The Art of Persuasion

Package design, at its root, is an art of persuasion: Persuading a shopper to pick your good up and purchase it; persuading a retail buyer that their customers want your product and your brand aligns well with the retailer; and persuading brand managers that your design or branding strategy can transform or keep retail buyers and shoppers as brand fans.

That’s why Taja Dockendorf, owner and creative director at Pulp+Wire, advocates engaging the client early in the creative process. “By letting clients play a central role in the process, they’ve already been involved in some of the early stages of creative, including discoveries and research, by the time we get to the big presentation,” she contends. Then the presentation can be about the aha moment, when they get to touch and feel the concept.

“It’s not about five different directions,” Dockendorf remarks. “That’s just a waste of time and, honestly, a waste of budget.”

Instead, she suggests, give the client the satisfaction and the excitement of seeing your collaborative work in a nearly final stage, while still affording them an opportunity to tweak the design if it doesn’t match what they perceived to be the collective vision.

In addition to developing working prototypes, Dockendorf suggests showing the brand owner how those designs will look on shelf to ensure the packaging will perform at retail.

Describing a recent redesign of the packaging for Yo-Goat, a drinkable yogurt made from grade A pasteurized goat’s milk, live active cultures and natural flavors and without added preservatives, Dockendorf says, “We took a photo of the shelf space in Whole Foods and then replaced out their old packaging with the new packaging so that the client could see how it really worked amongst their competition. That was great, because one of the directions that they liked previously, really lost its impact on the shelf and started to look like everyone else, so it was great for them to see that.”

Noting that even though agencies like hers may look at shelf sets earlier in the design process, design firms should still include shelf sets in their presentations. This lets all the project stakeholders, Dockendorf says, see how the design competes on shelf “before printing 400,000 or more shrink sleeves.”

That’s precisely why Tom Newmaster, partner at WFM, likes to give the shelf set prominence in his presentations. “If I can hold back seeing the individual package on its own, I will do that every time,” he remarks. “Think about it, none of the other stuff matters if the design doesn’t work on the shelf.”

Showing the shelf set too late, he contends, can also encourage the project stakeholders to focus on minutia instead of the design’s bigger, broader, strategic goals.

“When you show the individual concepts first, human nature takes over,” he says. “Instead of looking at how the design jumps off the shelf and is an improvement over the competition or a weakness in the previous design. It’s a natural tendency for people to want to get in the weeds and spend their time fine-tuning details of the individual design because everybody wants to add something to the project.”

From choosing the presentation progression that optimizes everyone’s use of time to deciding how formal and long a presentation needs to be, design firms should make these considerations on a project-to-project basis. “You don’t have an excessive amount of time to spend on the presentation,” he remarks, “and the client doesn’t have that kind of time either. Get to the point and move on.”

This approach also leaves more time to finesse the design after the presentation. Laura Wilkinson Sinton is the CEO of startup FreshTape, which aims to offer consumers a better and cleaner alternative to potato chip bag clips via its resealable tape product. She walks into every presentation to a retail buyer with the attitude that the design is not final.

Describing her initial in-person presentation with Cooks Warehouse Stores’ buyer Kate Pedrick, Wilkinson Sinton recalls, “I walked in, set down the point-of-purchase and packaging that Haney PRC had designed for us and asked for her input. The packaging surprised her, pleasantly, but she had great ideas on how to improve a few things. We took it to heart, and they are now a favorite retailer for us. They move a lot of FreshTape.”

Wilkinson Sinton advises other brand owners and managers to remember that presenting to the retail buyer is a consultative sell. Approach the process with this question in mind, “How can our product help you sell?”

3 tips for presenting to retail buyers

Laura Wilkinson Sinton of startup FreshTape is successfully wooing buyers. At time of publication, FreshTape is in 150 stores, and Wilkinson Sinton is in ongoing discussions with other retailers interested in her product. She shares her top tips for presenting to buyers.

