Behind-the-Brand | CLARKEsTEA
Updated: Sep 24
One of the things we love most about designing a new or rebranded identity is the power it has to help our clients reach their full potential. Branding is transformative and empowering when built on strategy.
Introducing CLARKEsTEA a brand on a mission to start a movement based on transparency and real-lived experiences, bringing about awareness and education on the transformative health benefits of high-quality organic vegetable teas.
We thrive on collaboration, so it helps when we work with inspiring people who are passionate about what they do, just like us!
We were delighted with the results of CLARKEsTEA identity. To give you the full story, here’s a behind-the-brand look at the complete process of how the branding was developed.
ONE (1) | DISCOVERY
Since clients know their business best, they have a valuable role to play in the design process. The initial step includes the completion of a discovery consultation questionnaire, so we can get to know the business inside and out, before beginning the strategy and design development.
CLARKEsTEA, founder Val Clarke, reached out to us, recognizing the need for a professional image before launching her business. She wanted to step out with a tailored brand identity, spearheading a movement that brings together real-lived experiences to empower time-strapped young working professionals into developing healthier lives with the wellness benefits of organic (veggie + herbal) teas.
TWO (2) | STRATEGY
Our branding approach is built by combining strategy + creativity. We listen first and then learn what makes our clients idiomatic, diving deeply into their industry, studying the challenges and nuances of how companies in their sector grow. We learn about their competition, research what makes them ambitious and how we can build a strategy that stands out. In the end, we use all this information to curate and carefully blend together our client's strengths and what makes their business unique.
Next, we create a written brand strategy to define how we communicate the proposed vision. This forms the creative brief and guidelines to refer to when the concept design begins.
Within Val’s discovery questionnaire, we asked for a selection of adjectives that she felt best described her brand. She answered with the following:
Lifestyle / Movement
Together with our industry and competition research, these words informed the strategy for the new CLARKEsTEA brand.
Next, the mood board and colour palette (shown below) was curated to visually convey the feeling described in the brand strategy. The mood board sets the tone of the proposed brand identity and very importantly, ensures our thoughts run parallel with our client. We must be in agreement on visual direction before proceeding to the concept stage.
The ‘Tea Is My Therapy’ strategy is centred around a unique consumer; the on-the-go young professionals, who demand simplicity, convenience and are driven to put wellness first in order to live a happier, healthier lifestyle.
The movement is based on transparency and real-lived experiences, keeping the focus on the mission to bring about awareness and education on the transformative health benefits of high-quality organic vegetable teas. In addition, to uniquely incorporating these plant-based solutions into daily life. The overall brand direction has a luxurious + wellness benefit-driven purpose.
Colour is a powerful branding tool. It can transform a brand (and its products) into a subconscious emotional experience by instantly stimulating desire, instilling trust and connecting your mission with the market's purpose.
The proposed palette is a mix of monochromatic greens with copper and hints of white. The colours emphasize cool tones and clean lines to convey a strong and modern aesthetic. The organic-driven vibe denotes an underlying boost to wellness, encouraging strength and happiness, all central to the CLARKE’S Tea brand motivations. The predominantly cool greens are meant to complement the warmth of copper to provide a luxurious essence.
Emerald (Dark Green) is considered a classic colour that symbolizes refinement and stability. The richness of emerald is eye-catching, making it the perfect colour for a brand to stand out. Similar to black, but with more soul, its association with sophistication means it easily communicates a sense of prestige and luxury. Emerald, effortlessly links with the natural world by inspiring relaxation and calm. After all, green is the colour that epitomizes regeneration, which is at the heart of the CLARKE’S Tea ethos.
Fresh ‘Tea’ Leaf (Bright Green) is a hue closely associated with nature, confidence, high energy and is thought to promote feelings of liveliness, freshness, and creativity. It represents new beginnings, growth and healing while symbolizing balance and harmony. This vibrant green is a little bolder, brighter, and full of vitality than the more traditional shades of green. Its zest for life; adds a fun and youthful spin. Bright green is thought to help balance emotions and promote a sense of calm and clarity.
