Leeds design agency Robot Food is behind a brand overhaul for Here&Now, a range of iced tea and coffee drinks, previously known as FITCH Brew Co. The new name is inspired by the idea of slowing down and reclaiming our time.
FITCH was founded in 2017 by a husband and wife duo and since enjoyed much success. It approached Robot Food last year as it was looking to expand and move further into the consumer market and 'grab and go' retail space as well as attract more investment to grow. Robot Food took charge of the repositioning, renaming and redesign of the entire brand with a fresh name, Here&Now, to reflect the idea that "cold brew drinks are an antidote to the culture of using caffeine as little more than fuel, contributing to overwork and burnout," as it explains.
To get there, Robot Food wanted to base the refreshed identity around a compelling story. It also wanted Here&Now to move away from what was more functional packaging, injecting a little more colour and life to the product instead. It used illustrations created in-house by senior designer Rich Robinson to add some flourish and also give a clear indication of the product inside each can. These ideas were partly inspired by research into the brand's own cold brew process. "They take quite a long way round everything – they're making life hard for themselves essentially, but it creates a much better quality product," says Jess Cook at Robot Food.
"That's where our starting point came from: they slowed down the process. The brand idea is around the drink, helping you take the time to slow down and enjoy it. We're all guilty of using caffeine to power through the next hour at work, but this is about telling a different story and taking cold brew as the antithesis of what you'd normally associate with caffeine. We wanted to spin that on its head and talk about things from a much more considered, powerful and crafted point of view."
According to Andy Deeley, co-founder of Here&Now, the rebrand also aligns with his personal experience around burnout, and a desire to help share a wider message. As such, the strategy is based on the idea of enjoying the drinks range while being present in the moment. "It's about 'slow' as a mindset: not lying down horizontally but moving away from that culture of rushing and taking the time out to do the things you like and want to do – whether that's skateboarding, going to the gym or chilling out – not just rushing from one work task to another," adds Cook.
During the research phase of the project, Robot Food's Senior Creative Strategist Natalie Redford pulled out insights from looking into the history of caffeine and coffee shop culture, honing in on the idea of coffee shops or cafes as a place to discuss philosophical ideas. She discovered that coffee's use soon changed from a tool for debate and discussion to a way to change our rhythmic connection to the sun and help people endure longer hours and shift work. "Caffeine was turned into this capitalist tool to do more work, so we wanted to turn that around," says Cook.
Therefore, the illustrations by Rich Robinson reflect those activities that people can enjoy in their downtime while they relish in the 'here and now'. Each artwork also plays on the name of the different flavours. "As well as visually bringing to life the moods for our individual products, each element of the illustrations can be separated to create a kit of parts, injecting energy and excitement into the wider brand world," explains Robinson.
Each can also boasts a different vibrant colour, ranging from orange to bright blue, pink and yellow, each hinting at the flavour within. The wordmark is set in a friendly but punchy sans serif, with surrounding copy using a thinner weighted sans serif for simplicity and clarity.
One of the biggest challenges in the project was that while cold brew coffee and iced teas are gradually becoming more prominent in the UK, it's still not a hugely well-known category. "Creating FITCH from inception, there was a huge emotional connection for the brand we had built," says Deeley. "To rebrand was a big, daunting, but necessary step we felt was required, and we needed leading industry experts to help take us there. I am delighted with the outcome of Here&Now – a bold, vibrant, contemporary creative that has exceptional standout appeal both on a shelf and on digital. We have flipped the narrative from so many other brands in the category."
Currently, there are three Here&Now products on sale: Iced Coffee Black – New Ground, Iced Coffee Oat Latte – Social Call and Iced Tea Rosehip – Usual Spot. Two further Iced Teas will be released this summer.