1.  Involve your top buyers in the  process. Actively seek their input as early as you can.

2.  Bring beautifully executed A/B/C prototypes. But avoid presenting more than three design options or decision fatigue will hurt you.

 3.  Bring visuals of what the product may look like in their specific store. Rather than rely on generic shelf set pictures, use Photoshop to help the buyer visualize your product in their store and against their specific competitive products. Wilkinson Sinton says this subtle difference can make a sale.

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Hands-on Team Player

Q&A with:

Peter DiDonato, owner of DiDonato Design

Judy Dixon, vice president of production at Hornall Anderson

Terri Goldstein, CEO of The Goldstein Group

Pamela Long, director of client services at Little Big Brands

John Nunziato, founder and creative director of Little Big Brands

Faster and cheaper has been the business directive from time immemorial. This desire, Little Big Brands’ founder and creative director John Nunziato says, is fueling a disturbing modern trend in package design. “Because of timing and cost being hero, people are approving PDFs as proofs,” he explains. “This type of proofing will most likely result in a client who’s disappointed when the product gets printed because they’ve seen the image in a very different way,” Nunziato says, noting that packages printed on white ink look different from prints on white paper and very different from images viewed on screen. A physical prototype can more clearly communicate concepts and how the package will look in different retail environments.

A prototype also lets everyone involved in the process, including the designer, brand manager and retail buyer, examine the concept closely.
A consumer packaged goods company understands the proposed direction much earlier in the process as well. “The ability to actually hold a prototype or walk up to it—depending on the project—really accentuates the detail,” Hornall Anderson’s vice president of production Judy Dixon notes. “It’s amazing how many details you realize about a design concept once you see it in 3-D.”

Nunziato adds, “That [the prototype review stage] is when the brand manager really starts to fall in love with the design idea. A prototype gives them a real package that they can go to the store with and put on the shelf. They can keep it around at eye level. They can send it to other people for review.

“It’s also easier for clients to be able to visualize type and color tweaks compared to a 3-D rendering or even a lay flat,” he adds. “A prototype can spur more creativity from the client side. I think it can even lead to some buy in from their side and result in a few more dollars invested in the project because they can see just how beautiful the brand’s going to look.”

To make sure that designers and brand managers are getting the most out of their prototypes, Little Big Brands’ director of client services Pamela Long recommends using a service that’s flexible enough to partner on some of the decisions. “They need to be able to roll with the changes,” she remarks.

Nunziato warns that designers should avoid services that “just receive a file, run it and say, ‘Well, that’s what we received.’” Prototyping services with this philosophy don’t add to the creative process. “I believe creativity continues from the agency to the prototypers to prepress to the printers,” Nunziato explains. “But I believe some of them are not using their creativity. So you want to make sure the prototype house you’re using is asking lots of questions. You want to make sure that the prototyper is invested in the client’s brand as much as you are because they’re a part of the project now and not just a piece of the process.”

That’s why Terri Goldstein, CEO of The Goldstein Group, lists service, a consultative approach and knowledge of retail environments as her top three criteria for choosing a prototype house. A commitment to customer service will help ensure that the prototype house will not only manufacture a viable prototype but also will build a plan for the packaging supplier for making the final packages. A consultative approach helps an agency get the most out of the technical expertise of the prototype house. Knowledge of the retail environment will help ensure that the package design’s intent is met despite how the package is displayed.

Goldstein explains that a good prototype house can then contribute to the design process by making sure that the best substrates and coatings are chosen for the project. “Often a brand can be sitting on the bottom shelf or way up on the top,” she says. “A prototype house that truly understands the retail environment can note how elements might look darker on a shelf or what parts of the design are likely to be covered by shelf tags. A good prototype house also keeps up with the latest technologies and substrates so they can make suggestions that adjust for these conditions.” These suggestions can have a great impact on the efficacy of the final design.

