I’ve long been an advocate of specific best practices for food packaging graphic design, with some exceptions. I still hold those best practices near and dear, however it’s time to break the rules more, and to push boundaries. It’s time to break your brand out of its shell, differentiate your food brand, and make your brand bold—to truly make a mark. Redesign your food brand to make a statement, and own it in every way. Captivate your audience, excite them, and liven up their lives. Give them something to talk about, something to think about. Shake up their world a little bit. Create an unusual experience—something out of the ordinary.
It’s time for your food brand to be brave, authentic, true, honest, real, fresh, and exciting!
Why be bold? Why now?
Consumers are ready for newness, and a break from the norm. Even something as trivial as discovering something different at the grocery store—and the pleasure that product brings each time it is enjoyed—can be a perk in the day. Especially having endured two years of pandemic life, people are craving change, positivity, and forward momentum.
The danger of “good enough.”
Maybe you’re thinking your food brand design is good enough as it is now. Why change something that isn’t broken? If you’re like many food brands, your branding and packaging has room for improvement. To redesign your food brand with a bolder impact, you could have a wider audience, get your food product into more stores, break out further ahead of the competition, and have higher sales figures. Design is an investment that, when done right, pays for itself many times over.
Assess where you’re at before a food brand redesign.
If you’re one of the few food brands that already has a successful, outstanding brand, then kudos to you! But many food brands most likely fit into one of the following categories:
You’ve settled for something that works OK. Sales are OK. And to you, that might be OK. Perhaps you consider food brand design and packaging design as an expense or commodity, not an investment in the success of your brand. When is it time for a food packaging redesign? What are you missing out on in terms of lost sales and opportunities? You won’t know unless you go for it and redesign your food brand. Are you settling for complacency?
Long history of the same design.
You have a design that has been in retail a long time, and worry there might be backlash from your audience if you change the design to further your product differentiation. Good news! A food brand redesign doesn’t have to be a complete redo. It can be a refresh or evolution, as opposed to a complete redesign, if there is important equity and brand recognition to retain. Dramatic results can come from subtle improvements to food and beverage branding and packaging. (Look for an upcoming article on this soon!)
Your food branding and packaging was designed to fit in with the look of its category, or to follow the latest food industry trends, or food and beverage trends—because that’s what the competition looks like. When design is “expected,” it can easily go unnoticed and blend in. It takes guts to make your food brand design stand out but it can be done in a way that minimizes risk—and again, when done right, the payoff is worth it.
To be clear, you still need to adhere to all food labeling compliance. I’m not talking about breaking any rules there. [Related: FDA Food Packaging Claims Made Easy]
Delight and surprise!
The notions of delight and surprise in food packaging and branding design are more important than ever. Food brands must level up and bring their A-game because the competition is fierce and consumer expectations are high. If you are ready for a food brand redesign, let’s look at some strategies:
Food product naming.
It’s still essential that the consumer instantly understand what the food product is. If you’re asking yourself: How do you differentiate your brand when doing a food brand redesign? When it comes to unique branding or product names, there are a few things to consider. Unusual brand or product names, even names that make you think, “Why would they name it that?!” can work well if you own it in every way.
If going this route, embrace it and make it part of your brand personality, versus just slapping on a gimmicky name for the sake of being different. Even if the name seems odd, it can be memorable—as long as there is a reason for it. Everything about your brand should have a purpose.
When a brand truly embraces their quirkiness as part of the brand’s character, and reinforces that character through all brand messaging, it can be a strong point of brand differentiation. There is more room for this kind of authenticity in the marketplace now more than ever within the food industry.
Hierarchy of information on a food package.
It can be interesting and effective to change up the hierarchy of information on the front of a food package when doing a food brand redesign—again, to delight and surprise—as long as you’re not sacrificing understanding and usability. I typically still recommend the product name be the most prominent text element on the front of a package, for visibility and ease of understanding. However there is opportunity to get creative here with food packaging design and play around with a different approach—with a reason for it—to create an arresting visual that can stand out amongst the crowd of other food products.
Food packaging copywriting.
The words describing your food product must come alive. Don’t settle for passable here when doing a food brand redesign. Instead, bring personality and color to the way the food product is described through copywriting. This is a great way to further connect with your audience and show them your brand personality. If you can reach them by being a little different at the point of sale in an intriguing way, that might be motivation enough to buy the product to see if it is also intriguing and different. But again, don’t be different just for the sake of being different. It must tie in with your food brand promise and ethos, and be authentic. What is the food brand mission and vision? When you stick to that vision and speak it clearly, the messaging becomes a further intuitive expression of the brand.
Callouts on food packaging.
Highlight unique and unusual traits—and especially, points of product differentiation—when doing a food brand redesign. Ingredient origins, aspects about the ingredients or nutrition—anything that elevates the product’s premium perception and stands out from competition. Showcase your product’s uniqueness! Still, it’s important to not have callout overkill, so be selective about the information that is highlighted. Make it crystal clear why your food product and food brand are the best choice.
You could also consider minimalist communication on the front of the package. Is that intriguing enough to pique a consumer’s interest when perhaps the competition may have lots of information? Perhaps your product can be an example of food packaging innovation regarding messaging, and a breath of fresh air here. Don’t sacrifice the consumer’s understanding of the product though.
Make your food brand redesign stand out.
With so many retail food packages looking expected or mediocre, it’s time to bring back raw creativity, true personality in design, and authentic visual connection with an audience. It’s time for food branding and packaging design that is unapologetically different from anything in its category—or even different from anything seen in food packaging. Take a stand, and make it FUN! Design your food and beverage packaging so that it’s irresistible to pick up. Bring this same fun and differentiation into marketing your food brand, so here again, your marketing stands out from other food brand marketing.
A different way of thinking about food brand redesign.
From the start of my career, I have always approached any design project—even seemingly trivial projects—with the mindset of, how can I make this the very best it can be? How can I make it something that I would react to, remember, and want to buy? How can I challenge myself to design in a way that I haven’t before? How can I make it something fun to design, that will stand out fiercely? This mindset creates a fertile, curious space from which unique ideas spring forth.
The world is continuously evolving, as are we as humans. Is your brand keeping up as the food industry evolves too? With the flood of visuals and food marketing we see on a daily basis, if you’re putting something out there, it’s got to be striking and fearless. Whether you’re launching a new food brand or product, or maintaining an existing one, it all starts with a clear vision, an open mind, the right strategies, and exceptional creativity.
Are you looking for a brand partner to revolutionize and redesign your food brand? Get started here.