Tea Runners

To create distinction within the subscription beverage space, I worked with Tea Runners to create an end-to-end, website to physical packaging experience. It quickly became clear that a straightforward, modern asethetic wasn't going to work hard enough to create uniquness in the space, or properly tell the story of impeccably sourcing and white-glove customer service. 

Tea Runners is focused on quality and offered an astounding variety — from tea leaves to flowers to special compressed pucks used in Chinese teas were part of the program. Nearly all tea growing nations were respresented. 

But most uniquely, the level of service is white-glove. The founder is quite involved in communications with its large customer base. To support this high-touch, customer-first value, it became clear that all aspects of the experience had to echo those values. From setting up a plethora of customization options, to refining the email communications, there was a lot of strategy embedded into the creative work for this brand.

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The photography celebrates the delicately detailed leaves that make up Tea Runner's offerings.

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The brand mark

As with many brands, I started with the identity. The questions we would ask around it helped shape it along the way - like "where is this going to be printed?" and "how much do we want to harken to a 17th century company that once ruled the seas?"

The resulting mark system incorporates typefaces at home in the story of tea - from the brand-forged marks on tea barrels on tall ships to tea shop mastheads in London.

The ship mark itself was inspired by a 300-year old Dutch mark, but evolved to work better within the context we needed and detuned from its colonial roots. The ship included in the mark is playful and simple. The generous line gaps in the ship are needed for proper rendering on a kraft mailer - they have the second benefit of helping small size rendering. 

 

FINAL MILE DESIGN

The mailer itself became a cornerstone element of the brand system. Not only did it have to follow strict postal service rules around size and material, it had to really resonate with the consumer since it was their main interaction with the brand.

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I developed a multi-layered unboxing experience inspired by 18th Century dossiers that slowly unvieled the surprises within.

Downstream Design

Often with startups, the business plan gets designed along with the brand. It can definitely be difficult to set a course for where the design should evolve to as the business grows.

One technique I love to do is to predicate what the brand might look like 5 years down the road to stretch the context. 

I guage the client's reaction to these ideas to help inform how to design the brand today for where it might go tomorrow.

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Customization

With so many tea varietals on tap, there was opportunity for different tea drinkers to carve out an identity within the offering. So Tea Runners needed four tracks, with potential for more, to help those customers navigate the choices and feel like the product was better catering to them.

I used a jewel-tone inspired colour palette and nautical symbols to create a base system for the different tea tracks - Original, Pure, Black, and Herbal. 

Secondly, Tea Runners launched Country Boxes - product groupings that gave drinkers an introductory journey to that countries' most seminal varieties. For these instances, I created a map and story element to help guide the tea conniseur through their journey.

Customization

With so many tea varietals on tap, there was opportunity for different tea drinkers to carve out an identity within the offering. So Tea Runners needed four tracks, with potential for more, to help those customers navigate the choices and feel like the product was better catering to them.

I used a jewel-tone inspired colour palette and nautical symbols to create a base system for the different tea tracks - Original, Pure, Black, and Herbal. 

Secondly, Tea Runners launched Country Boxes - product groupings that gave drinkers an introductory journey to that countries' most seminal varieties. For these instances, I created a map and story element to help guide the tea conniseur through their journey.

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IMPACT

 

4 months

go-to-market timeline

4 months

go-to-market timeline

150,000

boxes shipped

150,000

boxes shipped

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