Barkas and teakop brew a cup of balance

By Rasmus Vestergaard
Published 21/02/2023
Category: Project
Featuring: Barkas

Tea or coffee? A battle destined never to end. However, Toronto-based tea brand teakop is brewing a powerful punch with its bright and colourful brand identity. Barkas, a brand studio located in Copenhagen and Stockholm, helped the young tea company create the brand name and define Teakop’s strategic position, brand narrative, tone-of-voice and visual identity. The result is inspired by minimalist contemporary art and aims to express each tea’s functional and emotional benefits.

Minimalistic yet bold

“I’m a big fan of contemporary minimalistic art and the intuitive way it attracts your eye”, explains Mike Wittrup, Founder and Creative Director at Barkas. The abstract illustrations make up a big part of the visual identity and packaging design for teakop; together with the colours, they communicate the qualities of each tea. Barkas and teakop wanted the palette to be saturated, soothing and earthy to balance the expressive shapes. “We tried to strike a balance between well-being and dynamic,” Wittrup adds.

Right from the beginning, it was important for the new tea company “steer away from the old traditional visual codes, and instead do something modern. Since the primary market is North American, it came natural to us to look that way for inspiration”, Wittrup continues and names a few sources of inspiration like artists Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Judd and Carmen Herrera.

From a Nordic perspective, the brand name teakop is a fun mix of American and Nordic languages. “We wanted something simple that also sounded like a modern tea brand,” explains Mike Wittrup. “Then it came down to brainstorming a lot of names and combinations of words. I don’t think we had one specific source of inspiration since it’s a constructed name with a literal meaning. The name also needed to fulfil the legal requirements, which can be quite a hassle. I like the name for its functional quality of stating that it has something to do with tea, but also the subtle and soft feel it has.”

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