Compare two brands and how they use packaging to indicate value and price point. Chose one high-priced brand and one low-priced brand and compare/contrast the use of packaging.

The two brands I have chosen to compare are Aldi’s Expressi to Nestlé’s Nespresso. They both make coffee capsules that can be used in their machines to produce great coffee at home.


What colours, typefaces, graphics does the company use on the packaging? What does this say about the value of the product?
The Expressi packaging utilises black as the main colour, red to depict the K-fee System logo and a colour theme for each type of coffee. The colours are vibrant and stand out against the black background. The Expressi typeface is sans-serif, modern and quite elegant, yet the ‘x’ is playful. The coffee typeface appears to be Century Gothic (sans-serif and geometric) with increased kerning – it feels youthful and playful. The coffee capsules are a secondary graphic in this design, where the main graphic is a series of circles forming a firework-type design. The firework graphic seems to be a visual representation of the taste of the coffee – indicating a taste ‘explosion’. For example, Perugia is a medium roast coffee with pleasant and zesty acidity and refreshing tangerine notes, therefore the green firework graphic depicts zest.

Image credit: Aldi

This packaging positions Expressi as a playful, delicious, stylish, yet affordable type of coffee. I believe the design would blend into a supermarket quite well, though I’m not sure it would jump out at me – it looks quite similar to some Nescafé packaging (not Nespresso, though still owned by Nestlé).

The Nespresso packaging also uses black as the main colour and a single colour to identify each type of coffee. The colours are subtle and placed strategically at the end of the rectangular tube shaped box – so the colours are visible when stacked. The Nespresso typeface is sans-serif, modern and elegant, and the stylistic ‘n’ depicts a coffee bean. The other typeface is sans-serif, simple and easily legible – it is neat and contributes to the classy feel of the packaging. There are minimal graphics used in the packaging design other than the Nespresso logo – though the Pure Origin and Variations ranges display discrete and delicate graphics consistent with the flavour colour, to communicate these special flavours.
nespresso boxes
Image credit: Nespresso

This packaging positions Nespresso as simple, refined and exquisite. The shape of the box is unique and communicates a product that is not like others. Nothing about the design is particularly attention grabbing, suggesting that Nespresso is for coffee enthusiasts.

What materials are used in the packaging (ie card stock, foils, specialty papers, print treatments)? What do the materials tell you about the product value?
The Expressi box card stock is much like that of cereal boxes, a smooth surface, coated on one side. The design does not utilise foiling or any print treatments – most likely as a cost-saving measure. The shape of the box is fairly standard. These factors indicate that Expressi is practical and affordable.

The Nespresso box is a similar card stock, however it utilises a glossy, raised ink for the Nespresso logo and is perforated for easy opening (and positioning in the capsule stand). The shape of the box is unusual and iconic, indicating the Nespresso is a premium product.

In addition to the differences between the outer packaging, another significant difference is the coffee capsules themselves.

The Expressi capsules are ribbed and display the same branding as the box (logo, coffee type, coffee strength, K-fee System logo and firework design). The design is practical and another way to advertise the Expressi brand if the capsules are not stored in the box.

Aldi advises that any capsules with a K-fee System logo will fit into their coffee machines, irrespective of whether they are sold under the Expressi brand name.

Image credit: Aldi

Unfortunately, I was unable to confirm what materials the Expressi capsules are made from. Though I did tweet Aldi Australia who advised that the capsules are not recyclable, which would no doubt contribute to the low price point. This is another factor that sets them behind Nespresso.

The Nespresso capsules are sharply contoured to achieve a sleek look and as a result, the capsules make an important contribution to the visual identity of the brand. Nespresso also identifies “the shape of the Nespresso capsule has been specially designed to ensure that the pressurised water flows evenly through the ground coffee during extraction“. Nespresso produces a range of capsule dispensers/storage so consumers can choose to either display the boxes or the capsules themselves. Nespresso makes the packaging just as important as the product itself, because they know that if their customers are stylish, they’ll want their coffee to be stylish.

The Nespresso capsules are made from aluminium as it protects the coffee grounds from air and light. The capsules are also 100% recyclable and Nespresso has set up a capsule recycling program where the aim is to turn end-of-life capsules into new capsule material.

Nespresso insists that the Nespresso branded coffee machines should be used with Nespresso capsules to guarantee the in-cup quality that they are known for.

Image credit: Nespresso

It is clearly evident that there are multiple ways in which packaging can reflect brand value and price point. Expressi and Nespresso clearly have different target markets and aren’t directly in competition with each other, even though they have a similar type of product.

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