Behind the Design for NICHE Tea’s Share-Worthy Packaging

Morning, afternoon, or night, NICHE is tea you’re definitely going to want to share. The bold, colorful packaging from IWANT is trendy and eye-catching, giving tea time a totally new look. We spoke with John Gilsenan at IWANT about designing something share-worthy, staying on task, and mixing patterns.

Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

IWANT: There was a lot discussion with the client throughout the project about the positioning of the product, who was it talking to, what stores do we want to see it in, etc. We spent a lot of time walking around different types of store looking at tea and products we felt Niche should be aligned with. We also looked at boutique and concept stores that didn’t, or wouldn’t usually, stock a tea range, and started to think about it as a lifestyle product that we would be happy to take to this kind of store and be confident they would at least consider stocking it. So when thinking about the design we wanted something with immediate visual impact that would make browsers stop to pick it up, we wanted it to be exciting and unique in it’s market. We always agreed we wanted bold abstract patterns that would demand attention.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with NICHE Tea packaging and how did you accomplish it?

IWANT: We wanted people to take notice—this intentionally isn’t a supermarket product, so to achieve volume sales we needed the net to be cast wide, we needed the product to be visible to as many possible consumers and stockists as possible as quickly as possible to give the product some traction. The design, the packaging, the photography were all geared to have a big visual impact, to be blog-able and share worthy. So far this is working above expectation.

How do the flavors and ingredients of the tea influence the packaging?

IWANT: The patterns are loosely based on the flavours—the product was evolving and being refined whilst we developed the branding and packaging so we couldn’t, and wouldn’t have wanted to, make overtly literal references. Some of the patterns are more organic and some more graphic but they all work together as a family products.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

IWANT: Start-ups, especially FMCG start-ups, are fraught with all sorts of challenges, hurdles and hiccups and Niche was no different. In terms of design challenges, the biggest challenge was to actually achieve what we set out to do. There are so many new products all the time including many tea brands appearing all the time, we set out to stand out, we wanted to stand aside from the noise by being noisier, we wanted the packaging to make a statement and I think we have achieved that.

If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

IWANT: I think it would have to be the patterns—how different they are but how comfortably they sit with one another.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

IWANT: A practical lesson would be don’t try to use bellybands on tubes—originally we were going to put all the info on a wrap-around on the tube, so when removed the tube would be completely clean of info. The practicalities of positioning and fixing were a bit of a nightmare, the only real way to ensure it would stay would be by using an adhesive which ultimately defeated the object. Something more general would be, and this is a lesson I have learned many times, the best work is realised when the you are completely in tune with the client and they have absolute trust in what you do.