The making of Bohaag’s Japi logo

Saranya Dhavamani
Jan 18, 2018 · 5 min read

I discovered my love for tea two months ago, when a friend invited me to her favourite cafe in Downtown Singapore. Ever since, my trips to the usual shopping destinations in Orchard Road haven’t been the same — I have been watching out for premium tea, and in the process developed a keen interest in modern package design and branding. When Sarup floated the idea of an Assam-inspired logo for Bohaag, I knew the right challenge had showed up at the right time.

Bohaag is making the finest, first flush Assam tea available to international customers in 2 weeks, farm to cup. Along the way, we are making Assam an icon on the global map, through design and education.

The branding has to match.

We’ll take pre-orders for our May 2018 batch through Kickstarter in 3 weeks. If you order on launch day, you’ll receive 42% extra tea — don’t lose out! Sign up on bohaag.com and we’ll email you the moment the campaign is live.

In this post, I will outline the design process we took to bring Bohaag’s emblem to life.


Bohaag is the Assamese word for April — a very fitting name for a brand specialising in tea harvested during the same month.

The blooming of the Foxtail Orchid (Kopou Phool in Assamese), with the melodious voice of the cuckoo bird, marks the onset of Bohaag in Assam. Bohaag is a period of festivity — uniting the culturally diverse Assamese population, regardless of culture, religion and status.


It’s important to understand the values of a brand before bringing it to life, so it was important for us to thoroughly introspect what Bohaag meant to us.

… the product is kickass, just like our customer. We are successful when she chooses to start a special day, say her 30th birthday, with a cup of Bohaag. We will be her only company when she wants calm moments to herself — our branding needs to reflect that special relationship.

- Sarup

We narrowed down on what we wanted our emblem to achieve for us:

  1. Represent Assam’s beautiful culture by means of an identifiable mark. F&B is a competitive space, so the emblem needs to solve for uniqueness.
  2. Evoke the feeling of desire for something rare, playing on the seasonal nature of the finest Assam tea.
  3. Resonate with our customer’s sophisticated requirements — that this tea is mysterious and special, just as them

After narrowing down on the the objectives and with a rough idea of our core audience, it became clear that Bohaag’s emblem had to be modern, yet with a hint of subculture.


My initial exploration focused heavily on traditional Assamese garments and patterns. When I got further, the result had cute, calm and tender personalities — quite far from our original goal. That didn’t quite meet the uniqueness target either.

Initial exploration — inspired from Assamese garments and patterns

On the second pass, I decided to explore props and add-ons, and just like that, the inspiration for what was to be our logo, just met me on the wild internet!

Japi — Assamese traditional hat

I was enthused as I learnt more about the most critical prop during Bohaag festivities — the Japi. It’s far from the conventional hat — a conical design made of tightly woven bamboo. While the Japi was used by the average Assamese individual for protection from the sun, the ornate version was worn as a status symbol by the royalty and Aristocracy. Sophistication and uniqueness solved!

Structurally, Japi comprises cane staff and tokou leaves tied together. Japi creators use a structure of bamboo with six appendages of cane stuck to it. So I designed the logo with 6 triangles and 6 tails to symbolise the Japi.

First pass on Bohaag’s logo!

Team Bohaag has collectively spent 45 years in Assam — they were visibly excited to find a prop they’ve seen around them beginning to take shape as the emblem! I’m still kicking myself for not remembering to charge my phone — I would have had a cute picture to share!

I wanted to preserve the original look of the Japi by means of representing both the shape and texture, so I attempted to deliver the tightly woven bamboo texture within the shape — however by consensus, we went with the version without the texture.


The final version in regular, B/W and demonstrated with isolation zone

The logotype is in the shape of a circle to create a sense of completeness. The usage of a circle in design aids in bringing instant attention.

The triangle encased within the circle indicates stability — Assam tea is known worldwide and has remained a stable export product from the region. The crossing triangles mark a new beginning in the tea industry through innovations from Bohaag.

Finally, the star mark completes the design, solving for rarity and desire.


As we build more design collateral, we’re excited for how our logo will play a role! Package design is up next, and we’re considering gold embossing our emblem: here’s a sneak peak!

Attempt at gold embossed logo on package

Thanks for reading so far! I can’t wait to share more as we progress on our design collateral — Team Bohaag is working hard on teaching more about Assam through design and writing.

Join the party; we’ll take pre-orders for our May 2018 batch through Kickstarter. If you order on launch day, you’ll receive 42% extra tea — don’t lose out! Sign up on bohaag.com and we’ll email you the moment the campaign is live.

Bohaag

Lessons learned building the world’s best tea company

Thanks to Sarup Banskota

Saranya Dhavamani

Written by

Designer @ Bohaag

Bohaag

Bohaag

Lessons learned building the world’s best tea company

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