“Forté,” the Italian word for “loud” and “strong,” has no Chinese roots whatsoever. But the topic of tea, of course, is steeped in Chinese tradition. And a good, strong cup of tea is something that universally appeals.
With a “T” and “F” combining to resemble a Chinese character, Tea Forté’s logo beautifully suggests the mingling of Western and Eastern cultures.
The closest match for the logo to a Chinese character is the word for “year” (年). But several other lookalikes exist, like the words for “cow” (牛) and “five” (五), and the first characters for “peace” (平安) and “market” (市場). This fairly common profile of strokes makes their logo so effective in looking like a traditional Chinese character.
The line above this figure reminds of the acute accent carried over from the word “forté,” but the emphasis is subtle.
And, despite the meaning of “forté,” the visual identity is closer to pianissimo, though it retains a look of strength. The logotype has general letter-spacing, and the dramatic line weight modulations and the gentle curves (such as the leaf-like taper at the bottom of the vertical of “a”) add a cleaner, quieter take on brush or nib calligraphy. Centered text, ample white space, simple typefaces (Gotham for the primary text), and a thin gold border create a peaceful visage for this box.
The effect reminds me of a zen sand garden—calm, contained, and dignified. And this combination, as a Zen philosopher might say, are essential ingredients for mental resilience and strength. Its quiet composure is its forté.
The Tea Forté website is as beautifully understated as their packaging. Teas are sold in elegant pyramids, with larger sets available in embossed boxes. Jaunty leaves perch above their teaware, each like a sprout unraveling.