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The story behind the rebrand of Ārepa

Popular drink brand Ārepa underwent a major rebranding to further communicate their message. We talk to the people behind the mission to grasp what the process looked like and how they created the new Ārepa.

The company was first established in 2012 when founders Angus Brown and Zac Robinson developed the formula, science and intellectual property (IP) behind the brain drink before going public in 2016.

Since 2016, Ārepa has since been stocked in over 1500 stores across New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.

Heading into 2022, Robinson and Brown decided that it was time to rejig the brand identity of Ārepa.

“We as a company have evolved and grown over the years. How we position ourselves has changed over time. The original identity was designed before we were in-market, when it was just an idea,” says Robinson.

“We have been in the market for five years, and it felt like we needed a new identity and brand to reflect our unique way of thinking.”

In order to get their rebrand across, Robinson and Brown decided to work on their new vision and image with creative partners Simon Endres and innovation studio Previously Unavailable.

Simon Endres.

Robinson says Ārepa had been working on the rebrand since 2021 with Endres and after meeting a number of agencies, the “good chemistry” with Previously Unavailable made it inevitable they would work together.

Read more: Behind the design of Air New Zealand’s new sleep cabin.

Endres, who is known for his work on New Zealand brand, Allbirds with New York studio Red Antler says working with Ārepa – which he is also an investor in – corresponded with his ethos of working with founders who want to “challenge category norms and build something that adds value to people’s lives”.

“We worked with them to evolve the existing brand to help crystalise its purpose visually and build a system that clearly communicates that purpose across multiple channels, products lines and markets,” says Endres.

Previously Unavailable led the project, helping Ārepa visually in delivering the positioning and design in their new identity.

“We felt the Previously Unavailable team cared about our brand as much as we did. Throughout the journey, we felt Previously Unavailable were an extension of our team with a fresh outside perspective,” says Robinson.

“Paired with Endres’ vast experience and deep knowledge of brand and international markets, along with his drive for us all to go beyond our comfort zones has resulted in what you see today.”

Phoebe Devine, design lead at Previously Unavailable says the process for the rebrand began with a visual idea of the brain for Ārepa but changed because “it felt clinical and too literal”.

“Everything Ārepa does is for the brain and embraces the brain. Ārepa’s mission to make brain work better, and tagline ‘we’re for brains’ drove the tone of voice and design decisions,” she says.

Endres also adds that another key point in the rebrand was to make Ārepa “refreshingly direct”.

“We created the double hemisphere brain shape as a core design element, and along with this, renamed all of the products ‘the brain drink/powder/capsule’ to stand out within the nootropics category and be obvious and direct with customers,” says Devine.

Phoebe Devine.

Looking at their logo, Ārepa prioritised the macron over the ‘Ā’ and placed importance on the word itself, carrying “scientific authority”.

The stand-alone symbol was also designed to emphasise the macron to represent the “optimal peak state of your brain after drinking Ārepa” while linking it to the whenua (land) and maunga (mountains) of New Zealand.

“We chose the robust typeface family Söhne from Klim Type Foundry as it is able to stretch from bold / motivational lifestyle to analytical / scientific,” says Devine.

The colour palette for the brand is also heavily inspired by the colours found in the Ārepa drinks.

“We dipped blotter paper into the drinks to give us the palette.”

Overall, Devine and Previously Unavailable made sure to evolve the brand with the new design in hopes that the “brand enables people to think about the brain differently, to look after our brains and treat them right”. “It strikes the right balance between lifestyle and science. It’s important that Ārepa becomes a part of people’s daily routine, so the direction needed to be fun and accessible while still retaining its scientific credibility,” says Endres.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email bernadette.basagre@scg.net.nz

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