director, is a trained barista and has been a fan of Salvador Coffee after discovering its flagship store in Darlinghurst. They make amazing coffee, full of taste and flavour, but their branding was weak and as a result they weren’t getting their product onto the shelves. Design matters!

Over time a friendship grew between Max and the owner Marcio and to cut a long story short we got the job to put the oomph into his packaging that he needed. Like many independent clients, we didn’t get a brief. All Marcio said was he didn’t want the ‘hipster’ look and feel of many coffee brands, it just wasn’t him. So we had to write our own brief that resonated around its authentic brand story.

What kind of challenges did you face in doing this?

Emotionally the biggest challenge was to try and not create something hipster-looking. It’s so easy to fall into this aesthetic in the coffee world. Practically, the biggest challenge was the one we set ourselves; to create a core identity that worked alongside five unique identities for each blend—a lot of work! Once this was established it was a huge challenge to try and create graphics that looked authentic. We were inspired by South American and Spanish cigarette papers which would have been used around the time Quintana Salvador was making coffee, Marcio’s grandfather, and the inspiration behind the brand.


How does a brand with a rich story differ from one that doesn’t have a brand story?

The quick answer to this is that one is significantly more work than than the other.

At the end of the day if you don’t have a brand story you have to invent one.

In some cases there is nothing to go on and you just have to search and research and pull together everything you’ve got to build on. It’s weeks of work and this is even before the design stage gets going. Unfortunately not every design agency does this so there are brands out there floating around with no real meaning behind their graphics. These days people see right through it. Brands need to be smart, savvy, and authentic. They have to find their brand story and use it, and that responsibility comes down to the the client and the agency.

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You have experience in the UK and USA markets. What are the main differences with working with Australian brands?

For me the main difference is more business opportunities but less risk taking. I meet more brands/clients in Australia with huge global potential but with a local mindset and a risk averse nature. It is so frustrating.

Anything else you want to tell us…

To all the design students out there—don’t work for free—it devalues our industry and wrongly educates that design is a cheap service that doesn’t take that long. How wrong is that! Imagine if you came up with a white bird in a box and then that went on to be the identity for Twitter. Someone is laughing all the way to the bank, and it’s not you.


Thank you to Zoe Green from Co-Partnership for taking the time to speak with us!

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