Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sterile Tea

Here's how I feel about tea: it's a widely consumed beverage and often somewhat poorly packaged.  Celestial Seasonings is a bit too woo woo for me. Bigelow and Stash are mediocre.  Tazo is fine, though a little too esoteric and convinced of its own preciousness (their website, however, is really fun if you've got a minute).

Both Mighty Leaf and Republic of Tea give me what I want: packaging that connects me with the experience of drinking tea.  The color palate is warm, and both show the ingredients that differentiate the types of tea. I get a firm experience of what I'll be drinking beforehand and that experience draws me in.

This All About Tea packaging, however, totally misses the mark.

This packaging looks like the prototype for office supplies for a tech company, not tea.  It's entirely sterile and unappealing.  Sometimes I feel that in our quest for slick modernity and the paring down to essentials we lose the visceral attraction of the things we enjoy consuming.  Where is the pleasure in this?

The agency that did this design, Moving Brands, says:

[All About Tea's] ambition was to hone their wholesale offer while satisfying the need to reach new audiences. They wanted to keep the warehouse feel but also establish a loyal consumer group who felt they were getting premium quality at wholesale prices.

Moving Brands were tasked with creating a new identity that would stand out in a “sea of sameness.” The identity needed to work effectively across their existing wholesale market, and enable them to grow into retail channels. It was also vital to communicate the founder’s passion for the art and intricacies of tea.
(via Lovely Package)

I'm not buying it.  The wholesale element grants it a little more credibility, but come on—does anything about this packaging communicate the founder's passion for the art and intricacies of tea?  There is no art to this.  No intricacy.  Every single variety of tea looks exactly the same. 

And it's entirely lacking in passion.  Passion translates best in crescendo, in color, in hedonistic abandonment.  The only people that could be passionate about this are Philip Glass, Calvin Klein, and the cast of Gattaca.

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