That’s why Peter DiDonato, owner of DiDonato Design, says the first and the topmost question he asks himself when choosing a prototyper is, “Do I trust them?”

“Yes, you have to consider price and quality,” he adds. “But it really comes down to the person you’re working with.”

When you trust that person, Nunziato says, you know that everyone is working toward the same goal. “I trust that they’re a business that’s invested in building beautiful brands with our agency,” he explains. “As a business owner and creative director, I believe it’s important to let creative people be creative. I try to find the ‘specialness’ in a brand and in my team, and, of course, manage expectations.”

Goldstein adds that businesses can quickly reap the financial rewards from a good design-firm and prototype-house relationship. “A good prototype service paints a picture of how colors are met with exact formulas, how blends are achieved, basically how everything is broken down,” she says. “When a client goes to their package printer with a prototype from a great comp house, they don’t have to stay at the printer for two, 15-hour days. They simply say, ‘Here’s the target and here’s how you hit it.’

“My mandate is never to let a design go out of my studio without a comp that the client has signed off on and the formula to hit that target,” Goldstein remarks. “That’s how you get great brands that look as good on shelf as the phase one concept the client fell in love with.”

A peek behind the curtain
In our December 2013 issue, Package Design will showcase prototype services companies as well as manufacturers
of prototyping equipment in a product and services focus on prototyping. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the early submissions:

Manufacturing Target Development
Guy Conti Art & Design Inc. specializes in package design exploration and development. Specialties include folding carton, tube, jar, bottle, box and bag prototyping. Package decorating and finishing options include foil stamping, custom embossing, custom spraying, chrome finishing, shrink wrapping, laser die-cutting, custom dry transfer and silk screening. The firm can also create digital proofs and prepare mechanicals and production targets.

Packaging Prototypes
Schawk’s brand deployment packaging prototype services range from providing comps for “live” local market tests in-store, to production comps used to sell new products at retail, to hero comps suitable for media exposure and public relations opportunities. SGK can produce a wide range of CPG prototypes, comps and sales samples, particularly for the food, beverage, health and drug industries including: both rigid and flexible packaging, comprising cartons, pouches and shrink labels, which can be produced using clear, white and metallized substrates, along with heat shrinkable films.

Complex Prototypes 
Bridge Premedia prototypes allow clients to reproduce metallics, white ink, spot varnishes, and embossing effects on production substrates such as shrink overwrap film, shrink sleeves, foil, paperboard, biaxially oriented PP, PET and corrugated board. Prototypes offered include cartons, pouches, shrink label and overwrap, rapid prototyping of jar and bottle structures, and interactive virtual prototyping.

Food Packaging Prototypes
As a digital printer of FDA-approved food packaging, PrintSure can manufacture prototype pouches, cartons and shrink sleeves that can be used for direct or indirect contact with food.

3-D Structural Prototypes
IBC Shell produces 3-D printed prototypes on a Cimquest fused deposition modeler to communicate the beauty and confirm the functionality of packaging concepts. The 3-D CAD Buildware can transform design concepts into complex, finished decorated prototypes that can also incorporate moving components.

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An Epic Brand is Born

The Epic Seed, combining the goodness of Greek yogurt with on-trend superfood chia, is launching in major Whole Foods markets across the country. Little Big Brands was tapped to develop the new brand.

“Chia is the Mayan word for strength, and some consider it nature’s perfect food,” said Jesse Rudolph, founder, Epic Naturals. “We believe we’ve filled a void in the marketplace and created a brand, that like the little chia seed itself, packs a real punch.”

In fact, according to Mintel research, 70% of consumers purchase yogurt for digestive health, yet most brands lack any real fiber benefit. The Epic Seed has more fiber than an entire apple, as well as the protein equivalent of three eggs or 19 cups of spinach, more omega-3s than a serving of salmon, and is loaded with calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and antioxidants.

