"The design process began when our company officers asked, 'Does our current packaging accurately
reflect the image of Starbucks?' As a result, the brand now looks like the quality coffee that it is."
the decisión, for instance, lo select a single color for
all the bags, rather than different colors for each of
the three bag sizes.
At this point the design team had the foundation for
the Starbucks "kit of parts" to be applied on various
projects, where and how they worked best.
LISTENING to THE client: It was during the
design process that HADW demonstrated a strength
that would prove key to success: the ability to listen
well. This was doubtless one reason that, Chasan
says, Starbucks saw very little from I1ADW that was
"wrong." Assignments were made, and the design
team consistently responded with workable solu-
tions, demonstrating their grasp of "who Starbucks
is," the company's needs and its reactions. The
result was a sense of trust.
Anderson emphasizes the collaborative nature: "We
presented ranges of solutions, which we brought to
the client for lurther development in partnership. We
never go to a meeting without an opinión—and we are
passionate about our opinions! But we're not rigid.
In spite of how detailed the inlormation-gathering
step may be, another 20 to 30 percent of input is gen-
erated at the first working review meeting."
"We're not the experts in their business—they are,"
Anderson adds. "We become translators, listening
carefully and steering the design in the direction
that's most effective for this client. Throughout the
entire process we continuously ask ourselves how
we can continué making this both fresh and hard-
working, in a bottom-line way for Starbucks."
Starbucks's Chasan recalls that a lot of emotion was
involved. "We were pretty intense as a client, but we
liked each other and got along well. Both of the
'teams' had an opinión about everything."
Several Starbucks principáis participated in the
design process, including Chasan, sénior VP-mar-
keting George, Reynolds, marketing services man
ager Myra Gose, and VP-merchandising Chris
Harris. CEO Howard Schultz reviewed design deci-
sions at critical points.
At HADW, the Starbucks project was a team effort
using the firm's "working partnership approach,"
coordinated by project manager and designer Julie
Tanagi-Lock. Anderson underscored the word part
nership. "There are no 'presentations' as such. The
client will never hear, The design firm is now ready
to come over and present our solution.'
expanding the lineup: From the coffee bags,
other design tasks quickly followed. HADW was
asked to do syrup labels using many of the elements
in the "kit," adding selective use of calligraphy.
Other end products were added: first carne shop-
ping and serving bags—even the tissues that accom-
pany pastry Ítems; these were followed by food
products, gií't sets, and various collateral, including
the new annual report (Starbucks had ¡ust "gone
public") and mail-order catalog.
Anderson occasionally arranged for studio photog-
raphy of the various design end products so the
Starbucks team could see how all of the new Ítems
looked together-the integrated, "branded image"
of Starbucks, in which distinct components were
designed to hang together as a family.
Anderson notes how the mail-order catalogs, like
the packaging, were drawn from the by-now evolved
"kit of parts." "Here we attempt to reproduce the
warm feelings of community unique to Starbucks's
stores," he says. "In addition to the warm, rich
design, anecdotes and helpful tips are employed to
portray a friendly, sharing service attitude."
The Starbucks white cup represented a special design
issue. HADW developed alternative cup designs, but
they didn't push the company too hard to malee a
change away from puré white. Ultimately, it was
decided that the Starbucks white cup is a kind of "sig-
nature" for the company and should not be changed.
The Starbucks graphics program developed by
HADW has received international acclaim both in
the design industry and the business community,
winning more than 40 awards to date. The packag
ing components and annual reports were also
selected by the Library of Congress for inclusión in
its permanent collection in Washington, D.C. Asked
to summarize Starbucks's experience in working
with a top design firm to get award-winning results,
Chasan said packaging is crucial because it reflects
the face of the brand.
"In our case, the design work wasn't done to alter the
image of the company—it was done to reílect an
already positive and popular image," he said. "It was
a process that began when our company officers
asked, 'Does our current packaging accurately reflect
the image of Starbucks?' Where the answer was no,
we took steps to malte it stronger. As a result, the
brand now looks like the quality coffee that it is."