For this project, I was asked to repackage a drink or food product using an existing package container from a different product line. I chose to repackage granola bars in a container similar container to that of Toblerone chocolate.
1. Audience & Story
Granola bars are a common snack food for both young children and young to middle aged adults. Granola bars are also associated with outdoorsy people who are environmentally conscious. The term “granola” is often used to refer to people in this demographic, which I chose to focus on as my target audience.
These consumers are typically upper middle-class, so they have some disposable income to spend on products that are fair trade, organic, etc. They tend to love the outdoors, and like to bring individually-wrapped snacks on hikes. Unfortunately, wrappers have to be thrown away, so they aren’t ideal for the environment. I tried to address this problem by creating a recyclable wrapper for granola bars.
2. Mood Board
I knew that I wanted to use a natural-looking, brown cardboard or chipboard. Because the paper is unbleached, it’s associated with sustainable brands. I also wanted to incorporate a pattern, and was initially planning on doing something similar to the pattern on the Pistachio packaging.
3. Visual Audits
Other granola bar brands tended to feature photos of the granola bar, brown and green color schemes, and some playful typography. It was helpful for me to see the information included on each package and the hierarchy in which it was arranged.
I began by sketching various types of packaging, gathering inspiration from everything from push-pops to gum. The idea that intrigued me the most was tear-off triangle bars.
I then tried hand-lettering the label, but recieved feedback that it felt incongruous with the rest of the package. I was also told that the brand should be the first read, not the word “granola.” I turned my attention to branding at that point, and created the “Mountaintop” logo.
I focused on mountains for my brand concept for two reasons: first, my target audience was hikers; second, the triangle shapes looked like a mountain range when the package was unrolled.
Looking back, I wish that I’d finalized the brand sooner, because it really clarified the visual direction for the rest of the package.
5. Prototypes, Die Cuts & Folds
I incorporated a pattern on the outside of the package using icons of the main ingredients. I initially designed a pattern with many more elements, including selling points like, “12 grams of whole grain,” at least 5 different icons, and dotted lines. After I designed the logo, however, I knew I had to simplify it to make it cohesive.
This die cut would be visible once the granola bars were unrolled, but wouldn’t be seen at point of purchase. I took this opportunity to repeat the brand and product name (most wrappers do that). I also included “tear here” indicators, since consumers might not see the perforation right away.
I chose to design the label with a bottom to leave space for the barcode and other icons. Other than that, the label was divided into three sections: brand logo/product name, nutrition facts, and brand story.
I struggled to decide how to fold the ends of each bar. I referenced Toblerone chocolate and Miami nail polish packaging, and ended up modeling my package after the Toblerone box.
I created four prototypes of my package. The first version was too small. For the second version, I realized that the typography and color scheme didn’t match my pattern or cater to my audience, (it looked more like a dog food brand). The third version put too much emphasis on the word “granola.” I also decided the pattern was too complex.
6. Final Product
I printed my final product on chipboard (for the package) and textured white paper (for the label). I gained an appreciation for the time and level of meticulousness that goes into construction; it was helpful to have worked out the exact measurements in my prototypes.
All in all, it fulfilled the visual goals I had for the product; the monochromatic color scheme, consistent line weight, white space and use of natural-looking brown chipboard makes it look like something you’d see at Whole Foods. I believe it would appeal to my intended demographic.
However, there is a lot of room for improvement from an environmental standpoint. While it did fulfill my goal of replacing throwaway wrappers with recyclable ones, the package uses a lot of paper. Something I’d never considered before is the scrap paper that’s cut away from the die cut. This, too, contributes to the materials used to produce the product. This package was not designed to maximize the space used on one sheet of paper, so there were a lot of wasted scraps. That’s something I’ll keep in mind in the future.
Furthermore, if this were a real package, the cardboard would probably need to be lined with something to keep the granola bars fresh. I would need to do further research to determine which lining options would allow the package to still be recyclable. I’d also need to research environmentally-safe inks, and I’d want all of the paper to be 100% post-consumer recycled.