Copper, similarly to orange combines the energy of red and the joyful positivi-tea of yellow. Since it is an earth element, most of its colour meaning is associated with nature. It has the strength that indicates stability, security and sturdiness. Similarly to a cup of tea, a brand that uses copper fills you with a sense of calmness. The personalities of copper are known for being sincere and authentic, paralleling the aspirations of the CLARKE'S Tea brand.
In addition to green, copper is also a naturally occurring shade. While we know green has healing properties, copper is known for its comforting effect. Copper can be used as an alternative to black, by enveloping a feeling of warmth to the market, emanating honesty and reliability, all central characteristics of your brand. When used as an accent, it is designed to create a luxurious feel, especially when paired with the vast shades of green and blue-greens in this palette. Copper is an action colour and it commands attention. It is associated with change, excitement, vitality and success; showing that CLARKE'S Tea is determined and confident.
Mint (Light Blue-Green) is a refreshing and inviting colour that represents vitality. With its blue properties, it is said to be a hue that promotes feelings of tranquillity. In combination with the stronger green notes, mint acts as your modern neural, taking the place of a dull or moody grey. Green, being the second most popular colour (right behind blue); mint is a happy medium, appealing to both men and women and directly linking back to the target audience.
Teal (Dark Blue-Green) is on the darker side of the blue-green spectrum. It is a revitalizing and rejuvenating colour that also represents open communication and clarity of thought. Teal is calming, unique, cleansing and creative. Its understated elegance shows CLARKE’S Tea is a brand that signifies trustworthiness and reliability, by communicating compassion with aside of sophistication.
Rounding out, the colour story is white; generally considered as a neutral backdrop that lets other hues have a larger voice. However, onto itself, it is synonymous with cleanliness, simplicity, purity and virtue. White also evokes feelings of renewal. The hue has the properties of bringing calmness, comfort, and hope. It gives a sense of order and meaning, helping us to de-clutter from life's negative aspects. White offers inner cleansing being the ultimate source of pure energy.
In addition to colour theory, copper is an essential mineral that is vital to human health. According to Ayurveda, drinking water (or tea) from a copper vessel ensures the proper functioning of different organs and several metabolic processes. Similarly to (you guessed it) leafy green vegetables; copper has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties bringing the brand mission (and palette) full circle.
Shapes also play an important role in the development of an identity. It's often the most innovative approaches that happen in the background that gives a brand, its layered and deeper meaning. The squares and rectangles (used on the mood board) are synonymous with logic, certain, trustworthiness and order. Since reliability and support are central to the brand’s adjectives, this makes the square a perfect fit. The use of circles was included to portray a community or tribe, projecting positivi-tea in comforting and united energy.
Transparency, influence and movement, the triangle and CLARKE’S Tea together inspire improvement, focus and represent action. Triangles suggest excitement and growth. The use of this shape speaks to the progressive approach to developing high-quality organic veggie teas that provide effective and result-oriented solutions to health and wellness. Triangles have energy because they are pushing in a certain direction so they do wonders for showing the plant-based innovation behind the brand and products.
Typography is a big part of the design style and is used to reinforce the emphasis on credibility and trustworthiness. By pairing a modern serif display typeface with a clean, light slab serif, we inject high contrast and elegance; demanding personality and openness to the identity.
The proposed photography style is to use real true-to-life imagery, primarily large close-up crops on product ingredients to create texture, contrasted with brightly lit lifestyle shots that reflect a sense of community and the health benefits of the product line.
THREE (3) | CONCEPTS
After defining the visual brand direction, it was time to begin developing the logo concepts – our favourite part of the process! Our strengths lie in creating brand identities that translate our clients' vision and bring their message to life in a visual way.
The greatest challenge of creating a brand identity is incorporating several aspects into the design while still keeping it simple.
We had several considerations in mind during this stage, including:
Creating a movement that brings together real-lived experiences to empower
Keeping the design versatile and functional
Encapsulating the business philosophies
Creating an appeal to secure this niche / untapped consumer tea category
As always we start by using pencil and paper to brainstorm visual ideas. From there the ideas with the most potential are refined.
Since design is subjective, we provide clients with a choice, by presenting two (2) different concepts that we confidently believe answer the directive.
However, a brand identity is more than just a logo; it’s a complete visual system, that should add depth and personality to the brand. This structure gives our clients the confidence to implement and grow.
