Marketing Initiative

Travelling Through Design: Sharpener’s Gorgeous Packaging for Vahdam x Emily In Paris

A sought-after design house that combines unique ideas with classic expertise, Sharpener takes the scene by storm every time.

When Vahdam Teas – a brand that gives a new twist to an age-old beverage – and Emily In Paris – a show that embodies the classic and the nouveau – decided to collaborate, Sharpener was an obvious choice to bring their visions to life. What they had come up with was a limited edition coffee; a quartet of blends inspired by the hit Netflix show. Vahdam wanted stunning packaging for the case and the four caddies it contains. Everything had to be as pretty as a picture.  

Founded by Hetal and Bianca, Sharpener is the brainchild of two creators that love design and dynamism. Its foundation constitutes years of experience with countless brands in a variety of fields, such as SheRox by Jacqueline Fernandez, Nush by Anushka Sharma, La Folie, Airtel, and Jimmy’s Cocktail, to name a few. Understanding the assignment is their forte and taking on challenegs is their hobby. 

Their style is best described as an eccentric collage of juxtaposing multi-era elements, coupled with a dash of whimsy and uniqueness. 

As the show is famous for its depiction of French culture, Sharpener’s team worked hard to create visuals that were chic and sophisticated while still being fun and fresh. From the very first step, they ideated with intense focus, pinpointing and utilising the less-observed facets of the topics they are playing with. What lies between black and white is not just a palette of greys, but instead a technicolour spectrum. Recognising this fact, they design between the lines while colouring outside the box. 

They also walked the road less taken. Of course, they utilised quintessential depictions of Paris such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and patisserie delicacies like macarons, but they did not stop there. As with all their projects, they went deeper, using representations of subtler images associated with the City of Love and Light (and Haute Couture). The external artwork features striking illustrations of famous Parisian sites, but it additionally has swirling French staircases surrounded by blooming flowers, elements of vintage architecture, and the cobblestone streets.

Meanwhile, they had to use icons emblematic of the brew. Here as well, they went above an beyond. Along with cups and saucers, they wove in tea gardens and wispy clouds. If you look closely, the smaller motifs are the ingredients used in the teas such as berries, vanilla beans, and roses. The key is in the details, all seamlessly tied together with a common art style of decoupage. It is also in the colour palette, where they chose to go bold hues rather than simply staying with pastels. 

The vintage trunk is decorated with these designs, complete with embellishments such as a leather trim and brassy gold hardware. Once opened, it displays the four containers, each carefully crafted and aesthetically aligned to the taste profile of the blend. For these, Sharpener tweaked the layout to add more specific characteristics. Take the La Vie En Rose carton, for instance. It has a distinct colouring and more roses on it. Voila! Vanilla has flowers and stems of the plant. This chest of teas transports you to a city far away in a matter of seconds, each caddy design being visually cohesive. Tea and television aficionados will be thrilled with this set — the design will enhance their experience and the flavour of their favourite blends.

Overall, for the entourage, the design language is vibrant, curated, and très mode, aptly translating the spirit of the show into visuals and catering to the feeling it evolves for its audience.

Due to the research they put in and the iterations they go through, they are able to carve a specific niche for the product in terms of the overall picture it paints. Sharpener eschews the common, and gives its target audience more credit. They push boundaries and create an profound homage to the base idea. 

The result? 

Packaging that is truly and simply one of a kind. 

Their work tells a story of a beloved city and elevates the experience of drinking a beloved brew. Working on this collaboration between Emily in Paris and Vahdam Teas is a feather in their already full cap. Sharpener believes that strong ideas lead to memorable design. Paving a path from the former to the latter, they seamlessly transition from thought to reality. As they like to say: ’Design is an imaginative expression that should breathe life into the product, all the while aptly capturing the essence of the core inspiration.’

Instagram handle - sharpenerinc

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