• Date added
28 April 2023
Stereoscope is a Los Angeles-based specialty coffee roastery that believes there is more to coffee than just its taste and processing methods. They are dedicated to creating unique experiences and fair relationships, while moving away from low prices and standardisation in flavour. Seeing coffee as a living organism and not just a commodity, Stereoscope is committed to recognising its impact on local communities, farms, and the larger cultural and ecological context.
Oslo-based design studio OlssønBarbieri worked closely with Stereoscope to develop a brand identity, packaging design as well as printed materials that reflect the roastery’s progressive philosophy and embody their unique perspective through thoughtful tactility and meticulous typographic detail.
Stereoscope aims to create a space that recognises the positive impact of coffee on local communities and farms, while also acknowledging the larger cultural and ecological context of the plant. They seek to raise awareness about the history, reality, and potential futures of the endangered Coffee Arabica plant, while hoping to decolonise the specialty coffee industry.
Stereoscope's philosophy is rooted in the concept of clarity, inspired by the namesake instrument that offers multiple perspectives and deepens perception. The brand believes that seemingly opposite forces can be complementary and interdependent in the natural world – and their motto "In pursuit of depth and simplicity", introduced by founder Leif An, is a reflection of this notion.
Stereoscope's vision of depth and simplicity is influenced by the Chinese cosmology notion of yin and yang, where harmony, balance, and duality are represented by the circle, while the 'void' signifies the space before anything exists. Rotating together to form the universe across the five elements, yin and yang is directly tied to nature and the Earth's seasons, aligning with Stereoscope's philosophy.
“The packaging features a card-based labelling system with trigram-shaped cut-outs inspired by Bagua iconography, revealing details such as the coffee's fermentation process.”
OlssønBarbieri chose a typeface that was not tied to any strong historical legacy to capture the interconnectedness of things and avoid imposing any cultural or historical heritage on the brand identity. The chosen grotesque sans serif typeface consists of five distinct widths that are combined randomly when set, resulting in a charming and contemplative irreverence that reflects the brand's philosophy and the uniqueness of each coffee.
Stereoscope’s dedication to duality is evident in the material, production, and typographic choices made for the brand’s packaging, creating their very own 'Stereoscope Cosmology'. The packaging features a card-based labelling system with trigram-shaped cut-outs inspired by Bagua iconography, revealing details such as the coffee's fermentation process. The coffee bags also feature text where the seeds of Coffee Arabica talk in first person, giving the coffee its own voice.
Inspired by the shape of mountains associated with high-altitude coffee cultivation, the bespoke box design reflects season and practice. It is made of FSC-certified paper with rounded foil blocking for added embellishment, with a tear-off opening that adds a sense of ritual.
Stereoscope's subscription boxes are also customised, maintaining the iconic 'mountain' shape for single packs and a skewed rectangular shape for dual packs, challenging standard shipping formats while maximising space efficiency. Overall, Stereoscope's dedication to philosophy, perspective, shape, and story highlights the importance of Coffee Arabica and the rich history of its beans in an eclectic and flavoursome manner.