As part of the concept presentation, we also deliver a brand storyboard that includes the other design elements needed to complete the visual identity— secondary logo, submark, colour palette, typography, patterns and social signatures. In addition, digital in use renderings are developed to showcase how each concept could appear in real-life applications.
For both concepts, the subjective elements have been extracted to showcase the systematic approach used to create the monogram and abstract emblem icons, with the aim to connect with the audience on a deeper level.
CONCEPT 1 - The Organic Wellness Monogram
This concept design focuses on the brand's direction of producing high-quality organic teas with a wellness benefit-driven purpose. The monogram was created by combining foliage to represent the ‘C’ brand initial and a (+) icon that is synonymous with wellness. The wellness (+) icon, is also meant to represent a lowercase ‘t’; for TEA the second initial/word in the brand name. The leaf icon at the top of the ‘C’, pointing downward or inward, symbolizes each of the organically grown ingredients that go into the development of the veggie teas. The centre placement of the (+) denotes CLARKEsTEA is more than just an organic tea brand but rather has unique wellness benefits build into its very core. The monogram creates a mark that radiates united energy and does wonders for portraying a community that projects positivi-tea (+). The wavy crossbar of the letter ‘A’ in ‘TEA’ depicts the feelings of tranquillity that is associated with water; a large component of the (tea) drink itself. The largely cool hues of the palette complement with the warmth of copper imparting a luxurious essence. The monochromatic greens show that the brand is associated with quality and sophistication, epitomizing regeneration, adding a zest of life while the copper induces a calming effect that is sincere and authentic. The CLARKEsTEA wordmark connects with the ‘cool, calm and collected’ aesthetic and encourages strength and happiness with its light, straight-edged and linear lines -- all part of the brand’s ethos.
CONCEPT 2 - The Innovative V Logomark
This concept represents the plant-based wellness innovation behind the veggie tea category. The logomark uses triangles to inspire focus, improvement and represent action. The pyramid in the background signifies a strong foundation and what consumers gain from your high-quality organic teas; effective and result-oriented solutions to improve health and wellness. On a literal level, the triangle also represents the shape of the teabag. In the foreground, the uniting of two (2) tea leaves creates an abstract letter ‘V’, standing for vitality, veggie/vegan and on a deeply personal level, the initial of the Clarke’sTEA founder’s first name. By nature, the letter also looks like an arrow, pointing inward, this symbolizes the quality of the organic ingredients that go into the veggie teas. The same theory is associated with the triangle apostrophe (‘) that connects the ‘e’ and ‘s’ in the name; Clarke’s. The wordmark injects high contrast with the pairing of a modern display serif and clean straight-edge sans serif typefaces. The union demands shelf presence with elegance and character. The blend of crisp greens and tranquil blue-greens represent a fresh and calming brand, one that signifies trustworthiness and reliability, by communicating compassion with aside of sophistication. In this concept, copper is used as an accent, designed to embody a luxurious feel. It commands attention and action; by being associated with vitality and excitement presenting Clarke'sTEA as a determined and confident brand.
FOUR (4) | REFINE AND BUILD
Both concepts were meaningful branding options. However, after deliberation, the client landed on Concept 1. Only slight tweaks were requested to the submark.
Due to our considered design approach, we usually have minimal design refinements, if any at all.
Next, we built out the print, digital and social collateral. To put it simply, this is the process of designing all the other items that will be needed to communicate and launch the new brand identity.
For this new brand we created the following collateral:
Tea Tin Product Packaging
Tea Box Outer Packaging
Tea Card Insert
FIVE (5) | LAUNCH
Altogether, this process took 8 months. The client launch package always includes a plethora of logo files for both print and web use; including all the brand elements, colour palette, patterns and typography (font files).
Thanks to the brand storyboard, Val understands how to use her new identity going forward.
We also provide a step-by-step website tutorial to enable clients to make simple updates whenever needed.
For all our brand identity clients, we offer an ongoing design service to ensure that future projects align with the new branding.
CLARKEsTEA’s consistently styled visuals match their premium product.
This project was a real success, not only does it look the part, the tailored visual identity already enhances the CLARKEsTEA brand, reinforcing the importance of the veggie tea movement, incorporating plant-based benefit, making it successful for future growth and expansion.
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