Explorer elevates your day by making it effortless to customize specialty coffee shop beverages at home with a curated set of premium coffee and tea concentrates and enhancements.
Founded by mountaineer, Cason Crane, Explorer isn’t simply a coffee company. Instead, the brand stands for elevating your day by seeking out the novel, the exciting, and the beautiful in order to experience vitality and joy in the everyday moments of our lives.
We engaged in in-depth discovery with the Explorer team learning about their founder Cason's unique story of climbing the highest seven mountains in the world to raise awareness and money for LGBT+ causes. We learned that his deeper motivation for his brand was not just to promote exploration of the outdoors, but also to encourage individuals to explore within themselves and discover new flavors that elevate the enjoyment of their favorite beverages. In addition, we engaged in independent trend analysis, competitor studies, and customer interviews to develop a defensible unique value proposition in the crowded CPG coffee industry.
Based on the insight that the modern coffee and tea consumer craves customization at home, we helped Explorer reposition from solely offering coffee concentrates to offering a curated collection of coffees and teas with different levels of caffeine, organic flavor syrups, premium wellness boosts, and beverage-making accessories.
Explorer’s brand strategy is rooted in elevating your day. This positioning invites the brand to credibly speak to life and not simply its products. Whether it’s eating and drinking well, making time for the delightful, finding balance, indulging your senses, or connecting with others, Explorer believes elevating everyday moments helps make life worth living. This strategy seeks to charm consumers to never settle for unsatisfying routines and instead to discover and customize their favorite beverages.
Our design approach eschewed the overly minimal and clean aesthetic employed by coffee brands like Jot and Blue Bottle in favor of a rich language that is both heritage and maximalist. Drawing inspiration from legacy perfumers and candle makers like Cire Trudon and Diptique, Explorer’s visual identity language is composed of detailed illustrations, ornate embellishments, gilded print finishes, high-quality materials, imaginative mixed type treatments, and bespoke shapes in order to impart an old-world and highly-decorative look & feel.
The brand’s wordmark features a condensed and thin font that is brimming with character based on its sharp serifs. Despite the font’s decorative serifs, it remains legible when applied to countless different layouts across packaging, including smaller formats such as the brand’s mini 2oz bottles. Furthermore, the wordmark functions perfectly in tandem with the brand’s similarly sharp, expressive illustration style.
A gold foil and black pattern creates a border used as a primary element across the brand’s identity and packaging. A circular shape of this foil border frames the brand’s logo mark, which is created by isolating and intervening the middle stroke of the “E” from the wordmark.
Explorer’s brand identity truly shines when applied to its packaging. The brand offers a complex mix of over 28 products distinguished by flavor, size, caffeine level, and ingredients that can be used on their own or together.
We prioritized cohesiveness and customization with equal weight in order to encourage the celebration of every product as unique while ensuring each product line would be viewed as a set. This meant creating a flexible packaging system that updated every element of packaging design for every product, including the name, illustration, border shape, logo treatment, colors, and layout system.
Raphael and Truffl are the sort of partner you dream of finding but don’t think you ever will: they are able to marry clear-sighted vision and strategic thinking and an exceptional eye for design. With Explorer, they were able to quickly put themselves in our shoes and help us articulate the vision we’d always felt but hadn’t been able to clearly express, and then design a stunning new look and feel to match that vision. Raphael and the team were experts in digging all the way to the core of any question or challenge, and it always felt like we were their one and only priority. Their work with Explorer touched nearly every imaginable facet of the business, from our commercial strategy and product mix, to our voice and copywriting, to, of course, the look and feel of the brand. They came back with innovative answers even at unexpected times, reinforcing that they were viewing Explorer and our relationship not just as a client but as a true partner whose ultimate goal was to maximize the success of our business. I couldn’t recommend Raphael and Truffl highly enough, and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.
Cason Crane, CEO