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In addition to its work on the new Energy and Probiotics teas, the brand strategy and design firm updated Celestial Seasonings' core green and black teas to pique the interest of the younger tea drinking generation, said Audra Nebolini, an Associate Creative Director based in CBX's New York office.
"Functional foods and enhanced beverages are really important to Gen Z, and it's not just about health and performance," Nebolini said. "Younger consumers are keenly interested in the way tea affects their energy level and overall mood. Celestial Seasonings' new packaging tells that story in bold, eye-catching ways. It's a refreshing take for the tea aisle, which can sometimes feel a bit dated."
Unlike prior generations of tea-drinkers, the creative director adds, members of Gen Z are less likely to respond to a text-heavy pack. "They don't need a lot of information—they'll make a quick decision based on an attention-grabbing image, a functional additive or a perceived benefit like 'Energy' or 'Probiotic."
It's part of why CBX's designers use themes, symbols and images so carefully in new packaging design. "Our new package design for English Breakfast Black Tea, for example, uses iconic, story-driven illustrations to create a more differentiating look," Nebolini said. "The use of Big Ben and the British flag update the classic Celestial Seasonings line."
The CBX and Hain Celestial teams collaborated closely to ensure the designs, which are already available at Walmart, met the threshold for relevancy, uniqueness, and communication clarity. "It's a common business challenge from our clients," Nebolini said. "Brands want to be relevant and create smart innovations that appeal to younger target audiences."
For the new SKUs, CBX created a new visual language to quickly communicate product benefits while staying true to the classic Celestial Seasonings roots. The designers used clever and inspiring category codes from the functional beverages, OTC and wellness categories to inform themes and symbology on the new packs, Nebolini explained.
That language carried over to the core teas, with an emphasis on iconic places, symbols and nostalgic moments. The firm designed bold, posterized illustrations for both lines: a mystical Chinese dragon, a fist clutching a lightning bolt, and a palm cradling the sun.
Celestial Seasonings' new approach comes at a time when tea is expanding into a wider variety of channels, from retail and QSR, to high-end tea shops. "Products and packaging need to evolve in tandem," Nebolini said.
CBX is an independent agency specializing in brand strategy and design services, including branding, innovation, packaging and retail design. Founded in 2003, the company currently employs nearly 100 creative and support staff at its New York City headquarters and Minneapolis office. Its client list includes Mondelez, Kroger, Keurig Dr Pepper, General Mills, Hain Celestial, and Merck.
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