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Dutch Design Series: Bataafsche Teken Maatschappij (BTM)

by Jessica Deseo on 11/18/2016 | 4 Minute Read

The countdown has begun! We are less than a week away from our The Dieline Amsterdam Conference. Join us next week, November 23rd for a one-day jam-packed conference. Today in anticipation to our conference we are highlighting BTM a Netherlands based agency and their client Fair Trade Original. 

Agency: Bataafsche Teeken Maatschappij (BTM)
Brand: Fair Trade Original 

Tell us about BTM?
We are a Brand Design Agency, which enables our clients’ brands to grow, using the ideal combination of brand strategy and creative design. Based in Rotterdam, we are pragmatic and easy to work with, whilst strong in packaging design we also produce inspiring corporate design. Clients love our full-service solutions and it’s our mission to make our clients’ brands relevant, distinctive and credible!

What’s the history?
We started in 1974 as a graphic design agency and have developed in the last 42 years to a full-service Brand Design Agency. Every project starts with brand strategy and the subsequent translation into inspiring and distinctive designs for logo, packaging, stationery, web design, brochures, internal branding, etc. Our clients appreciate our work and are loyal to us: most of our clients have been with us for over 10 years and in the case of Van Wijnen Salmon Smokers, our oldest client, it has been 41 years in total.

What’s the story on your showcase: Fair Trade Original Special Coffees? 
In 2006 we completely redesigned the Fair Trade Original brand and since that date, have designed over 100 pieces of packaging. In 2013 we restyled the range to look more vibrant, colourful and to put a smile on your face. The Special Coffees were one of the first products with the new design.

In 1959, Fair Trade Original was the first 100% fair trade brand in the Netherlands. In 2006 BTM designed a new logo and packaging, which successfully took the brand from specific fair trade gift shops to the modern consumer in the supermarket. At the time, the pale packaging and minimalist style were unique, but in recent years an increasing number of responsible brands have followed suit. In addition, research has shown that consumers choose fair trade products not just out of principle, but primarily because they like the brand and the products taste good. The relevance of Fair Trade Original has been emphasized again with the brand promise – 'The tastiest way of doing something good' – now appearing as a tag-line on the new packaging design. It has a more playful logo and a vibrant, colourful style with 'intentional imperfections'. Every pack has specific fair trade claims and promises on the front, further explained on the back and on the website.

Creative design: Daniele Bomboi & Daphne de Jong
Brand strategy: Ruud Boer

Why is this work so special and what does it say about your agency? 
We are proud of our design for the Fair Trade Original Special Coffees (and the 100 other products) for three reasons. Primarily we have helped the Fair Trade Original brand and organisation to survive in difficult times with severe competition from private labels. We made the brand relevant, distinctive and credible again. The second reason is that we used creativity in a very functional way. The continent shape in coffee grounds is not only appealing on the shelf, it also communicates the product and its origin in a creative and very clear way. The third reason is that we are proud to participate in trying to create a better and more honest world. That’s why we waive 10% of our fee to Fair Trade Original.  

What makes the design Dutch?
Fair Trade Original is a 100% fair trade brand, focused fully on a fair price for farmer corporations in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The budget for advertising is limited, so our packaging design is the most important communication instrument for the brand. Therefore the packaging design has to be appealing on the shelf. By looking a little disruptive and putting a smile on your face, we grab more attention. That’s what we call Dutch Packaging Design by BTM.

Do you think there’s something as Dutch Packaging Design?
Just like Dutch Design in furniture and fashion, Dutch Packaging Design is often is a little disruptive. It provokes, but always within the limitations of the visual identity of the brand and the codes of the segment.


The Dieline and Packaging Innovations have teamed up for a one-of-a-kind, free-to-attend conference, kicking off at Packaging Innovations Amsterdam 2016. Their first ever conference in the European mainland, The Dieline's exciting content will be exploring packaging and branding topics, with panels and discussions from both leading and emerging brands, as well as packaging suppliers and design agencies. 

Top brands and design leaders will gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities that arise when designing for a major brand. As the leading platform for package design and inspiration, The Dieline couldn't think of a better place than a partnership with Packaging Innovations to inspire the Dutch packaging community. Combining their signature high-level content, endless inspiration and a curation of previous The Dieline Awards' winners, conference attendees will visit the future of packaging and branding design.

The event is specifically for packaging designers and marketing/brand managers. And remember; this is a free-to-attend conference that is exclusive to attendees of Packaging Innovations Amsterdam 2016. But space is limited, so don't delay!

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