Celestial Seasonings Goes Bold for Gen Z

Understanding that Gen Z is less likely to respond to text-heavy packaging, the company introduces a new functional line and updates core varieties with iconic, attention-grabbing graphics.

Celestial Seasonings’ new line of Energy and Probiotics teas is hitting store shelves now, with graphics that brim with energy and intrigue. The new design was done by brand strategy and design firm CBX, which also updated Celestial Seasonings’ core green and black teas to pique the interest of the younger tea drinking generation.

“Functional foods and enhanced beverages are really important to Gen Z, and it’s not just about health and performance,” explains Audra Nebolini, an associate creative director based in CBX’s New York office. “Younger consumers are keenly interested in the way tea affects their energy level and overall mood. Celestial Seasonings’ new packaging tells that story in bold, eye-catching ways. It’s a refreshing take for the tea aisle, which can sometimes feel a bit dated.”

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Unlike prior generations of tea-drinkers, the creative director adds, members of Gen Z are less likely to respond to a text-heavy pack. “They don’t need a lot of information—they’ll make a quick decision based on an attention-grabbing image, a functional additive, or a perceived benefit like ‘Energy’ or ‘Probiotic,’” she shares.

CBX created the packaging designs for Celestial Seasonings' new Probiotics and Energy line and for its core green and black teas as well.CBX created the packaging designs for Celestial Seasonings' new Probiotics and Energy line and for its core green and black teas as well.

It’s part of why CBX’s designers use themes, symbols, and images so carefully in new packaging design, Nebolini explains. “Our new package design for English Breakfast Black Tea, for example, uses iconic, story-driven illustrations to create a more differentiating look,” she says. “The use of Big Ben and the British flag update the classic Celestial Seasonings line.”

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The CBX and Hain Celestial teams collaborated closely to ensure the designs, which are already available at Walmart, met the threshold for relevancy, uniqueness, and communication clarity. “It’s a common business challenge from our clients,” Nebolini says. “Brands want to be relevant and create smart innovations that appeal to younger target audiences.”

For the new SKUs, CBX created a new visual language to quickly communicate product benefits while staying true to the classic Celestial Seasonings roots. The designers used clever and inspiring category codes from the functional beverages, OTC, and wellness categories to inform themes and symbology on the new packs, Nebolini explains.

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That language carries over to the core teas, with an emphasis on iconic places, symbols, and nostalgic moments. The firm designed bold, posterized illustrations for both lines: a mystical Chinese dragon, a fist clutching a lightning bolt, and a palm cradling the sun. Celestial Seasonings’ new approach comes at a time when tea is expanding into a wider variety of channels, from retail and QSR, to high-end tea shops. Says Nebolini, “Products and packaging need to evolve in tandem.”

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