Gifford's Ice Cream - The Rest of The Story

Giffords Ice Cream Redesign

A few weeks earlier, Inc. Magazine rang me up asking for R.BIRD’s opinion on a rather dramatic packaging redesign hitting the shelves from New England ice cream maker, “Gifford’s.”

There were two telephone interviews, followed by a couple more fact-checks and clarifications.

When the story was finally published, the 30-minutes in phone calls and notes had been boiled down to a few sentences. The fewer-than-100 words didn’t fully capture my thinking. There is a lot more to be said, both in support of and not-so-much in favor of the redesign.

Here are my own notes, taken during the interviews and follow-up sessions:


Original Package (above)
* Has changed little in the small company’s 30 year history
* Perfectly fine for a heritage brand in a local market, but…
* In any other, much larger context: so much like every other “micro-gourmet” brand
* There’s a million of ‘em!

* In order to grow into a larger market
* To attract an audience unfamiliar with the “Gifford” family name and brand
* A big, bold statement has to be made to get that attention
* The Briggs agency did the right thing.

The New Package
* The new Gifford’s logo is clever, simple and easily understood
* The very large, bold, cropped typography is what grabs attention at the shelf - attracting unfamiliar consumers
* It’s not necessary that it’s readable. Its role is just that - to get your attention - and it does
* Photo-illustrations of blueberries, mint leaves and lobsters (!) communicate flavor… and
* Create a center line on which the Gifford’s brand and graphics balance left and right
* The organic paper texture in the background quietly communicates, “natural, homemade, goodness.” It lays a foundation for trust in the brand.

* How will the stock clerk in the big stores orient the package on shelf? Carefully enough to properly center the flavor illustration?
* A professional eye understands the basis for the design, but will it “disorient” some consumers?
* Gifford’s is a local, family-owned brand with a long history. This seems to have been lost in the redesign. There is no clear “heritage” element to tell that story - at least not on the front panel
* For example, the tag line under the Gifford’s logo might, instead, say “famous since 1980.” That’s a start.

There are 2 comments so far | Post a comment

Anonymous said:

Applaud the work and the ambition. Execution is a bit mixed. Personally, I think that logo is a really great idea that demanded some better craft.

At the end of the day, all this package has to do it get someone new to try this brand, once. If the ice cream is great - and it sounds like it is - and people love it, then the package will have done its job and no longer figure as importantly with the consumer. The product will win the day.

All the best with the relaunch to the agency and the Giffords.

And when I see it, I’ll pick it up.

Richard Bird said:

I agree that the new Gifford’s logo, itself, could have been better crafted. There is always room for improvement - and it could still happen.

Frankly, I sometimes doubt whether 7-second media consumers are influenced in any way by (or recognize) quality of execution, a.k.a. “craft.”

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