For Happy Monkey Hummus, the character and label designs were closely intertwined. Often, clients will come to you wanting something like a package design, but have none of the things necessary (like a logo) to even start. Such was the scenario with Happy Monkey.
Before any label design could happen, we had to figure out who this monkey was. Once we had reached a tone for the character, the label design came fairly easy, with color choice and actual space presenting as probably the biggest issues. Turns out there's a good reason you don't see a lot of green used in food packaging. It can remind people of mold which is generally seen as unappetizing.
It is with dizzying infrequency you hear a success story that starts with the words "This one weekend in Vegas..." But that is just how my friends at Happy Monkey Hummus tell it. And while the outward appearance of the brand is all swinging from the trees fun, David and Erin are very passionate and bust monkey butt every day to make this business a success.
First appearing at the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmer's Market in 2009, HMH was immediately popular. On the first day, local CBS affiliate KUTV2 invited the Monkeys to appear during their lunchtime broadcast. Since then, Happy Monkey Hummus has gone from Saturday local farmers market to regional placement in major grocery retailers in five short years...
So glad this Monkey made it out of Vegas!
Solutions & Insights
The first run of labels were only made for the lid. It wasn't until the product began grabbing the attention of local supermarket buyers that the side label and flavor bars were added. That first run of printed labels were all done with a blank flavor bar so the hummus flavors could be hand-written with sharpie. It's completely ridiculous to imagine now, but the budget was very restrictive that first year. In fact, my services were bought with beer on more than one occasion to cut labels out by hand!
Working with small businesses means budgets are often very restrictive. For the first few months of farmers markets, we cut labels out by hand (good times). Eventually we reached the point where this was no longer working and the labels were sent off to press. It was not easy finding a printer willing to run their press for that initial 5,000 run without charging $3/label. I did eventually find one, but It still ended up being quite costly.
Finally, with the second run the side labels were included and each flavor was given a color bar and a side label. This meant Nutrition Facts and barcodes as well. My previous experience working with Nutritional Supplement labels came in very handy when dealing with the regulated end of the label design and attending the press check.
Today, labels are ordered by the hundreds of thousands and Happy Monkey Hummus is expanding their automated production facility to accommodate orders from retailers like Costco!
I am extremely proud to be a part of their success story.