“The brand proposition is really distinct and ownable, and we felt a responsibility to make sure the identity and design lived up to that promise,” said John Nunziato, creative director, Little Big Brands.

The Epic Seed logo was handdrawn and the typography nestles inside a seedpod. That shape is replicated on bottom of pack where key nutritionals are called out and backed in complimentary colors to stand out against each chia flavor. Handdrawn ‘Greek Yogurt + Chia’ type stands out prominently against the white yogurt backdrop, while flavor is locked up at the bottom and stands out against the deep colors of the chia. The lid is a feast for the eyes itself with illustrations courtesy of Brian Holderman. The idea was to graphically depict all the nutritional benefits that each container of The Epic Seed promises. Illustrations continue down the side of pack and call out more key features, such as Non GMO and Gluten free.

The Epic Seed can be found at Northeast Whole Foods stores, as well as those in California, and the Pacific Northwest. There are four delicious and nutritious flavors: Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry and Peach.

Little Big Brands (LBB) specializes in strategic brand design – including brand strategy, consumer research, concept development, structural design, graphic design, and print production. LBB is also a leader in sustainable packaging.

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Trina Uzee Named Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director at Anthem

Anthem, a global creative agency that actively connects brands with consumers by amplifying desirability from package design to brand campaign, announced today the appointment of Trina Uzee to senior vice president, group creative director. Trina will lead the creative teams in Anthem’s Chicago and Atlanta offices.

Lor Gold, global chief creative officer at SGK, Anthem’s parent company, noted, “Trina brings passion, leadership and extensive strategic, creative and brand-building expertise across all media to Anthem. Her appointment supports Anthem’s ever evolving creative leadership and enhances our ability to drive brand performance by inspiring action.”

Michael Komasinski, group managing director, Americas retail, at SGK, said, “Trina’s innovative approach to digital and shopper marketing gives her a unique perspective on retail. Her shopper insights and abilities to develop solutions wherever a consumer encounters a brand on the path to purchase and repurchase will drive meaningful impact to the shopper experience for our client’s brands.”

Uzee said, “I’m thrilled to become part of an organization that has a crisp vision of the future of branding and puts the brand’s package at center stage. My experience spans the core disciplines that shape the agency’s ‘Shelf Out’ philosophy: From online to in-store—all of the touch points where people connect with brands.

Gold explained, “Desirability is at the center of our thinking and packaging is key as it represents the source of a brand’s influence. Packaging is more important than ever and the biggest performance initiative any brand can have.”

Prior to joining Anthem, Uzee was most recently vice president, group creative director for Digitas in Chicago. Her distinguished career in creative strategy and brand development also includes chief creative officer and creative leadership roles at Tabletop Media, IMC2, Tribal DDB, Tracy-Locke and GSD&M. Her work has earned awards and recognition for creative excellence including a Cannes Lions, and numerous ADDY and Web Awards.

Uzee’s brand experience touches on virtually every consumer need and demographic. Some of the companies and brands Trina has worked with include Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, GlaxoSmithKline, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Coors, Kraft Foods, Hillshire Brands, Whirlpool, Discover Network and Pfizer.

Gold concluded, “As a digital veteran, Trina’s pedigree and experience allows us to further elevate Anthem’s offerings across all media to optimize the evolving channel mix for our clients’ brands.”  

Anthem is a global creative agency that actively connects brands with people by amplifying desirability—creating an insatiable thirst for brands from package design to brand campaign. Anthem sells brands to drive brand performance. Anthem is part of the brand development group of SGK (NYSE:  SGK).

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Two Icons, One Bottle

Frank Sinatra always had a bottle of Jack Daniel’s on hand—in his dressing room, on his plane and at home. The legendary singer become such a fan of the whiskey that he created the “Jack Daniel’s Country Club” for a few close friends, and even went so far as to have a crest designed.

