“From farm to cup”: Echo Brand Design collaborates with English Tea Shop to design their most sustainable packaging to date

6 April 2020

Independent design and innovation agency Echo Brand Design reveals its latest collaboration with English Tea Shop in the form of its innovative premium packaging for a new range of Whole Leaf Teas.
 

As part of its ongoing work for the brand over the last 4 years, Echo conceived and designed the innovative packaging for a new range of organic premium Whole Leaf Teas (tea that consists of whole, intact leaves which are higher in quality than standard loose tea). Embracing English Tea Shop’s commitment to sustainability and brand transparency, the team designed 100% compostable packaging which, when unfolded, reveals the stories behind the production of each tea in Sri Lanka, allowing the consumer to connect to the lives of the farmers and producers that grow and farm the tea. The collaboration between Echo and English Tea Shop was key to the success of the range, with Echo establishing the design principles for the range and the core team in Sri Lanka implementing these.
 

Nigel Ritchie, Creative Director at Echo Brand Design commented: “Having worked on establishing a premium brand identity for English Tea Shop in the past, we faced the challenge, in this brief, of designing packaging for the Whole Leaf Tea range which would build on the existing premium identity of the ranges. We re-appropriated the mandala motif throughout our design to work in harmony with the master visual identity. We also designed the physical packaging to create an engaging, tactile experience that builds on the brand’s unique farm-to-cup story. The everyday experience of opening a carton of tea bags is very different from the classic ritual of making, brewing and drinking whole leaf tea, a distinction we wanted to embrace in a theatrical and playful way through the packaging.”
 

When designing the fully bespoke packaging Echo was able to create a unique cardboard construction and visual identity that vividly brings to life the brands unique story whilst significantly enhancing ingredient and flavour credentials. Once the seal is broken and the carton lid is removed, the box opens up and unfurls like the petals of a budding flower to reveal uniquely constructed mandalas that celebrate the ingredients and contents within. The organic ingredients are held in a pouch made from GMO-free cellulose fibre and paired with a reusable scoop. These environmentally-friendly choices were driven by English Tea Shop’s founding principles of Creating Shared Value (CSV) - the concept that brands can thrive through steadfast commitments to sustainable developments and practices that create value for businesses, communities and the world at large.
 

Lily Kowalik, Junior Account Manager at Echo Brand Design commented: “To further embrace English Tea Shop’s CSV principles which are, in fact, aligned with our own - and to highlight their celebration of the farmers, employees and organic produce behind their brand - we wanted to create a packaging which would unfold to unveil the brand’s sustainable narrative inside. Centred around the signature mandala motif, each box reveals the stories behind the ingredients of each tea, the lives of those who helped create it and the history of English Tea Shop’s sustainable and ethical business model. To celebrate their brand transparency from farm to cup, we positioned these stories right at the centre of our design rather than hiding them away in the small print.”
 

The 80g whole leaf tea pack is available in 18 different blends, ranging from classics such as English Breakfast to more exciting combinations such as Turmeric, Ginger & Lemongrass. Inspired by the ingredients
and the vibrant colour palette of Sri Lanka, each pack features bold and sometimes unexpected colour combinations that reflect the premium organic contents inside. Using the design principles established when creating the master brand identity, the new packs are recognizably ‘English Tea Shop’ but also ensure clear and definable differentiation from core products. Free from glue, staples and tape, the lid is sealed by resealable tamper tabs which transform the product into a reusable tea caddy to sit proudly on a shelf, despite being 100% home compostable.
 

Suranga Herath, CEO at English Tea Shop commented: “2025 will see us achieve our green goal of all our packaging being 100% biodegradable and thus we will see zero waste sent to landfill. Echo’s design for our Whole Leaf Tea range is an instrumental step towards achieving this goal. Echo has brought our vibrant and transparent approach to sustainability to life in a fresh and engaging way. They have proved to the market that sustainability does not equate to a reduction in premium packaging, in fact entirely the opposite.”



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