Coffee & Cookies: Ben-Day Dots & Halftone Screens

Two recent package designs that use two kinds of color dot patterns…

1. Gravity Coffee’s bags, designed by Special Group in New Zealand use overlapping layers of colored dots to denote combinations of coffee.

We worked directly with the head brewmaster to find colours to represent the flavours of the different beans used in each of the blends. Then we created patterns to reflect the subtleties (or bold-ities) of that particular blend.

from Special Group’s Website

Because their dots are uniform in size and spacing they’re basically “Ben-Day Dots”— from the printing process invented in by Benjamin Henry Day, Jr. in the early 1900s.

2. Oepe!’s bags for “alfajor” (a Peruvian  cookie) were designed by Arda Kissoyan in Argentina. The magenta, yellow & cyan dots in the background of her design (along with the typography and the graphics) are in the style of fluorescent Chicha posters.

“Chicha” is a popular art form originated in low-cost advertisements, graffitis, and posters announcing “cumbia” bands concerts and festivals, in which the typography, with its striking and fluorescent colours, is the main protagonist.

Arda Kissoyan

Because the dots in Kissovan’s packages vary in size, they’re the type of dot you would see in 4-color halftone screen images, but used here not to reproducing a photograph, but as a color pattern in its own right.

Once modern and pop, over-sized Ben-Day dots and halftone screens are now evocative of something more like pop nostalgia. Bit-mapped patterns of square pixels are today’s closest equivalent.


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