When brand owner Brown-Forman wanted to create Sinatra Select, a premium special-edition Jack Daniel’s to commemorate Sinatra, they brought in design company Cue to create a distinctive package that would honor both the whiskey and the famous drinker, without crossing the line from class to kitsch. Sinatra was a Jack Daniel’s aficionado, says Brown-Forman’s Matt Blevins, manager of trademark strategy and development for Jack Daniel’s. “I felt very strongly that this needed to be a recognition of an authentic relationship,” he says. “We really did want to strive for balance in the branding.”

Chris Thomas, project director, and creative director Alan Colvin at Cue looked to that relationship to create a narrative about Sinatra’s connection with Jack Daniel’s, which reached back to his introduction to the drink in the 1960s by Jack Daniel’s salesman Angelo Lucchesi. “There was a genuine story there that we could take some inspiration from,” says Thomas.

The design discussion centered around being true to the memory of classic, Rat Pack-era Sinatra, says Colvin. “The idea of making it more classic than decorated was what helped guide us in choosing some of those finishes that were more restrained and premium,” he says.

With the help of the Sinatra estate, Cue headed to the archives and poured over vintage photos of Sinatra, researching his history with Jack Daniel’s, and looking for the telling details they could incorporate into the design and create an emotional connection between the two iconic brands.

The designers retained the iconic look of the classic Jack bottle, while customizing the label and branding details to bring a Sinatra sensibility. “We identified what parts to retain and what opportunities there were to tweak or modify parts of that silhouette,” says Colvin.

Orange details around the neck and on the labeling were added because orange was Sinatra’s favorite color—he called it “the happiest color.” A small orange fedora, an image from the Sinatra estate, is on the neck, and the “Old No. 7” usually found in the middle of the front label was replaced with the words “Sinatra Select” in white and orange. There’s additional filigree on the label and neck wrapper, also sourced from the estate, and an additional surprise: the Jack Daniel’s Country Club logo on the cap, a small, hidden detail that only appears once the bottle is opened. “We really tried to be true to that iconic structure of the brand but allow new expression to come into play,” says Colvin.

The 1-L bottle, a custom creation ordered from Bruni Glass in Milan, Italy, is an exaggerated version of the traditional Jack bottle. The neck is longer, the shoulders sharper, and the base is very thick glass, giving the bottle a sense of weight and value. “[The bottle] is tall and elegant but it’s got a heft to it, too, so it’s masculine at the same time,” says Brown-Forman art director Sam Gardner. “There’s nothing dainty about it in the hand.”

The box was custom-made by Burt Rigid Box, which has been providing boxes for Brown-Forman for 20 years. Once Burt had the design renderings, they worked on creating a box that would be a beautiful expression of the product, while durable and at an appropriate price point. And there was an additional challenge: they had to start designing before an actual bottle was available. Many prototypes later, a clamshell structure was selected, using 80-caliper board box with a die-cut collar tray and a hidden magnet closure in the collar with an orange ribbon pull tab.

Sinatra’s suits provided the inspiration for the box covering, and Cue was looking for a traditional, matte finish, says Gary Sweeney, senior vice president of operations and business development at Holliston. They chose Holliston’s Arrestox in black, a 100% cotton in a rich, jet black that’s coated and printable, but still maintains its tactile feel. “It was very important to use a durable material with color compatibility throughout the package so that as it’s opened and closed, the material wouldn’t crack and remains looking lush,” says Sweeney.

More testing ensued to meet the challenge of printing white and bright orange on deep black. Burt developed a screen print ink with the right opacity and viscosity to cover the fabric. The box is screen printed with multiple-pass, hot stamping for the silver filigree and text.

There’s an accompanying booklet, also covered in Arrestox, that tells the story of Sinatra and Jack Daniel’s and that fits in a cavity inside the front of the box. For support, a layer of polystyrene foam was used under the booklet. “The idea was to give a very luxury look but also be practical in that it was going to be holding a very heavy bottle and it needed to sustain that weight in travel and in the store on the shelf,” says Burt vice president Laura Hurd.

