Assessment Piece 8 - Text and Image: Packaging

Packaging

The brief for this exercise was to design packaging for organic biscuits for children. The term organic makes us think of fresh, high quality healthy food, not necessarily snacks like biscuits however, ‘one of the most highly demanded organic categories right now is snacks. Lots of on-the-go snacking options are highly processed – the ingredients required to preserve, colour and flavour them are often a far cry from natural, let alone organic. However, busy lifestyles with a health conscious mindset have set the desire for quick and healthy food options at an all time high.’ Interact. (2017) . This naturally extends to parents wanting the same for their children.

Before looking at some of the packaging design in this area, I wanted to look into what makes effective packaging design which is described by Stanford. A in an article for the website ‘design bridge’. She describes the four principles of effective packaging design as being:

Impact - It can be seen on shelf

Relevance - It engages shoppers

Advantage - It communicates key messages and/or a point-of-difference

Conviction - It sells

I used these principles to analyse some similar products on the market. On this box for Organix Goodies, the product branding takes centre stage as it immediately catches the eye before allowing it to search the rest of the box. The white text contrasts well on the green background. This typography is rounded, playful and fun with each letter sitting at a slightly different level to the others and the last two letters being randomly joined. I would say it has been hand created and it gives an overall impression that these biscuits are fun. The other text looks like it could have been computer generated. The farm animal biscuits wording has shadow effect created in green. This could be to give the suggestion of green, healthy and organic. The packaging features an engaging farm girl character with a bucket of feed for the animals which are photographs of the biscuits themselves. The character is smiling and looking at the viewer to engage. She has red rosy cheeks which are a sign of healthy country living. There is also a rolling pin, biscuit dough and farm animal shaped cutter, all of which give the impression of home baking and therefore a lack of chemicals and preservatives. The background is a bright blue which could have been chosen to give the impression of a clear blue sky. The colours of the detail in the image all contrast well against the blue ensuring all elements stand out clearly. I think this packaging appeals to both adult and child. The character and animals are there to entice the child, but the idea of the healthy home baking and farm living are all there to convince the adult they are a healthy, organic choice to make. Further to this there are further endorsements to their credibility in this arena. Not only is this selling organic biscuits, it is selling the idea of wholesome clean living. In terms of the design criteria previously mentioned, I think it meets all of them.

Just like the previous packaging, engaging characters are used to entice children. Initially it is the bear that catches the eye, followed by the whale and kangaroo. In the background are a glorious blue sky and sea. The whole image has a healthy outdoors feel to it. There aren’t any images of the actual biscuits on this box which could could impact on ‘pester power’. Giving children a glimpse of the delicious biscuit may be more powerful in making sales. They are called wildlife biscuits but it isn’t clear whether they are in the shape of animals. Again the packet is littered with endorsements for the organic, looking after the planet type vibe which will appeal to the adult buyer. The typography on the name label is hand created. The word organic is in green and is all lowercase. Perhaps the lowercase is to emphasise that nothing is added in organic food. The word wildlife is very obviously hand lettered, create in 3d lettering and shaded in pen. I think this packaging covers most of the principles, but I wonder whether having a picture of the biscuit itself would make it more enticing.

This is my favourite packet I have looked at. I find it aesthetically pleasing because everything has been incorporated into the design, the typography is all the same apart from brand name and the colours have been limited. My eye was initially grabbed by text in the balloon. The white writing on the orange balloon which itself is on a white background creates brilliant contrast and draws the eye in immediately. The orange sphere not only acts as a balloon but also as a sun shining in the sky which is also enticing. There is a really cute and engaging explorer toucan character which will catch children’s attention. Unlike the other packaging I’ve looked at, all of the endorsements are integrated into the design in the form of flags hanging off the balloon. The same white no frills hand lettered typeface has been used on all of them. Aside from the orange colour of the sun/ balloon against the white clouds in the background, the majority of the colour is green which links to the apple flavour but also to healthy and organic. The images of the biscuits sit neatly in the balloon basket and using a balloon in the imagery like this gives a sense of the lightness of the biscuit, and in turn, healthy. I think this ticks all the boxes and is the one I would choose!

Before starting work on the illustration for this exercise I decided to set myself a brief to help me focus on what I wanted to achieve and ensure I fulfil the needs of the client.

The brief

Produce a series of illustrations for packaging to be used for a new range of organic biscuits for children. The flavours will be raisin, chocolate chip and ginger.

