Dunkin’ Donuts has been serving coffee and doughnuts since the 1950s, when it was initially envisioned as a place for construction and blue-collar workers to get coffee and a bite before starting their shift. Since then, Dunkin’ Donuts has evolved into a place where everyone can get specialty coffee, fresh doughnuts and even full meals. But, everyday working people remain at the foundation of its business, and its iconic packaging designs revolve around their preferences above anyone else.
Dunkin’ Donuts Original Packaging
As you can see, the original packaging is much different than what’s used today. Much darker and more powerful, the colours represent the richness of their coffee and doughnuts, creating packaging that really complements its delicious contents. The packaging also prominently features a doughy character, Dunkie, who humanizes the brand and gives it a friendly personality.
While their logo certainly adds a bit of complexity, the simple packaging that Dunkin’ is known for today was firmly established in its earliest versions. It played a significant role in their early expansion, establishing them as a business that delivers exactly what the working man needs in the morning.
After all, is there a better to start the day than with 52 varieties of doughnuts and coffee that’s hot and fresh whenever you walk in?
Dunkin’ Donuts Retro Pink
By the 1960s, Dunkin’ had gone through a major expansion and switched to a friendlier pink colour. While that colour choice is certainly a bit bright for today’s modern tastes, back then it was the perfect representation of the times. The economy was growing, people had good jobs, and new technologies were making life easier.
That vibrant pink also helped Dunkin’ appeal to a new target market: the increasing number of women who were entering the workforce. By opting for a colour that was bright and welcoming, rather than dominant and arguably intimidating like the original brown, Dunkin’ gained the business of both spouses. It’s not hard to see why they became the best coffee shop for the whole family.
Dunkin’ Donuts Classic Orange and Pink
In the late 70s, Dunkin’ brought the warm coffee orange to their logo, while still keeping their pink doughnut glaze shade. This contrasting colour combo has stayed with them ever since, becoming an integral part of all their packaging going forward. It’s also right around this time that Dunkin’ decided to try their hand at expanding their product line (and with new packaging!).
Their signature doughnut hole treats, Munchkins, quickly became a favourite of consumers. These little sweets—with and equally sweet name—were all found in Dunkin’s signature orange, white, and pink doughnut box packaging.
As they’d long been a part of people’s mornings, it made sense to become part of their home life as well by entering the cereal market. However, despite their signature look and mouthwatering packaging, a distinct lack of coffee or doughnut flavours doomed the breakfast food line.
New Dunkin’ Line of Packaging
2019 became a monumental year for Dunkin’ Donuts. Changing their name to just Dunkin’, the hot coffee and sweet doughnuts they serve have now been joined by full meals, delicious sides, merchandise and plenty more.
More products and offerings means not only a new name, but also a fresh look to their packaging. The reduction in lettering has allowed Dunkin’ to include more playful symbols and engaging wording on their bags, cups and boxes. This adds a new level of friendliness and personality to Dunkin’ that people not only get in-store, but also get to take with them.
Most people today are now keenly aware of the effect that wasteful packaging choices have on our environment. Dunkin’ has made a point of incorporating more sustainability into its strategy, such as packaging made from recycled content that can be composted after use. Dunkin’ is proving that attractive, sustainable, cost-effective packaging is available to businesses who make the effort.
The craft beer industry has been booming lately, with consumers eagerly seeking out new flavours and brewing styles to experience. Dunkin’ has brought its coffee expertise to the table and teamed up with Harpoon Brewery to produce two memorable beers. Both the Harpoon Dunkin’ Coffee Porter and Harpoon Dunkin’ Summer Coffee Pale Ale have been enthusiastically embraced by consumers. And as you can see, their can packaging is entirely Dunkin’, through and through.
As the working person has evolved, smartly so has the Dunkin’ brand. People still want the reliability of their coffee in the morning, but also want to experience tastes in ways they never have before. Dunkin’ beers fit perfectly with this need, providing customers with a great brew to help them unwind.
It’s clear that Dunkin’ Donuts’ iconic packaging has evolved throughout its history. What makes it so interesting and iconic is that each version clearly represents a different stage in the life of their brand. Dunkin’ has always been at home in construction sites and warehouses, but now it’s a part of workplaces, offices and boardrooms as well. So, the question is—does Dunkin’s packaging say more about itself or about society?