A wandering elephant has been the brand mascot for UK-based Williamson Tea since the company began tea farming in Assam, India, in 1869. India, then still part of the British Empire, used trained elephants as farm animals, much like the West used horses and mules. Until the advent of farming machinery, Williamson too relied on elephants. When the family-owned business moved its tea farming operation from India to Kenya, it kept its elephant logo, but changed its profile from an Asian elephant to an African elephant, which has bigger ears and a concave humped back.
To this day, the wandering elephant remains an important emblem in Williamson’s brand identity program, reminding consumers of the tea grower’s exotic history. Springetts Brand Design in London built on this tradition by featuring ornately decorated elephants on luxury-edition “tin” caddies. Each tin is color-coded to reflect the type of tea inside. More than just an eye-catching marketing ploy, the elephant tin containers are highly collectible, and are themselves charming works of art.
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With the kick-off of New York Fashion Week, Pantone has come out with its report on spring 2011 color trends. Their survey of prominent fashion hues suggests that apparel designers have been influenced this season by colors evocative of exotic destinations like Africa, India, Peru and Turkey. Pairing warm-cool complementary shades that are opposites on the color wheel, the spring palette is lively yet muted.
Fashion color trends do not necessarily cross over into other product categories such as household goods or wall paints, but many designers find them useful to track because they help them coordinate everything from point-of-purchase displays and packaging to editorial layouts. Being aware of the most up-to-date fashion colors helps suggest a contemporary look and keeping the Pantone formula numbers handy makes it easier to match what’s “in.”
To celebrate its 100th anniversary this year, the Bombay Store in India issued a series of ornately rich and colorful posters that incorporate a motif of patterns made from its vast assortment of products. Designed by Ashok Karkala and Vishu Nagula of Joshbro Communications in Mumbai, the posters blend the elegant sensuality of paintings by Art Nouveau artist Gustav Klimt and the psychedelic spontaneity of 1960s posters by graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo. The Bombay Store poster illustrations were done by Murali Alle and Ravindra Joshi, and the photography by Nilesh Patankar.
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