Available consumer choices for tea run the gamut from quick-fix teabags or expensive tea served in a luxurious setting. It is also easy to brew mediocre tea, but there is no question that the best tea requires methodical preparation, which can be achieved through a traditional tea ceremony. However, sitting through an elaborate tea ceremony for an hour just to have the best-tasting tea is feasible only once in a while. What if one wanted quality tea on a daily basis? What if people could drink great tea before going to work, during meetings or after dinner?
A well thought-out retail experience was necessary to present a modern interpretation of quality, authentic tea, such that it was made approachable to a mass audience who could enjoy it on a regular basis.
Brand Purpose Identification
While designing the brand purpose model for Teyvika from scratch, interview sessions with the co-founders were held to gain deeper insights into what their intended direction for the brand was. Preliminary research on existing competition was also done to ascertain what the state of the current industry was. Through a systematic purpose model framework, they were able to decide that the purpose of Teyvika was to brew great tea that was accessible to everyone in a reasonable amount of time.
Inspired by the feeling of enjoying heavenly tea, the name “Teyvika” was coined. The word has South Asian roots and an association with the idea of “heaven”. The owners set out to brew quality tea with great accessibility and convenience and through that, give people the experience of happiness and contentment from the tea-drinking experience at Teyvika. Thus, the tagline ‘Tea and Happiness” was born, serving as a succinct expression of their purpose.
A Meticulously Crafted Retail Experience
With a strong commitment to ensuring that all customers would walk out of their retail store feeling happy and content, no stone was left unturned when it came to crafting Teyvika’s retail experience. We paid attention to every aspect, ensuring that everyone who visited the shop would feel a palpable sense of happiness from start to finish. This was done within the functional requirements of a Food & Beverage establishment and care was taken to ensure aesthetics blended in harmony with functional sensibility.
Design for Business
Teyvika’s brand purpose was to make great tea accessible and convenient to a mass audience. This was kept in mind when we developed its visual identity. In comparison, many design concepts of tea brands portray the rich heritage of tea trading and the romanticism of tea. This approach created a misconception that tea was strictly a luxurious affair or only for those who had the luxury of time to enjoy it.
Putting aside tried-and-true approaches, tea was looked at through a different lens, creating a contemporary, quirky brand identity that made the concept of a mass audience ‘having some tea’ more feasible in today’s context.
From the brand purpose, we gathered that the logo had to evoke an intelligent, quirky and contemporary feel. It also had to inspire contentment and had to be a personified icon that people could relate to. Orange was chosen as the primary colour of the brand for its power to inspire positive emotions and invoking warmth in nature, all elements suitable for an F&B brand.
Teyvika is located on a street with a long row of colourful shophouses. To ensure that road users and pedestrians would notice the presence of Teyvika in the vicinity even from a distance, a large cantilevered signage was constructed, with an orange rim and the logo set against a white backlit background.
Tea with a Voice
While designing the packaging for loose tea leaves, it was apparent that the final design had to be something that would instantly put a smile on people’s faces. It also had to move away from heritage-inspired design and shift towards a more modern design treatment.
After we attended a tea-tasting session organised by the founders, the variety of all the different tea types staggered us – every tea flavour was distinct from each other and it was almost as if they had their own personalities. The result: the idea of assigning each tea to a personality and giving every one of them a voice.
The packaging for Teyvika’s loose tea leaves were hence designed to have their own distinct personality. Each pack is vibrantly coloured and headlined with mischievous phrases representative of their taste character. As resealable foil bags were found to be one of the better ways to store and pack tea, it was ensured that the design was able to be integrated seamlessly onto that medium.
A Holistic Brand Experience
For a brand to truly stand out, every aspect of it had to be absolutely consistent. When we designed the retail experience, we constantly reminded ourselves that as customers step into Teyvika, interact with staff, enjoy their tea and take in their surroundings, their environment had to make them smile.
We knew that tea was very much a less well-studied beverage compared to its more popular cousin, coffee, certain areas of the retail space were devoted to educating customers about tea. One area was set up to encourage customers to see and smell different types of tea leaves. Another was devoted to expound on the idea of tea with a personality; for drinking different types of tea could inspire different types of moods.
The bar itself was designed with functionality and a touch of modernity in mind. Dark wood capped with stainless steel and bordered with light illuminates the floor. A stainless steel counter ensured cleanliness and hygiene when preparing food and tea and, when implemented together with the dark wood, convey elegance and modernity.
A cohesive visual language based on the developed visual identity guided the application of design across different collaterals. Even the staff wore aprons with tongue-in-cheek slogans and it was ensured that every touchpoint was consistent with the brand.
A Complete Online Experience
Other than providing product information for consumers and potential partners, the website serves as a platform for the founders to tell their story. After all, Teyvika is a brand that is built upon a great passion for quality tea.
It is also a vehicle through which the brand can reach out to their customers and engage them with announcements on upcoming events, promotions and even the founders’ personal insights on tea.
Events that Foster a Community
In line with the brand’s down-to-earth and modern identity, a series of performances involving music and comedy nights called ‘Eurika!’ was organised monthly. As a fledgling tea brand that had just planted its roots in the vicinity, these events served to build and foster a community of activists and regulars that would come back to Teyvika on a recurring basis. Comedy nights were especially popular with the customers, reinforcing its tagline of “Tea & Happiness”.
Making People Smile
Within four months of its soft opening, Teyvika has been making waves in the industry. Even without having had an official launch and public relations efforts, its social media fanbase has more than 400 fans. Positive testimonials about Teyvika have been received, with bloggers declaring,
“Yes! More happiness… to see more great design and packaging in Singapore. I stopped for a sandwich at Teyvika in the Telok Ayer neighborhood. The color and graphics sucked me right in the door, proving what I already know — good design pays in countless ways: sales, happiness and unsolicited blog entries.” – Compass & Camera Blog
“Teyvika clearly knows that excellent brews alone aren’t enough to promote the enjoyment of this heavenly drink, because it has developed for itself a vibrant brand image to defy the notion that tea is traditional and boring. Every detail, from the quirky descriptions of each tea to the music in the tearoom, has been thought through. It’s a place where you could sit and relax all day. And some nights, you might step in to find a live gig or stand-up comedy event going on.” — Brooke, Fugue Traveler Blog