&SMITH's designs for East African herbal tea range Kib are inspired by circularity

London studio & SMITH has created the new branding and packaging for herbal tea range Kib.

The range is the first branded product from East African speciality food company, The Perennial Foods Group. It uses herbs grown by Ethiopian smallholder farmers in 'food forests', where a range of crops is grown together using regenerative techniques that enrich the soil.

& SMITH's designs aim to be a "fresh take on the tired themes of ethical food and drink packaging," as well as a departure for the herbal tea category, says the agency.

"If you want to stand out on the shelf, you always need to understand what else is there already," says Rachel Smith, creative partner at & SMITH. "So we spent a lot of time looking at the tea fixture and working out what would make the difference in that split second of purchase. There was a riot of background colour and pattern on the tea shelf, and we wanted to create something modern and confident."

In a bid to stand out against other ethical tea brands and feel "fresher", the packaging deliberately avoided a crafty, papercut feel. The outer packaging uses a minimal-leaning feel, in a clean black and white colour palette. An "earthy but bold" palette is used to represent each flavour.

The inner packaging uses forest-like illustrations by Willian Santiago and commissioned through La Baraque, that sits inside a circle device. This approach aims to give the sense that "the herbs in the tea are still at home in the food forest they were grown in," says & SMITH.

The inside of the pack also explains in more detail the ins and outs of "circular growing" processes, and as such, the circular motif is repeated throughout the branding, including in the 'b' of Kib. It's also used across social and online platforms, where icons and animations designed in-house are used to explain the concept of circular agriculture further. The web build was by Graft Studios.

"We wanted people to purchase this tea as a modern lifestyle choice, the positive social and environmental impact messaging is there – but it doesn't overtake everything else, like the flavour and the ingredients," says & SMITH.

Before the launch of the Kib range of five teas, The Perennial Foods Group had specialised in exporting fresh produce including avocados, beans and chillis as part of its mission to connect smallholder farmers in East Africa with international customers by giving them the tools, training, and opportunity to sell their produce worldwide.


Get the best of Creative Boom delivered to your inbox weekly