by Richard Bird
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.