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Specialty’s Packaging Redesign


San Francisco-based Specialty’s Café & Bakery is one of the fastest growing private companies in the Bay Area. As the brand widens its reach beyond the familiarity of the west coast, the company’s marketing strategy is quickly evolving to meet the needs of its expanding business goals. Part of this strategy was to update and reinvigorate the brand. As such, Specialty’s called upon CRP to perform a strategic packaging redesign of its in-store, take-out and catering programs.

Their goals were three-fold: first, to better educate the consumer about the company’s history, second, to provide a smart way of marketing their core beliefs and service offerings, and third, to reinvigorate the lunch hour.

Our team began by interviewing Specialty’s marketing team about the role packaging plays for the company and its customers. For the catering side of the business, we highlighted that the packaging often times serves as a coincidental centerpiece on the table during lunchtime meetings. As for in-store or take-out orders, it became evident that diners were often eating alone. Understanding each of these scenarios, we personified the packaging elements, giving them a purpose unique to the end user. Puzzles were created for napkins, engaging lone diners in a fun activity to pass the time. Humorous one-liners add personality to the catering boxes, bringing an unexpected light-heartedness to the conference room. In all applications, a unique use of typography and messaging offers conversational personality that encourages customers to interact with the brand.

With a large portion of Specialty’s clientele coming from corporate office environments, we drew design inspiration from a variety of sources, including downtown San Francisco signage and classic business attire.

As for color, we transitioned the program’s primary substrate from brown kraft to a crisp white. This was a strategic decision meant to demonstrate the company’s commitment to fresh ingredients and professional customer service. The pop of red is inspired by the paint color of the Golden Gate Bridge, and is grounded by a classic American navy blue.

We further animated the designs by hand-illustrating timeless brand elements such as the Specialty’s logo, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco skyline, and the café’s renowned chocolate chip cookie. The custom patterning provides a textural background, utilizing abstract wheat to simulate a classic herringbone suiting material found in traditional office attire.

The resulting packaging design is as much a celebration of the company’s heritage as it is representative of the freshness, professionalism, and friendly customer service for which the brand is well-loved and -known.