Each illustration will feature a different extinct animal character interacting in a fun way with the biscuit in order to appeal to children.

The colour palette will reflect the flavours of the biscuits.

An impression of organic, health and wholesomeness will be given to appeal to adults.

Any endorsements of the brand will be integrated into the design.

Typography will be hand lettered to give it that more ‘personal’ touch.


I started with a bit of research into extinct animals using the book ‘Animals of a Bygone Era’ by Maya Säfström.

In the end I decided that dinosaurs would be the most engaging for the majority of children. and my brief required the extinct animal character to appeal to them. I thought that baby or child dinosaurs could be even more engaging for children, particularly the younger age group who I think these biscuits are probably aimed at. In order to create these characters, I started by drawing dinosaurs from observation then distorted from there.

I imagined the Diplodocus with a head and neck larger and longer than its body because young children and babies often have large heads that look slightly out of proportion. Similarly with the Pterodactyl, I widened its head and made it proportionally larger. With the T - rex, I just made him shorter and squatter and gave him a generally cuter look. I didn’t want any of the dinosaurs to look scary. Once I was happy with the dinosaur characters I started to think about how I wanted them to interact with the biscuits and created the mind map below.

To make my choice of idea, I referred back to my initial analysis of the packaging design. I had found that the designs used character and colour to engage children while appealing to adults by promoting the organic and healthy element of the products. Therefore I wanted to have the dinosaurs doing something that would communicate this and needed to choose ideas that linked to health and being organic to explore further. I also felt it was important to create visual continuity across the three flavours meaning that the ideas I chose would need a common theme across all designs.

From my original mind map I used this criteria to choose two ideas to develop using thumbnails. One of these depicted each of the dinosaurs playing a role in baking the biscuits. I felt this would give an impression of being home baked and therefore free from preservatives, however it didn’t say anything about being organic. The other depicted the dinosaurs growing the biscuits. I felt this design fitted the brief more successfully because it engages the children while also communicating the fact that they are organic.

I then used thumbnails to further develop the composition including text position. When researching packaging, I had found I preferred the design when the text was part of the image rather than separate. The idea for placing the text on signs came from wooden signs in farmer’s fields advertising produce for sale or on allotments marking what has been planted. I originally planned to call the biscuits organic dino biscuit bites but didn’t think it catchy enough for children so took out the word organic and positioned it separately.

When designing the text I remembered the previous exercise and started by trying to make the typography emphasis the dinosaur element by using sharp edges and pointy corners. I felt it was a bit contrived though and decided the font should fit the brief, not necessarily the theme or the subject. So I create a playful lowercase font that looks quite childlike. I thought this would add to the appeal for children. I made tracings of the text so I could place it over the visuals I had drawn to check it worked as part of the whole design. I decided to have the writing on the smaller signs in a plain handwritten font for simplicity in the image.

My next step was to consider colour. The brief required the colours to relate to the flavour of the biscuit so I made that the starting point for each design. I then created a colour palette for each by trying out different colours combined with the main colour. For each design I kept the palette quite limited in order to privilege the colour representing the flavour.

Then I made quick colour visuals to work out which part of the design would be finished in which colour. I didn’t consider tones or shades at this stage. Instead I later explored colour and texture techniques together before starting the final illustrations.

To complete the final artwork I used watercolour, pastel, coloured pencils and wax pastels. I chose to have the character the most colourful element of the design in order to catch the eye and engage children. I made the signs white to provide good contrast to the typography. The backgrounds, both sky and solid were kept light so as not to detract from the main content.

I think there is is visual continuity between the three designs and it is clear they are packaging for the same brand. To evaluate the success of my designs I refer back to the four principles of effective packaging design referenced previously in this post.

Impact and relevance - I think the T rex and Diplodocus characters are engaging for children. Their colours make them eye catching meaning they can be seen on the shelf. I’m not so sure about the Pterodactyl though, perhaps the colour isn’t bright enough to draw the eye straight in. If I was to do this again, I would make it a darker or brighter pink colour. I found this the most challenging design because the main colour needed to be brown to represent choc chip and brown isn’t a particularly vibrant colour. The typography stands out well on the white background of the signs.

Advantage - The key messages to be communicated through this design were that these are biscuits for children that are healthy and organic. I think my design depicting the dinosaurs actually ‘growing’ the biscuits sends this message. In addition to that, there is a further endorsement on the smaller sign.

Conviction - I don’t know if these biscuits would sell. I think so!