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8 things to like about Bigelow tea cartons
As nice as the front panel is, the more notable packaging "bits" are found on other panels.

8 things to like about Bigelow tea cartons

Bigelow tea cartons serve several portions of appealing on-packaging details such as a “designer” UPC barcode and a kind of reverse take on personalization courtesy of a packaging line operator.

For those of us involved in this business in one way or another we remain alert to packaging that catches our eye as go about our daily lives. For this latest example, it is helpful to know that my wife steeps a lot of tea and one of her wintertime favorites that I’m partial to as well is Bigelow Red Raspberry tea. I took notice of the carton packaging after a recent ecommerce order of four 20-bag cartons purchased direct from the company.

While my attention was initially drawn to the tasteful packaging design and color scheme, a closer look revealed more details that were of greater interest. If you haven’t taken notice of Bigelow’s packaging before now, here are nine packaging details (eight of the carton and one of the tea packet as a bonus) I found that may spark ideas for your own redesign:

1. Impressively, the UPC barcode found on the bottom panel is in the shape of a raspberry as shown above. I’ve seen custom-shaped barcodes occasionally and it gets my attention every time as an ingenious way to turn the ubiquitous code into a brand equity asset in a clever way. It also shows that the brand went the extra mile beyond what one would expect in a redesign. It would have been better if the barcode was printed in red, although I assume that wouldn’t work well for scanning.
2. As seen in the closeup below, what appears to be laser-etched lettering that reverses out in white on the printed red band across the bottom panel below the raspberry barcode states “Tea packed by Dominique E.” I like that as a personal touch and a step above “packed by operator 31” or similar wording. I can’t imagine that the cartons are hand-packed, so until I hear differently I’ll presume that Dominique was the cartoning machine operator for the shift.

3. Instead of a use-by or fresh by day, the fresh dating next to the previous element on the red band states “Best enjoyed by: Nov. 2018.”  The use of the word enjoy adds a nice touch versus the generic coding Use By or similar dating that we all come to expect.
4. The sustainable packaging statement that the company makes, also found on the carton bottom adjacent to the raspberry barcode, strikes just the right note. In addition to the almost-required generic chasing arrow symbol, it adds a gold heart to state visually “We [heart] Recycling.” The gold ink used for the heart matches the gold that appears in the Bigelow name and several other places on the carton. The accompanying copy states “Our boxes, tea bags, strings and tags are 100% biodegradable and we encourage you to do your part. Thanks!” That’s truly encouraging messaging.
5. On the back panel (below), the “Caff-O-Meter” of caffeine content per serving is provided visually on the back panel. For one thing, I didn’t know that herbal tea has less caffeine than decaf. And just above that are explicitly clear instructions to brewing a great cup of tea where I learned I shouldn’t squeeze the last bit of flavor from the bag.
6. Another nice detail seen on the back panel (below) is that a printed tea bag along the bottom of the reclosable flap on the carton bottom aligns perfectly with the image that appears beneath on the carton. It also plays perfectly off the copy printed above, “Unlock the freshness,” accompanied by a key that’s printed in that same gold color noted earlier. This particular style of reclosure was an improvement over the perforated zipper tab used previously.
7. The company history is printed on the top panel as told by David Bigelow is a good example of literal brand-centered storytelling. Interestingly, it picks up the company’s story in 1960 vs. the previous top-of-carton history lesson that dated back to the company’s origin in 1945.
8. In addition to the cumulative aspects noted above, I found the overall color scheme as satisfying as a fresh-brewed cup o’ tea and an improvement over the black-accentuated design used before.

Finally and as a bonus, it turns out that the inner foil-laminate tea bags (20 per carton) were also redesigned—and they reflect the carton’s design to a “T.”

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