This was the longest project he’s worked on for Burt, says Dwayne Spaulding, creative designer at Burt. “It took a year and a half on the design but the end results obviously speak to that timeframe.”

Even the interior offers hints of Frank’s influence on Jack Daniel’s. Where the bottle rests are grooves that mirror the grooves of Sinatra barrels, the aging barrels Brown-Forman makes for this whiskey. The barrel staves are carved and grooved staves so the whiskey has deeper contact on more surface area, which gives the whiskey its own flavor profile.

Sinatra’s 100th birthday is in 2015, and now fans the world over can pay tribute to an American by raising a glass of Sinatra Select. Says Cue’s Colvin: “This is celebrating his life in a way that fits with people’s greatest memories of him and what he contributed to music and culture.” 

For more information, visit

Burt Rigid Box,



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Luminous Beauties

When a package competes for a shopper’s attention, it usually gets the same treatment or environment as its competitors. “When you look down the aisle at your local retailer—be it high-fashion or mass-market—you see lights that hit all the product packaging on shelf at the same angles,” Evelio Mattos, creative director of Design Packaging, observes.

Package designers and brand owners, he adds, can give their packages an advantage—even in this controlled environment. “Specialty finishes create areas of interest on shelf because they interact with light differently,” he explains.

Coatings, he notes, can reflect, refract, cast shadows, sparkle and even absorb light. “These areas of interest on shelf naturally serve to draw potential consumers’ eyes to those areas — bringing more attention to a product,” he says. “And spot coatings interact with both senses — you can’t have it any other way.”

Which senses are these? Touch and sight. Smooth UV coatings bring variety to the texture and gloss of a matte finished paperboard; aqueous coatings lend a bit of luscious to the feeland look of a simple paperboard carton; and novelty coatings make packages visually extraordinary on shelf and take advantage of the naturally raised areas to encourage more interaction when held in a consumer’s hand.

Designers can maximize these effects by pairing spot coatings with other design technologies. “Finishes can be used in tandem with other processes such as embossing or debossing to add depth,” Mattos says. “Contrasting finishes with substrates can create elegant tone-on-tone designs.”

A good example of this is the Chateau Ste Michelle box created by design packaging. The luxury presentation box is made from black paperboard and overprinted with a spot gloss UV coating. “Without the UV coating, the box will look like a monolith,” Mattos admits. “The gloss artwork creates a layered look that breaks up the large expanses of black.”

The packaging is also a good example of why spot coatings are good for more than just shelf impact. Mattos notes that shelf impact is not the No. 1 goal for many luxury clients. “Shelf impact is less important in this category because consumers don’t typically buy luxury off the shelf,” he explains. “In this market, specialty finishes and inks add to the overall experience of the end user. Designers can use them to reinforce the brand’s position within the luxury of prestige market.”

But sometimes the reason to use a specialty coating comes directly from the designer’s muse. When Mattos was working on the Juicy Couture Men’s box, he was inspired by a first-edition Sherlock Holmes book in his personal collection. “I scanned the leather pattern from the book, brought up the contrast and created a pattern from the high points in the scan,” he recalls. “That became the spot UV artwork, and it’s one of my favorite examples of how spot coatings can make a stunning package.”

For all the benefits of working with specialty coatings, Mattos remarks, it still has two big challenges—cost and color consistency. “Because these finishes typically are done off-line, which means they are not done by the same machine as the printing, there are added labor production costs,” he explains. “Their chemical makeup can present yellow or blue overtones that can also impact the colors underneath.”

Maureen McHale, president of McHale Design Inc., adds, “Spot coatings sometimes aren’t necessarily that effective. If you’ve got too much sophistication in the packaging coming from the spot varnish, shoppers might be put off by the packaging because they think it’s too expensive. So it really has to be used with the right kind of product.”

