A luxury matcha green tea brand that was created to express the single most important part of the tea’s growth process — it's grown in the shade. This little known fact is what gives matcha its optimal taste and vibrant hue. The goal with this project was to honor this growth story and reinterpret it in a modern and intriguing way.
THE GROWTH STORY
Shade-Grown in Japan
Matcha is derived from a Japanese green tea plant. As with most plants, it begins its growth process in the sun. It is then shaded for the final 40 days leading up to it’s harvest, reducing it’s sunlight by up to 90%. The lack of direct sun is critical to produce the highest quality, vibrancy and taste. Upon harvest, tea leaves are dried and stone-ground into a fine powder known as matcha.
Japanese Tradition + Mainstream Culture
The history of matcha dates back to the 8th century. It originated in China and was adopted by the Japanese. Since then, its consumption has become a ritual that is intrinsically linked to Japanese culture & tradition. In recent years, matcha has gained extreme popularity in Western culture. Breaking away from the tradition, matcha is constantly being reinvented and reinterpreted in modern ways to appeal to new audiences.
Brand Identity | Packaging Design | Prototyping | Visualization
The design of the Shade brand revolves around the shadow of the matcha leaf. The shadow is a key part of the design language, informing every decision that was made. Using contrast, blurring and transparency, we played with layers of depth and explored various ways the shadow could come to life.
It was important that we found fresh ways of incorporating these explorations into the packaging to create a cohesive, yet dynamic line of Shade products. Each product has its own unique feel, but remains tied together with the other products through the use of the leaf.
We developed a CMF palette that would be both limited in colors yet flexible in its use, giving a strong brand language that stays fresh with each new product addition to the Shade family. We used warm earth tones and contrasted them against frosted glass, copper and concrete for an authentic, yet contemporary aesthetic.
As the hero of the Shade brand, the matcha powder comes in a premium copper tin and uses special finishes to create a luxury packaging experience. The tin was used as a starting point for the design of rest of the Shade product line.
The Shade matcha latte bottle uses frosted glass to further tell the shadow story, and also celebrate the vibrant hue of the product inside.
The matcha chocolate is packaged in a copper foil and overlayed with a vellum sleeve, to create an intriguing blur effect. The chocolate itself was designed to highlight the Shade brand's most iconic asset — the leaf.