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All About Tea

A brand for those who take theirs without milk or sugar.

Contributed by Stephen Coles on Jan 26th, 2011.

The 1994 launch of Tazo set the standard for mid-range tea.

In the mid ’90s Sandstrom Partners reinvented tea packaging with their work for Tazo. The warm hues and worn typography (set in Exocet, Nicolas Cochin, and Nuptial Script) were meant to evoke “ancient tea culture”, and customers drank it right up. The brand was so successful that most of Tazo’s competition hitched their wagon to that Przewalski’s Horse and went along for the ride, adorning their tea bags with brushed lettering and Asianesque motifs.

UK based All About Tea is a wholesaler, not a retail brand like Tazo, but their product appears in restaurants and cafes just like Tazo appears at Starbucks. The difference in the two looks is stark. Tasked with creating a new identity that would stand out in a “sea of sameness”, Moving Brands went to the other end of the visual spectrum. They paired a pure black-and-white color scheme with a minimal mark and mechanical typography to maintain a warehouse feel while appealing to an upper crust audience.

The primary typeface is the monospaced Orator. The designers articulate their choice nicely:

This reflects the uniform spacing of the mark as well as referencing the utilitarian infographics associated with import and export. The typeface strengthens the ideas behind the metronomic process of the company’s offer.

Bits of Monotype Garamond soften the tone. Its loose, wandering italic lends a classical, human touch to put older and more conservative customers at ease. It says this is a sophisticated, established brand that knows their product well.

The packaging, paperline, and signage are all impeccably executed. Unfortunately the website doesn’t meet the same standard, substituting Times for Garamond and generally lacking the deliberate control of the printed material. Still, overall, it’s a powerful identity that would certainly stand out on a store shelf when it ends up there.

Thanks to Alessandro Mingione, who recommended this item via our Facebook Page. Join us there and/or on Twitter. Your submissions are welcome.

7 Comments on “All About Tea”

  1. The website doesn't appear to replace Garamond with Times for me. A peek at the CSS reveals this: font-family: Garamond, Baskerville, "Times New Roman", serif;, and a few other variations on that (it's inconsistent). I am fortunate enough to indeed have a font installed called simply "Garamond" (I think it's a Microsoft Windows/Office thing), but they could easily expand that list, because clearly there are dozens of different Garamonds out there.

  2. Good catch, Joshua. Users who have a font family called "Garamond" installed on their system should see it on the site. Looks like I don't. The solution, of course, is to serve fonts via @font-face. You can get Monotype Garamond itself through Webtype. Typekit offers Adobe Garamond and Garamond Premier, and Fontdeck has a few.

  3. Now that was quick: just got an email from All About Tea. They appreciated the article and are now using Monotype Garamond on the site.

  4. Thank you for the tip about Webtype, Stephen. It was very quick to set up and it has fixed the problem that you highlighted. Monotype Garamond makes all the difference (compared to the other variants you mention). Sorry to anyone who was not able to enjoy the full effect of MB's incredible work.

  5. WOW, am so impressed by how quickly All About Tea responded. Makes me appreciate the brand even more given how much they care about all aspects of their product!

  6. The designer of Orator is John Schappler, not Scheppler. This from John Downer, who knew him.…

  7. Thanks for catching that error, Roger! We did have a page for him under the correct name with Schappler’s other typeface designs. Now the Orator page has the proper spelling, too.

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