Blendsmiths’ new identity is “not for everyone”

For the alternative hot drinks brand, Creative Spark chose a packaging typeface that contrasts with the wordmark and colours designed to clash and stand out.

Manchester-based branding agency Creative Spark has repositioned alternative drinks company Blendsmiths with a multipurpose logo and sustainable suite of packaging.

Blendsmiths’ aim is to disrupt the hot drinks market with an alternative that appeals to “the constantly curious foodie”, according to Creative Spark founder and creative director Neil Marra. Part of the new strategic positioning meant accepting that the products “aren’t for everyone”, says Marra, adding that the new branding seeks to align with “the independent values and authentic attributes” of Blendsmiths’ target audience.

The intertwined BS logo was designed to work across the brand’s key touchpoints. Marra says that Blendsmiths wanted a mark that would “stretch as a feature across future SKUs (stock-keeping units)”, be reworked to become an avatar icon, and be easy to apply across standard website formats.

The brand’s new logotype uses Berlingske by Copenhagen-based foundry Playtype, with adjustments made to the kerning. It serves as a nod to Blendsmiths’ “artisan past” and creates “a sense of quality”, says Marra.

The packaging features an intentionally contrasting typeface – GT Flexa by Swiss foundry Grilli Type – which Marra describes as “the perfect alternative to a serif wordmark”.

Creative Spark built on an existing library of illustrations hand-drawn by the wife of one Blendsmith’s co-owners, pairing them with stock illustrations to be used across the packaging. Considering there are eleven SKUs at launch, Marra says that using both bespoke illustrations and stock imagery offered them “flexibility with a smaller budget”.

One of the more difficult parts of the design process was choosing the colours, according to Marra. He says the challenge was striking a balance between “delicately pushing the brand narrative whilst also capturing a flavour profile”.

For example, “Matcha should be green”, says Marra, “but what is a contrasting colour to be paired alongside it?” Similar questions arose for all of the other SKUs, resulting in a “clashing” colour palette that embraces “a distinctive art style”, fitting with Blendsmiths’ ethos of being “proudly not the norm”, he explains.

The packaging bags and boxes are designed to be sustainable. The material for the bags is made from a low-density PE plastic, “meaning it is less tough and easier to manufacture than high density PE”, ensuring waste from production is kept to a minimum, says Marra. PE is also widely recycled in the UK.

According to Marra, recyclability also doesn’t mean compromising on durability, as the material has an EVOH (Ethylene-vinyl alcohol) barrier coating on it, which aims to “keep the food fresher for longer” and cut back on waste.

Creative Spark created the drinks pouches digitally using CO2-neutral printers. Marra says this enables Blendsmiths to “buy lower amounts, use up all the packaging and waste less plastic”.

The carton material is made from “folding boxboard”, which Marra describes as a virgin board derived from wood pulp that comes from “sustainable and renewable sources and is completely recyclable in-home recycling channels”.

Blendsmiths’ new branding will roll out across its website, social media, marketing and packaging.

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