Not long after Coca-Cola acquired Honest Tea, we were asked to help relaunch the core line to appeal to a broader range of consumers. Honest Tea is known and loved by an army of health-conscious, natural tea drinkers, but non-users saw the brand as too serious and less flavorful than the bevvy of new tea competitors coming to market.
In collaboration with Honest's in-house creative team, we tested many packaging design iterations with consumers to understand how far the brand could stretch — appealing to a new audience while staying true to its roots. We learned that it was critical to keep the T shape for brand recognition, but not at the expense of appetite appeal, refreshment, or shelf navigation. In 2017, the redesign was awarded the Nielsen Design Impact Award for the impact it's had on the brand's sales.
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.
“[The new packaging] continues to be ownable and continues to really celebrate the heritage of the brand, but also is distinctive and is clearly the Honest brand when the consumer sees it on the shelf.”
Co-Founder and Tea-EO of Honest Tea
We redrew the logo in a friendlier font to help the brand feel more approachable, and embellished it with a small leaf sign-off. 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.
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.
“The year following the redesign, Honest Tea's dollar sales grew by 64%. The brand's incremental sales following the redesign exceeded those achieved in 2008 when Coca-Cola first invested in Honest Tea.”
Nielsen Design Impact Award 2017
Honest Tea's research revealed that consumers were confused by the flavors known as Ades. They reformulated these three non-tea variants with herbal tea infusions and folded them into the ‘T’ line. Lemon Balm and Hibiscus Leaves replace the Tea Leaves on these SKUs, visually uniting the line.
Finalizing the design concept is just one piece of the puzzle. Bringing the colorful labels to life on shelf required expert coordination amongst our trusted partners, including retouchers, comp houses, and printers. To recreate the vibrant imagery on press, we managed the production process from mechanical development through print-run attendance.