The humble coffee bean, over time, has evolved from being a mere morning or midday boost, into a serious business! The art of drinking coffee has its own culture and is considered a lifestyle by its consumers. So, I decided to look into design ideas for an important apparatus in the coffee-making ritual – coffee mugs.

Classic vs contemporary

 Source: Unsplash

While the high street and online retailers’ stores will offer a vast selection of coffee mugs, the majority of them will be in the standard white colour. Although traditional, there is a certain je ne sais quoi or individuality missing from the endless store options available.

That is why I have chosen to look at designs for black mugs rather than white. Because, whether finished in matte or metallic, sophistication and contemporary luxury can exude with the right designs.

Color of power, slickness, and exclusivity

When using a black base for products marketers describe the connotations of the colour with words such as power, slickness and exclusivity which, of course, is what all coffee-loving connoisseurs want to feel as they sip their favourite blend.

It is also known from a design point of view that before you bring your coffee mugs to market, there are two main ingredients that you should consider and that will ultimately make your designs a success.

1. Researching the market

Researching the market to find out – who is drinking what coffee and why, and when is the drink being consumed and where? These are all good indicators when it comes to choosing your target market.

2. Creativity

Once you have chosen your target market, it is then a case of using these insights to tap into the mindset of the consumer to formulate designs that will grab their attention. The combination of your own unique brand of creativity and research should furnish your store with an exclusive range of mugs.

Statistics prove that in the US the average customer drinks at least 3 cups of coffee a day and that 65% of all coffee is consumed during breakfast hours and 30% between meals. What this is indicating is that a large portion of consumption will take place in the home or the office.

The National Coffee Association and The Specialty Coffee Association of America highlighted the difference in motivation between male and female consumers in their annual surveys. What they found was that for women drinking coffee is a good way to unwind and relax, while for men coffee helped them get the job done.

Having an insight into the motives of why your customers are consuming coffee can only benefit your understanding of your target market! Which, of course, can only lead to better designs and huge sales.

Taking this information into consideration I have looked into the current trends and put together some design ideas that I hope will inspire you.

Design ideas

Heart shape pattern

Source: Printify

An elegant mosaic pattern of cupid arrows and various hearts in vibrant reds and crisp whites look stunning when paired with the black base of the mug, adding a serious touch of style and class.

The heart shape pattern is the perfect design for Valentine’s day, making a great personalized gift for him or her.

Always trust your guts first!

Source: Printify

When it comes to creating designs for coffee mugs, it is important to understand the connection between one’s favourite blend and the reason why coffee is their go-to beverage. With the seemingly endless options available to customize your coffee it’s obvious the experiences have become more individualized.

So, a quote or statement that expresses an opinion the connoisseur shares is a great way of making the mug feel personalized!

To travel is to live

Source: Printify

For those with a sense of adventure and a fully stamped passport, a statement such as ‘To travel is to live’ is not only a personal reference especially in the office! It can also serve as a source of inspiration and a reminder that outside work there are adventures to be had!

This design colour combination of burnt orange and red is subtle and easy on the eye while giving a glimpse into the connoisseur’s inner world.

The pumpkin face

Source: Printify

Halloween, as we all know, is a massive market for personalised gifts and coffee mugs are no exception. Because of the black base, before you begin designing you are already halfway there to creating spooky designs.

The pumpkin face is a classic Halloween symbol and its bright glowing orange and yellow segments look striking and suitably scary!

Love mom

Source: Printify

This heart-shaped design in red and white is distinguished and neat, and the ideal gift for Mother’s Day. What is great about this design is that as a kid’s gift to their mom on her special day, this design says all that she needs to know to put a smile on her face as she makes her favourite blend.

Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile

Source: Printify

Sometimes on your coffee break, in the heat and stress of the day, you need a gentle, healthy reminder to stay upbeat and positive. Inspirational quotes much like a coffee can energise and motivate your well-being.

The perfect example of this is ‘Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile’. The quote doesn’t always have to shout to be heard, it can be an ethereal beckon to all that notices it.

Saint Patrick’s Day – the clover pattern

Source: Printify

When Saint Patrick’s Day comes around, who doesn’t have a long lost Irish relative to drink a pint of the good stuff for? Regarded as one of the most celebrated annual festivals in the world, with dancing, singing, parades and events you can see why everyone gets involved.

The 4-leaf clover, of course, is synonymous with Saint Patrick’s Day and its emerald green pattern is a courteous nod to the celebrations.

I tried Christmas coffee mug

Source: Printify

Christmas is the time for giving and receiving, if you have been good, of course! Which makes the ‘Naughty, nice, I tried’ design the ultimate Christmas slogan.

The red and green contrast is a natural pairing for the black base of the coffee mug, and as the motive of being good is an all year-round ambition, this design will see you through the seasons without ever being outdated.

The Avocado

Source: Printify

Sometimes things can be too serious, and you don’t need a cleverly crafted phrase or a representative slogan. You just want to enjoy your coffee without a life-changing quote or a reminder to smile when the world is against you.

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that are strangely satisfying, for instance, a collection of smiling avocados and their pits. What more needs to be said or explained?

Who are you designing coffee mugs for?

Your market research should have narrowed down the connoisseurs you want to target. But the answer, in general, is everyone! Because with cleverly worded phrases a coffee mug can become a personal statement, or with a smiling avocado as a simple source of amusement.

Either way, the coffee industry is a billion-dollar business in the US alone. And with the forecast of more coffee shops opening in the coming years, there is no sign of trade slowing down. Going out for a coffee nowadays is associated with style and sophistication, and if we are home or in the office, coffee is what we drink in business meetings or when we are catching up with our nearest and dearest. Basically, It has become “the wine of the day” for professionals.

With the upsurge in online shopping and especially personalized products, breaking into the e-commerce market doesn’t have to be as daunting as it at first may appear. With companies like Printify, a technology platform that simplifies and automates print-on-demand services for online merchants, you literally do not have to put a penny of your own money upfront to open your online store.

Entering the lucrative coffee market with your own mugs is a great place to start for new designers, and it has never been a simpler or more rewarding time to do so than now.