The Whimsy of Tea

visual language / Argo Tea

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Argo Tea started in 2003 as a small business led by Arsen Avakian. Their passion was bringing teas directly from growers around the world and blending them into unique and delicious signature beverages. This contemporary approach to tea provides a healthy alternative to sugary coffee drinks.

challenge: In 2008, tea had a reputation for being a drink for the old and the sick. Argo sought to make tea modern and social — a drink worth having a conversation over. They needed a unique voice and position in the café market.

Argo Brand Imagery

process: Through a brand workshop, VSA Partners helped Argo refine their desire to be “the Starbucks of Tea” to a more meaningful — and enduringly different — positioning based on its own strengths. Brand mantras spoke to concocting joy, the science of teacraft, and capturing the energy and emotion of Argo. Pressing opportunities included highlighting signature drinks, creating brand imagery, making a unified visual system, and educating employees on the brand and its values.

strategy: The beverages, language, and design focus on creating a modern atmosphere where tea is appetizing and appealing to the Argo customer who is primarily female, stylish, single, digital and computer-savvy, more of a night owl than an early riser, and a bit more verbal than visual. The personality matches this by being modern, quirky, and whimsical. Visuals extensions include photos of customers in cafés, bold mid-century inspired illustration, and an extended color palette.








agency: VSA Partners (Partner: Jamie Koval, Strategist: Mike Sanders, Creative Director: Dan Knuckey, Project Manager: Shelby Laad)

role: Lead designer, art director, illustrator, site architecture and user experience design