Roast! West Coast
Coffee People
Coffee People: Hannah Noakes, Tekwani Design Co.

Coffee People: Hannah Noakes, Tekwani Design Co.

A Designer to the Core.
With a crowd of people in the background, a young woman points out design features to a man holding a cell phone.
Photo via @tekwanidesignco on Facebook.

Guest: Hannah Noakes
Company: Tekwani Design Co.
Role: Lead Graphic Designer
Based: Denver, CO
What they drink: Always a latte!
Any favorite roasters/coffee shops you'd like to shout out:
Tablón & Bluegrass (of course), Steam, and Purple Door 

Packaging design is everywhere. It is on the box from Amazon. It is on every item you ever pick up at the grocery. It is the first impression Johnson & Johnson has to convince you to pick up their box of toothpaste over Dr. Bronner’s.*

Some packaging design goes beyond merely informative. In the beverage industries, in particular coffee, beer, and spirits, packaging design is an art form meant to invoke emotion and inspire loyalty, if not only a hero’s space on the shelf in your home.

Hannah’s designs are based on the ethos of her clients. They are meant to represent them, not herself. At her core, Hannah Noakes knows she is a designer. It is a big distinction from being an editor or artist. It is where she excels, and why she is able to create arresting packaging designs for coffee clients of Tekwani Design Co.

*Dr. Bronner’s packaging is iconic for the company founder’s decision to include his life ethos on each package. This often required very, very small fonts.

“I think it’s gotta be authentically you.  Like those kind of projects, are always the ones that I think at the end really stand out and do well.”
• Hannah Noakes

Hannah shared some of her design favs & sources of inspiration.

A close-up of three coffee boxes to display identical packaging with the exception being the color block behind the description. The white boxes have an intricate forest green line design framing the brand name Tablón at the top.
Tablón Coffee Roaster’s box design. Coffee box packaging. ©Tekwani Design Co.


  • I was sick with a cold during our recording, and dang! My voice sounded commanding, don’t you think?

  • That box you pick up at the store. Someone had to design that. Even the Amazon boxes, simple, brown, with the arrow swath along the side and the blue tape. Those were choices that some designer made, probably, with too much oversight from a corporate overlord but still, someone had to sit at a computer design the mark and determine where it should be located, how big it should be, and so on.

  • Know thyself.

  • At her core, Hannah is a designer.

  • With design, good and bad are a bit subjective. As I listened to the conversation while editing, I thought, it’s more important that it is effective in achieving  the desired result. Good design conveys the right emotion and/or inspires a purchase, while also representing the brand when the company is not there to tell their own story.

  • You want your package to be authentically you, not a mimic of someone else’s packaging you like.

  • Don’t forget market research! What is already on the shelves? How will you differentiate yours from the established brands?

  • Use your packaging to show the customer your mission; don’t just tell them.

  • Advice to her younger self: You have to let go. Once the design is passed to the client…it is theirs. It may not go where you hope.

Close-up of two mostly orange coffee bags on a wooden table. The informative labels are in an off-white tinted orange with grey and black text.
Packaging for Bluegrass Coffee Co. designed by Hannah and Tekwani Design Co. Photo credit ©Tekwani Design Co.

Vocabulary: Letterpress

Think of letterpress as being like a stamp. A letter (or multiple letters) is pressed down onto a sheet of paper or cardboard leaving both the ink and an indentation where the letter was pressed. Letterpress is the O.G. of printing.

Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing for producing many copies by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against individual sheets of paper or a continuous roll of paper.[1] A worker composes and locks movable type into the "bed" or "chase" of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type, which creates an impression on the paper.

• From Wikipedia

Focus on an illustrated design on the wall of a cafe featuring coffee farmers picking coffee cherries and a woman roasting coffee on a large machine.
Hannah often works on illustrations. This one became the wall decor at a cafe. Photo courtesy of Hannah Noakes.


Jared Hales at Hacea Coffee Source, joined the Coffee Smarter Podcast to compare the reality of a coffee farming business with the C-Market.

This is a must-listen for any small business roaster considering the impact of their green coffee purchases and for anyone who makes intentional choices with their buying power. That cup of coffee matters! Listen on Spotify or check out the full post below.


Kansas City Chief’s QB, Patrick Mahomes is launching a coffee brand–Throne SPORT COFFEE.* Do you really need more of that sweet, sweet endorsement money, Patrick? Won’t you leave some space for the specialty coffee professional to wet their beaks, so to speak?

I had a whole rant about Patrick Mahome’s new “Better for you” coffee brand cued up for this week but the great coffee writer Fion Pooler (Fresh Cup) beat me to it, and added some details about other new celebrity brands to boot. For more on the growing Mahomesian empire and appearances by unlikely cohorts Green Day and Rudy Giuliani read the full post at the link below.


*Yes, it is spelled with all capital letters.


  • Ascend Roasters (La Costa neighborhood in Carlsbad, CA) is offering 1/2 price drinks during Happy Hour (3-5PM) daily.

  • Hacea Coffee Source has some new green offerings, including this mouthwatering Pink Bourbon from Finca El Mirador. Available in multiple sizes. Roasters (and aspiring roasters) should check it out asap. View on the website.

A huge, on-going thank you to all of this show’s industry partners.

Roastar • Zumbar Coffee & Tea • Steady State Roasting • Mostra Coffee • Coffee Cycle •  Camp Coffee CompanyIgnite Coffee Company • Ascend Coffee Roasters • Marea Coffee • Cape Horn Green Coffee • Hacea Coffee Source • Crossings CoffeeSivitz Roasting Machines • Craft 42 Roasters • Me and My Uncle Coffee Roasters • Cozy Canine Coffee


Affiliate marketing: I don’t do a lot of affiliate marketing. This particular product, the Simply Good Coffee Brewer, is one I’ve agreed to promote because I use it almost daily. The original review was written before accepting any sort of affiliate marketing payments. If you click through using our links and end up purchasing a brewer, it will help support R!WC.

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Author’s note: This is one of my favorite songs. Josh Ritter’s live shows are excellent. See one with the full band, if you can!

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Roast! West Coast
Coffee People
The new Roast! West Coast Coffee People thread. The same interviews with inspiring coffee people with a new name.