Tailored Coffee has been roasting and serving coffee in Eugene for just over four years. In that time, their minimalist coffee design has evolved with a little help from designer knxwfuture out of Austin, Texas. Inspired by Erykah Badu’s Worldwide Underground album art, their bags of coffee feature hand-drawn black-and-white illustrations. Like Badu’s own illustrations, they are detailed and whimsical. Each offering features a label with a different bright, vibrant color. To learn more, we talked to Tailored Coffee’s manager Zane Derven.

Tell us a bit about Tailored Coffee.

Tailored Coffee Roasters was started by Brian Sung in 2014. We have a small cafe in Eugene, Oregon where we also roast our coffee. Our approach emphasizes clarity, showcasing coffee’s inherent sweetness. Brian grew up with both of his parents in the restaurant business so we also try to bring that culinary flare.

Despite being a university town, Eugene is a largely homogenous place. It’s mostly older white folks with the same income, the same lifestyle. Brian is Korean-American so he wanted to curate a place where everybody else could come do their thing. We play the music we like and serve the coffee we want to drink. It’s something we never had growing up here. We’re basically the Lil Uzi Vert of the coffee game.

Who designed the package?

When we first started, we wanted to match the minimalist aesthetic of our space. We had these really simple matte black bags with white lettering. It looked great inside the cafe but when you took them anywhere else they lacked personality. We decided to make something that would capture the vibe and experience of our shop for people who had never been in before.

The inspiration for the design itself started with Erykah Badu’s Worldwide Underground album cover. We’re huge Badu fans and Brian was playing with the idea of having these little words or pictures written all over the bags. Because words looked too distracting next to the names of coffees, origins, and things like that, we went with images. After drawing up some sketches, we sent the concept to our friend knxwfuture, an artist based out of Austin, Texas, who drew the final product.

We love that we got to collaborate with knxwfuture on this design. He was living in Eugene a few years ago and would come into the shop to work and talk about hip-hop. His projects are often for labels or recording artists. Having someone who was once a customer here contribute to the product speaks to the kind of community we want to create. It’s all about being a two-way street.

We love the illustrations. Does each image/icon have a story?

We made a list of things we like, the different influences on the crew at Tailored. Every piece was definitely part of a larger conversation, whether our affinity for finding new ramen spots or growing up seeing pictures of Timberland boots in Rap Pages. The walls at Tailored are lined with albums and the most common conversation here is about music… “yo, you hear that new tape?” We wanted this musical identity to be very present in our packaging. There are some secrets hidden on the bag too, but you’ll have to decipher those for yourselves.

Tailored Coffee illustrations by knxwfuture.

When did the coffee package design debut?

We brought the bags to Seattle for the Specialty Coffee Expo last spring (2017).

What type of package is it?

280-gram foil-lined pouches.

Where is the bag manufactured?

We order from PBFY Flexible Packaging in Brea, California.

Where is Tailored Coffee currently available?

Most recently we have been working with the legendary Barista in Portland, Oregon and

Narrative Coffee in Everett, Washington. We are coming for your town next.

You can always visit Tailored Coffee online or just stop in Eugene if you wanna hear the new speakers. Come through!

Company: Tailored Coffee
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Country: United States
Release Date: April 2017
Designer: knxwfuture

Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.

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