First brewed from their homes and self-marketed to Fresh Fields (later acquired by Whole Foods) in 1997 by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff, a student and teacher (in that order) at Yale School of Management, Honest Tea is a range of bottled organic teas. After a 2008 investment into 40% of the company, Coca-Cola purchased Honest Tea in 2011 increasing their distribution and sales up to $112 million by 2013. Available in multiple flavors, sizes, and (now) different approaches to sweetening, Honest Tea recently introduced a new logo and packaging designed by New York, NY-based Beardwood&Co.
We redrew the logo in a friendlier font to help the brand feel more approachable, and embellished it with a small leaf sign-off.
The previous logo suffered from bad typographic weigh-ing, with “tea” being far too thick in relationship to “HONEST” which is what happens when you try to make lowercase letters be the same height as uppercase letters. It just gets imbalanced. The result was a logo that placed emphasis on the product category (“tea”) instead of the product name (“Honest”). The new logo goes to the other end of the spectrum, emphasizing the name over the category and unifying the two typographic elements. The word “tea” might now be getting a little small. Someone, somewhere had the cute idea of putting a tea leaf coming out of the “t”. That was a lame idea.
Hyper-real imagery highlights the organic, fresh ingredients and adds mouth-watering appetite appeal. Elements of the imagery break out of the T shape to add dimensionality and dynamism.
I don’t know why but I am strangely attracted to these “T”s. Maybe it’s just the high-resolution effect but of all the weird ways that mass consumer packaging tries to communicate “Hey, we are made with real ingredients and have cut-out photographs of fruits and shit to prove it!” — and I don’t mean shit literally, it’s a euphemism for other food stuffs regularly photographed for packaging — this is a rather well executed approach and I like how it all fits snuggly into the “T” with only a few parts sticking out.
The final design grabs attention on shelf, highlights flavor appeal and differentiation, and reinforces the brand mantras: “Organic” and “Just a Tad Sweet.” The consistent T shape with two leaves is an iconic element across all products, reinforcing the natural essence of the brand. Bright watercolor flavor navigation bars aid navigation and complement the new taller bottle, framing the white space and focusing the eye inward like a spotlight. […] We also moved the tagline to the top of the bottle for greater emphasis: “Just a Tad Sweet” has always been the Honest Tea reason-for-being that differentiates the brand from its sugar-loaded competition.
The label has a much better hierarchy now, starting with the typography and placement of “Just a tad sweet” where before it looked more like an FDA warning at the bottom and now it’s the first thing you are greeted with. The lowercasing of all the type, from logo to flavors, helps with readability and approachability. Even the new shape of the bottle is flattering for the product with a less slumped-shoulders profile. Interestingly (or strangely) the bottom of the bottle features an embossed wordmark that is different from the logo or any of the rest of the type. Nonetheless, overall, this is a decent update that doesn’t strive to redefine the product but to make it better, which I think it does. Now, about that leaf on the “t”…