Josh Jacobs Design

Samsara Tea Packaging System & Branding

My entry for a contest to create a branding and packaging system for an independent, sustainable-focused tea manufacturer and supplier based in Chicago, IL.


CLIENT: Samsara Tea

Problem: Lacking in both identity and direction, a group of young entrepreneurs seek to introduce their vision of a tea brand with heart to the world.

Solution: Conceptualize a brand which captures the spirit of the groups core concepts, and create a packaging system that is just as forward-thinking and visually appealing as can be.



Saṃsara: a Sanskrit word meaning "wandering" or "world", it secondarily represents a cycle of death and rebirth to which life is bound.

When the minds behind Samsara first reached out to me, I almost turned them down. I had never done a full packaging set before, so the challenge before me was staggering. Through hours of research and deliberation, I resolved to sum up their mindset through the idea of Samsara (a Hindi concept of continuous flow) and the tagline 'Creating Cycles'. The final logotype takes its look from the word's roots; the handmade font fit the bill better than any computer font could. The mark creation process was tough, but the final product reflects everything the shareholders were looking for and resonated well with test groups. The packaging is designed to be refillable, recyclable, and made from the seed paper of the tea plant it contains so that consumers can grow the plants themselves. Full circle, achieved. Take a more detailed look into my process:


The Mark

Oh man,did I enjoy myself with this one. A brand centered around a cyclical nature, that speaks to a younger demographic, and has a core value of sustainability? This brand practically designed itself. In concept, this mark, which I refer to as "The Seed", reflects the flowing momentum of our daily lives, a harmony which tea and reflection can help one discover. The three leaves, all equal in size and shape, bleed seamlessly into the center circle to exhibit qualities of balance and perreniality. The final touch, a hand-drawn logotype, featured letters which subtly folded into one another paired with one, small, drop of color. Sophistication, meaning, and spirit: acheived.

Coming full circle

This is not a static brand, and my design reflects this mindset. Instead, several color schemes carry the mark in their own way. The yellow scheme, Chamomile, is intended to brighten and enlighten. The purple scheme, AKA Lavendar, invokes a mental and physical groundedness. And the pink scheme, Passionfruit, encompasses the drive which lives in every person to exceed ones past self. It's a whimsical, light brand, which test groups found to be highly relatable.

The packaging

Working closely with partner Botanical Paperworks, and using low-toxicity inks, I developed the structures as seen above. In an effort to make a more virile product, I wanted to design a product which actually used more paper, envisioning as a two-tube system with a removable cap at the bottom. When twisted, a slit was revealed for the circular (of course it was) tea bag to slide out. The finish of the inks on this paper lended a very earthy quality and sheen to the final product. It should be mentioned that I buried the final printed product as a test, and it began to show signs of growing within the first week! See my final designs for the individual sets of packaging below.


I haven't heard from Samsara since I passed them final assets in 2014, but I hope they continue their efforts with the same ebullient spirit they approached me with at the very beginning.