Hyun Park, art director for McHale Design Inc., notes that there’s often a third challenge to working with specialty coatings—technical, because everything from the stock to the coating affects the final outcome. “You’re paying more money for that spot varnish so you want to make sure it’s really shiny and pops,” she explains. “So I recommend using something different from regular paperboard. The paper should have more of a matte finish because if they use regular paper the effect won’t pop.”

Instead, the firm often chooses to use specialty inks for projects instead. For example, it uses a neon green ink for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “The essence of being able to identify Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products in stores starts with that green,” McHale explains.

Park notes that the ink is more expensive compared to the CMYK green but there’s no comparison with the effect. “When you compare the shelf impact with a regular green color—even a PMS screen—the florescent green we use is just so much greater,” Park explains.

McHale and Mattos warn that no matter how great the print effect, specialty inks and coatings should be used thoughtfully. “As fun as they can be, spot coatings and specialty inks still have to serve a purpose and communicate the product and brand message and promise,” Mattos remarks. 

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McLean Design Positions New Elli Quark as a Smarter Dairy Choice

Not Your Grandma’s Dairy
Elli Quark Unveiled as a Smarter Dairy Choice

A clear understanding of evolving consumer behavior helped McLean Design and new client PS Let’s Eat introduce an unfamiliar but über healthy European dairy product called German-style quark to a highly skeptical American market.

“Our design team created a brand called Elli as the latest cool arrival to the U.S. dairy aisle,” says Ian McLean, founder and creative director of McLean Design, Inc. “Elli quark has a contemporary, Euro-chic feel, designed to appeal to consumers as a smarter, healthier dairy snack.”

Quark is a creamy, cheese-like fare with yogurt-like features, a classic staple in Europe but almost entirely alien to U.S. shoppers. The challenge was to present it as captivatingly different but not strange, European but not elite gourmet.

“Elli captures a youthful, forward-thinking aesthetic,” says McLean. “That helps it differentiate from typical dairy products, which are good for you but not actively healthy like quark.”

The carefully crafted design claims its European heritage with a modern sensibility that expresses an enlightened awareness of healthy choices. The approachable packaging conveys that Elli quark delivers more flavor than cottage cheese and more nutrition than Greek yogurt, the new category darling.

“By boldly calling out Elli’s beneficial qualities on the front panel, we reinforce the honest, straightforward vision of the brand,” explains Jane Wight, senior designer at McLean Design. “We also provide distinct nutritional information for today’s data-driven consumers who actively seek smarter solutions.”

The McLean team created the overarching brand vision, including brand positioning, brand naming, packaging design, sales materials, web site design and content development, and consulted on other elements of the marketing plan to help establish and extend the new brand identity and voice.

“McLean Design did an amazing job,” says Preya Patel Bhakta, founder of PS Let’s Eat. “Their strategic approach helps a new product like ours differentiate on shelf while communicating a true representation of what’s inside the package. The creative team attends to the details, but always keeps the big picture in mind.”

Garnering impressive buzz at healthy food expos, in trendy magazines, and all along the manufacturing and distribution chain, Elli quark has gained entry to Whole Foods and a host of other mainstream and specialty grocery stores.

Elli quark was recently selected as a top new natural food product from among thousands of prospects at the 2013 Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.

Editor’s Note: This post was shared by a member of the Package Design community. Do you have news to share with our readers or a package design project that you are especially proud of? Click here to learn how you can become a contributing member of the Package Design online community.

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Project: Salton INTENSE

Development of specific range for the external market of Salton winery.

Vinícola Salton is one of the three largest Brazilian wineries, with a turnover exceeding USD 400 million annually. However,  its strength  lies in the domestic market, where it leads in the sparkling segment and it has very good participation with increasingly stronger brands in premium wines.  Its  following challenge was to develop a strong brand that can be positioned in external markets, focusing on U.S. and Europe. We developed a brand strategy and product image that would help show the values ​​of Brazil (mainly joy, color, passion) but without losing the elegance and value that a product of this segment needs to transmit.

