The Second Nature Labels were created for a line of whole food,* plant-based smoothies that owner Nate was planning to launch through his local Salt Lake City Whole Foods Market. The project began with designing the logo and transitioned into designing labels for three flavors of smoothies.
*Whole food refers to using the entire fruit or vegetable.
Nate, Owner and CEO of Second Nature came to me when he was looking to create an identity for his line of whole-food, plant-based smoothies. While things had started small (a single blender and home deliveries to neighbors), the orders had reached a point where this was no longer a viable business model. He decided to follow his passion and take his home business to the next level. It was at this point we were introduced through another client of mine and we got to work creating his vision.
- Client Perspective — Second Nature is all about providing healthy convenience foods that are socially and environmentally conscious.
- Audience — Adults in their late 20's through early 40's who enjoy an active lifestyle, are health conscious, lean toward vegetarian/vegan whole food nutrition, are most likely upper-middle-class and willing to pay a little extra for convenient and nutritious food.
- Competitors — Competition is heavy and filled with big names. Client lists top 3 as: Odwalla (Coca-Cola), Naked Juice (Pepsi) and Bolthouse (Campbell's)
- Message — "Health Made Simple"
- Tone — Simple and clean is preferable to "hippie chic." Should feel like a high quality product while retaining a personal feel
- Additional Details — The logo and brand should be capable of representing other food products like energy bars, snacks, etc.
Develop a packaging label for Second Nature Smoothies: a whole food, plant based smoothie line. The final product will incorporate a clean design, look high quality and communicate the idea of "Health Made Simple" to savvy health conscious shoppers.
While I'm used to working within a small budget, I rarely have to go up against so many industry giants (and their budgets) in such close proximity. So there was that. Convincing myself that budget doesn't always equate to success (Gap Logo Redesign? New Coke?) was necessary to get me focused on the project in front of me and the challenges it brought:
- Impression — Being noticed in the juice cooler will not be easy with so many bright colors, textures and patterns
- Competition — The shelf is filled with big names that created the beverage industry
I had begun the research phase of this project while the client was still in the process of choosing a name for the product. Starting with the three main competitors he listed in the design brief — Odwalla, Naked Juice, and Bolthouse. I also looked at vegan and whole foods in general and the beverage industry from water to adult beverages just to get a sense of what was out there. The research then moved into the retail environment where I could get a good look at the shelf environment and a feel for the packaging techniques employed by the health food industry.
My online research indicated that consumers were interested in ingredient and benefit callouts but seemed to get confused and lost at the shelf. Given the shelf spaces I was seeing at retail, there was no question as to why. With so many colors, patterns, textures, images, and fonts competing with each other, these shelves were reminiscent of a circus. A chaotic, colorful mess. So bad in fact, that most of these brands have bought up large blocks of shelf space to take up more visual real estate — increasing the odds that your eye will fall on their label instead of someone else's.
The brief provided by the client had him pretty much spot-on when it came to the label designs. Simple design with clear callouts would certainly stand as a "still space" amid all the noise.
To keep the PDP as clutter free as possible, we abandoned the idea of naming each flavor. Instead, we would give consumers what they were looking for with ingredient callouts . Since hemp was the ingredient that differentiated Second Nature from everyone else on the shelf, it was important to draw attention to it by treating it different from the rest of the ingredients. A simple logo was made that would compliment the label and maintain the clean look.
The final design element worth noting is the barcode. I wanted to give the product a small surprise factor, so I suggested incorporating a glamour barcode and the client loved the idea.
Complete designs were then sent out for regulatory review. Ensuring labels meet regulatory compliance is best left to the experts. They came back needing only minor changes and were finalized the same day.
I consider the project closed once everyone had signed off. Everybody gets a PDF that I lock down so no changes can be made. This file serves as a reference for archival and legal purposes. Then files are prepped for press and copies distributed.
One of the requirements laid out in the brief was that the product distinguish itself on the shelf. To accomplish this, I always tried to stay conscious of how the surrounding products were designed. The result needed to look like a smoothie but not like every other smoothie. The clean lines and solid flat design would go a long way to accomplishing this.
The thing I struggled with the most was getting the product to stand out from the noise. Staring at pictures of the juice cooler was causing the chaos to bleed out into my thought process. I needed white space. It needed white space. How do you create a calm in a chaotic sea of color and noise? You create a void — an absence of chaos.
At first I tried black, but it just looked wrong and seemed to fade back into the shadows of the shelf. by making the top third of the label white, I could create a hole in the chaos. And when stacked three wide in the cooler the white would e pronounced. Providing a resting spot for the eyes of weary shoppers right where I want it — on the Second Nature Logo.