As such, when Peruvian design strategy consultancy Infinito was approached by an established coffee exporter looking to roll out a new high-quality coffee, they knew the challenge would be unique.
“They asked us to come up with a name and package design for a new, gourmet, premium line of coffees,” says Claudia Boggio, CEO of Infinito. “They wanted something sophisticated and elegant aimed at upper-class Peruvians. They also wanted the design to have an ecological and environmentally friendly approach.”
As inspiration for finding the right identity for the client, Infinito considered the rich and textured history of coffee growing in Peru. Most Peruvian coffee grows in a place they call “ceja de selva” – where the Andes meets the jungle. There in the rainforest, the land is fertile and diverse in a variety of ways, from the animals and vegetation to the people and culture. The area is considered to be a magical, mythical and mysterious place, with many of the legends, beliefs and rituals from ancestral cultures still alive to this day.
“Several artists have reinterpreted these magical qualities in several ways. We thought this was something we could use to bring a distinctive personality and something unique to this new coffee,” says Boggio. There was one story from the region that they were particularly drawn to – mysticism of the legend of the Pachamama, Mother Nature.
Infinito set about developing four illustrations, inspired by this legend, depicting important moments in the growing of coffee beans: planting, worship of the Pachamama, harvesting and finally gratitude to Pachamama. Mother Nature, it is believed, cares for nature and guards the balance between nature and men. “This concept was appropriate because it’s not only aesthetically attractive, sophisticated and elegant, it also reflects the product’s origin, sustainable care and development from our natural resources and, above all, it gives respect to the locals.”
The illustrations took several stages as they had to embody a variety of features: line thickness, style, finishes, engraving and, importantly, they had to reflect the mystical feeling that was paramount to the concept – the nurturing, protective energy and the emphasis on the Peruvian culture. “We wanted the central image to have impact and to transmit energy and personality. We used bright colours and remarkable ethnic mix that radiate naturally and living culture,” says Boggio.
This focus on nature and sustainability was a key consideration for the client and it needed to be reflected in the packaging. As such, the back panel of the packaging details the brand’s respect for nature, poetically worded: “Since ancient times our ancestors have taught us to be grateful to Mother Earth, who generously offers us her fruits and blessed us with wellness, flavour and freshness”. In addition, the certified logo of the Rainforest Alliance assures consumers that the product has been harvested using sustainable and responsible practices.
The brand’s name was also derived from the land itself and plays homage to the locals who harvest it. There are 338 Peruvian districts where coffee is grown and treated by master farmers. From this wide selection of coffee beans, the best can be chosen to produce the best coffee. After exploring different solutions, Infinito arrived at a very simple one and proposed the name of the new brand: 338. Elegant and uncomplicated, yet loaded with local significance. In addition, with a stencil-type typography the numbers are symbolic of the stamps used on the exported boxes.
It’s this attention to detail, to local culture, ancestry and a deep respect for the land that has paid off, as retailers welcomed the product immediately to the shelves. “This is an expensive coffee so it was meant to be very selective,” says Boggio.