Font Battle: Twinings Gunpowder Green Tea


The new font is pictured on the left. The old is on the right. Which do you prefer?

Also, can you ID them? The new one is not Helvetica as I suspected at a glance; the R is entirely different. Also, because it doesn’t show up in the photo, the copy beneath the “Gunpowder Green Tea” reads as follows"

New: A full bodied green tea with a clear golden colour and mellow aromatic taste.

Old: (in script) A rich blend of Green Gunpowder Teas from the Orient with a clear fragrant liquor.

I favor the old, and the old copy appeals to me more as well, though I’m not about to go all Andy Rooney over it.

I prefer the general look of the new font, but I think the old one was more appropriate for the brand, and matches the Twinings font better too.

The one on the left, the new one, is Gill Sans. And just because I can’t help myself, neither are fonts, they’re typefaces.

Read this, and I still don’t grok the distinction.

I disagree. I think it’s Johnston Sans. Look at the leg of the R - it’s straight not curved like it would be in Gill Sans. (At least, I think it is. The picture’s pretty fuzzy.)

I like the old one better.

It’s tea. It’s Twinings Tea, at that. I want my Twinings Tea to be redolent of the heady aromas of British Imperialism and tweed coats with leather elbow patches. Sans serif doesn’t cut it.

Both Gill Sans and Johnston are British typefaces designed in the 30s - Johnston for the in house typeface of the London Underground, and Gill as a rip off (which Eric Gill readily admitted). Both were used widely leading up to and during WWII, on propaganda posters and the like, and as such have come to be highly reminiscent of a kind of historic patriotic Britishness. Many modern companies trying to evoke this nostalgia adopt Gill to achieve this - off the top of my head, see Peyton & Byrne and Terence Conran’s Albion Café. So with Gill Sans (not Johnston, the ‘R’ here is curved, whereas in Johnston it’s straight), Twinings are entirely correct in using it, if rather unoriginal, to evoke British nostalgia. Perhaps this is something that passes over the heads of non British people who are unfamiliar with British graphic design.

As for the old design, it’s some version of Times New Roman Bold (of which there are many) - another font with strong British heritage, being originally designed as the in-house typeface of The Times newspaper, so in effect it’s trying to do the same job as Gill, except for a more victorian rather than early 20th century era.

Personally I prefer the clarity of the new version, and the use of Gill evokes some dusty image of my grandmother’s parlour. I also think it’s far better to have a typeface which is distinct from the logo, otherwise the logo is lost, however I don’t like what they’ve done to the new logo - boxes and rulers. Talk about overkill. Less is always more in graphic design.

FTR, IAA British Brand Designer, umm that’s a British Designer of Brands, not a Designer of British Brands. Oh, maybe I’m both.

Thank you for the history lesson (and I mean that sincerely; this board never ceases to amaze me with the things I can learn here!) but I think the first quoted sentence is right. To this American’s eyes, it looks current and trendy and a bit twee, but not old and stuffy and British.

I see similar fonts/typefaces used here for things like cupcake shops and hair salons.

And, before you say anything, please know I’m NOT saying those are the same as the Twinings’ new font. I’m sure to someone with training in the field, they’re about as similar as hemostats and tweezers. But to this untrained consumer eye, they all speak as if the designer is going for urban, hip, young…the antithesis of my consumer impression of Twinings Tea.

Oh, I absolutely ‘get’ the modern trend for comfortable twee in design, particularly for retail brands, and Gill Sans (and its imitators) is the font du jour for this retro trend, at least in the UK. But the very fact that it’s a retro trend means it’s picking up on design from earlier times, no? Twinings isn’t immune to the trend, for sure, particularly when they have more reason than most to hark back to British Imperial ‘stuff’.

"“The font is what you use, the typeface is what you see.”

So the terms are not interchangeable; the font is defined as a given alphabet in a specific size (e.g 8-point Helvetica and 10-point Helvetica are two different fonts).

The typeface, therefore is the final product that encompasses the design aspects of the item in question.

I withdraw my previous claim. I found these images which have better resolution. The R’s leg is curved and, more obviously, you can see the lower-case l does not have a curl at the bottom. It is Gill Sans.

True, but I wasn’t aware that it *was *“retro,”. I mean, now I know that, but until this morning, I thought of it as trying to be modern, not retro at all. I guess the whole retro point, from a designer’s point of view, has been completely lost on me. I’ve got exactly the opposite associations with it! :slight_smile:

I definitely like “green tea” on one line rather than two. To me, that’s the biggest difference between the two.

The second biggest difference is the change of the text from below that from script to the sans serif [del]font[/del]typeface. I think I prefer the script here.

The change of the font of “gunpowder green tea” is overwhelmed, to me, by the change from three lines to two.

Nah. That ship has sailed, at least in the US. Font and Typeface are used interchangeable throughout most graphics industries, and it’s been that way for decades.

And whoever last edited the Wikipedia “font” article most recently agrees.

I very much prefer the new design. If Twinings was an important part of my childhood I might resent the change, but if I was looking at a rack of 30 teas, trying to located my preferred variety, the new design make the task much easier.

The versions of Gill on my computer (Monotype) don’t have the diagonal end on the bottom of the leg of the R. And they seem to have more curve on the leg of the R. But I’m calling that label type Gill unless someone comes up with a better match.

Old version, simply because I don’t like juxtaposing serif with sans serif – it just looks jarringly wrong to me.

No offense, but I can’t imagine what that kind of sensitivity would feel like. I’ve encountered designers who are militant about whether you can have serif text with sans headings, or sans text with serif headings, but to be bothered by any mixing whatsoever is very unusual.

Maybe I could find that tolerable for a single brand or product line, but for everywhere and always…? Hand me the cyanide. :v(

Without regard to the font, it’s pretty easy to see why they decided to make the change. The one on the left is better packaging - the product name is more pronounced and the rest of the text is larger and slightly more legible from a distance. I like the little leaf graphic. It makes one feel informed without actually having to know anything.

Slam dunk, Twinings.

As far as the actual fonts go, I guess the one on the right is more old timey looking, but frankly I don’t think that will sell the product better right now. People seem to be more concerned about whether their tea has gluten in it. :rolleyes:

I guess I’m gonna be the last holdout on that one. I think it’s still a useful distinction. I know it’s a somewhat antiquated concept, but hey, I still run a Linotype, so I am an antiquated concept.

I’m not at my computer and have only pulled up various Gill showings on Google. The 'R’s seem to match the first three results.

I like the old font better, but I like the general design of the new packaging better. The old packaging is too crowded, too much text and too many different sizes. Slap the old font on the new package!

Hot type? Interesting. What do you use it for?

Other data points on the use of “font”: InDesign has a “font” list in the Type menu that shows the names of the faces, without specifying sizes. It would be hard to argue that Adobe doesn’t care about typographical accuracy (but not impossible to do so.)

The standard typeface manager on Macs is called Font Book. It shows you the faces, character sets, and such. It does not divide fonts up by size, because digital type has made that unnecessary.

I may have been mistaken about the angled ends on the “R” in the OP’s link. (Similar to the angled ends used in Kabel.) The photo is fuzzy and many of the letter strokes seem angled. The sharper pictures that Little Nemo linked (of color-coded packaging) look like ordinary Gill.