The Carnival is the main cultural event that takes place annually and is one of the country’s cultural icons. We took the essence of carnival, represented by plumed helmet that  the principal dancer of each samba school wears and that was the icon chosen as image tags. The result has been very balanced,  conveying  both the Brazilian joy and the elegance and value of a product in this segment. The product has had rave reviews from press and importers both from USA and Europe. Now  growing exports are expected.

We developed a small calligraphic lettering system for sub brands and descriptors. We also developed the art of  the helmet  with colors and techniques such as stamping, silk-screen printing, etc. Selected papers are ultra resistant to moisture, a conditioning feature of the climate in that country.


Creative Director: MARIANO GIOIA











Calligraphy:  NAHUEL Arrúe

Contributors:  JEREMIAH MARIN

Project : SALTON INTENSO ME (Foreign Market)


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Makeover Challenge Concept Reveal: One Zero Charlie

One Zero Charlie | Woodstock, IL

One Zero Charlie did more than retain the use of color in NOW’s package design. It actually increased the use of orange to include the cap. “Their investment in that color orange is so deep, that the packaging needs to absolutely, positively be orange no matter what,” One Zero Charlie’s creative director Michael Stanard remarks. 

Instead, the agency decided to move away from NOW’s second branding color of purple. A light blue and green was introduced in the brand mark and as a complementary and contrasting visual element in the layout.

The logo was freed from its purple box with rounded corners and placed on a simple white background, and the logo mark was paired with supporting typography that directly associates the NOW acronym with a product benefit—nutrition for optimal wellness.

The type layout is updated from centered copy to a more, modern indented left-justified layout with a ragged right end. This along with the slight changes in the order of text—the common name “milk thistle extract” is moved up and now sits directly below the technical name for silymarin—enables consumers to read the packaging more quickly on shelf. The new layout also provides a more clinical look to the packaging.

“There’s a certain kind of architectural harmonic that makes the package more professional, more ethical looking,” Stanard says. “I wanted to maintain the integrity of the brand.”

Strong attention was paid to the packaging type, which has been updated to a more modern Helvetica Neue Condensed, and the information architecture on each panel. The front panel comprises the logo, product name, description, potency, vegan/vegetarian descriptor, product count and GMP quality assured logo.

The panel just left of front has a simple gray drawing that depicts the capsule size and shape and copy that includes suggested uses, the caution statement, the disclaimer for product variation and suggestions for product storage and spent package disposal. The panel just right of front has the product barcode located at the top for quick scanning by retail store clerks, an expanded product description with consumer benefits, a disclaimer that indicates that the supplement hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA, and a list of other ingredients. Moving further right is the product’s back panel, which includes the nutritional statement, manufacturing facility code and NOW’s company address.

The carton design follows the same information architecture, with the front panel information and graphics repeated on the top panel.

Both the carton and the bottle sport the refreshed logo, in a sky blue, grass green and the trademark orange. The sun image takes advantage of modern printing techniques and moves the picture from a line-drawing style to a softer graphic with a gradient to express the concept of radiance.

The same sky blue and grass green is used in one of the few concessions to decoration found on the package. A double rule frames the product name and function copy. The rule is green-blue above the product name, and blue-green below the product function copy.

The overall inspiration coming from pharmaceutical package design One Zero Charlie has done in the past. “I felt NOW’s package needed to look more credible and have the same kind of authority and credibility of pharmaceutical packaging,” Stanard remarks. “This design is timeless versus something gimmicky with leaves or other cliché natural imagery.”

You can cast your vote now for One Zero Charlie at, or in person September 23 to 25 at the Package Design booth (#6217) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the November 2013 issue of Package Design.

Return to the 10th annual Makeover Challenge—sponsored by Hazen Paper Company reveal.

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