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Coffee is too bold. Hot chocolate is too sophomoric. No, tea is the the perfect drink. Drinking tea is charming, quaint, and comes from a longstanding tradition. Have you ever thought about why you drink certain kinds of tea in certain situations? I have, and believe it or not, it all stems from the logo on the tea’s package.

The logo is the first and most important visual mark of a tea package. It sets the tone for the entire tea-drinking experience. There are several different ways to drink tea – on the go, sitting in a favorite easy chair, or at a fancy luncheon – and the way teas are packaged and how they look ultimately influence which teas are consumed in which scenarios. One wouldn’t bring cheese-whiz to a fancy dinner party – in the same way certain teas belong in certain environments.

I’ve been able to distinguish three classes of tea – all based on their logos – for three different environments. These classes are also based on my knowledge of and research in the brand behind each logo.

Simply straightforward (middle class)

These are the kinds of everyday teas that one stocks for no particular occasion. There are no surprises here, for better or worse. The logos are what I expect tea logos to look like. The colors are bold, the type uninteresting, and if other design elements are used they are rather uninspired. These kinds of logos are so abundant that they are somewhat comforting- nostalgic even.


Mysteriously Magical (unclassifiable)

These teas are reserved for moments of needed calm or excitement – something different. These brands do a marvelous job of bringing out the mysterious side of tea. The type is beautiful but unusual, strange shapes are common, and if color is used, it is rich. For a glimpse of this strange world visit the Tazo website.*


Effectively Elegant (high class)

Tea is nothing if not fancy and traditional. These brands appeal to that aspect of tradition and royalty. Elegance can come in many different ways, but the commonality here seems to be serif typefaces, lots of fancy lines, dignified illustrations and little or no color. Not surprisingly a lot of these brands are from England. Why is it that the British are always classier than us? I would (and do) buy tea from these brands just to make myself look classier.


I hope that after reading this post you are better equipped to do your own classifying of tea. If you discover a new class of tea I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

* update: since the writing of this blog Tazo has been acquired by Starbucks and their website is now rebranded. The design is cleaner and much more boring than the old one. Sniff.

Hannah Hudson
With a passion for communicating through design and an OCD level of pixel-perfection, Hannah continually seeks to refine the poetry of her code.