The story: The Chemex coffeemaker was invented by Peter J. Schlumbohm, Ph.D., in 1941. Being a doctor of chemistry, he was very familiar with laboratory apparatus and the methods of filtration and extraction. He combined a modified glass funnel with an altered Erlenmeyer flask to create a one-piece drip coffee maker made of heat-proof, laboratory-grade and non-porous borosilicate glass. Add a wood handle, and the “Chemex” was born.
The challenge: Chemex products are recognized as outstanding examples of American design and featured in the permanent collections of museums such as The Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. With the products at such a high caliber, Chemex felt the packaging could do more.
“The decision to rebrand and design new packaging for our products was an incredibly important one to us,” says Chemex. “We had to make sure we carried on and respected the legacy that’s endured for over 70 years. At the same time, we also wanted to rejuvenate and refresh the look of Chemex Corporation to stand true as a relevant product today. This was no easy task in our minds, and we were very aware we had a challenge ahead.”
LSHD Advertising was up for the responsibility and set out to create a package with clean design and rich photography that would well serve the brand’s rapidly increasing global audience.
The solution: “Our creative process begins and ends with the client,” says Joanna Surowiec, senior account director, LSHD Advertising. “By listening to their goals, needs and challenges, we are able to tell their story in a way that directly connects with consumers. For Chemex, it only made sense to keep the package design as pure as the product design. The brand tagline we developed of ‘Pure Design. Pure Flavor’ drove all design decisions as we conveyed purity, beauty and brand.”
The team first dedicated itself to finding a paper that expressed purity. “To find the cleanest white, we stared at white sheets of stock for days, until we found what we felt was a perfect match to an ultra-bright white,” says Meghan Dewar, senior art director, LSHD Advertising.
“Second, we wanted the product photography to feel so clear that the customer would want to reach out and explore the coffeemaker,” she continues. “Glass is often photographed in a way that makes it over-lit and flat. By exploring lighting techniques with Silver Photography, we used a deeper contrast for the photos to really capture some depth.”
The last main element of the design hints at the brand.
“The ‘X’ from the logo, which mimics the form of the carafe itself, was used as a separate, recognizable element.” says Dewar. “To support the iconic shape, we introduced a rich color palette that blended well with the coffeemakers and complemented the coffee. The colors were also used to signify category, size and application to the consumer.”
Copy is short and to the point to handle Chemex’s expanding global distribution. The illustrative icons on the side of the package allow anyone and everyone to understand the brewing process.
Both the brand and the agency understand that beauty can come with a price, but the agency strived to keep expenses in check.
“With clients, we are tasked to improve cost efficiencies and keep the project on budget,” says Surowiec. “We don’t just look at how to make something pretty; we look at how to make it smarter. In Chemex’s case, we explored ways to reduce manufacturing process time by creating a self-assembling box using an auto-bottom and custom insert. We used our production expertise to drive real business benefits by reducing overall manufacturing times and increasing packaging efficiency sevenfold. In addition, we worked closely with our printer, AM Lithography, and developed a production schedule that offered cost savings in both print production and fulfillment.
“At LSHD Advertising, we pride ourselves on having an intimate knowledge of our client’s business. We’re committed to understanding the global audience of these brands and being able to communicate with them effectively. ‘Speak to your customers, not at them’ is a mantra we value in our creative process,” she finishes.
The project was deemed successful on many levels: It respects the legacy of the product, maintains brand integrity, reduced production time, and balanced the budget effectively.
“LSHD listened to the history of the company, our desires, our concerns and our hopes for the rebrand and packaging,” says Chemex. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with all we’ve achieved with LSHD. Our customers both domestically and internationally are genuinely blown away with our packaging. It encompasses all that we hoped for, and we feel it will make its mark carrying on the Chemex brand and legacy for years to come.”
> PACKAGE DESIGN