The Brief 2/21/17: Design News You Might Have Missed

Hey, The Dieline, happy Tuesday. We realize how crazy this sounds, but March is almost here (right?). We’ve got lots of events planned for this year, and our next one is March 2nd in Phoenix. Will you be joining us at Dscoop? Learn more and register (and yup, it’s free).

Here’s the latest:

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

35 Chocolate Packaging Designs

Chocolate. We all have our preferences and our cravings for this sweet treat. Here we celebrate 35 beautiful chocolate packaging designs that we love.

1. Harper Macaw Chocolate



2. Compartes Chocolate


3. Mita Chocolate


4. Mast Brothers Chocolate


5. Saint Choco




7. 12 Days of Chocolate: A Designer Collection


8. Beau Cocoa



9. Bottega Louie Assorted Chocolate Bar Library




10. UNELEFANTE x Chef Jorge Llanderal Artisan Chocolate Bars


11. TCHO



12. Astrobrights Chocolate Packaging


13. Mon Choco


14. Ach Vegan Chocolate


15. Roasting Masters


16. Taste Silesia and Taste Katowice Edible Travel Guides


17. Student: A Life’s Work, Adrian Frutiger


18. Edible Chocolate Paint Tubes by Nendo


19. Crude Raw Chocolate


20. Le chocolat des Français


21. Chocolates de Mendaro


22. Earning your Merit Chocolate Badges


23. Cacao Cultura


24. Harper Macaw’s Political Collection


25. Compartes World Series




26. Macondo Chocolate Co


27. Lyra Bean-to-Bar Chocolate


28. Student: Tanoshii Chocolate


29. Loving Earth Redesign


30. Wicked & Wonderful Chocolate




31. Maraná Craft Chocolate


32. Oh Fudge!


33. Marou for La Grande Épicerie de Paris


34. Ritual Chocolate


35. Moonstruck Single Origin Bars

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

A Brief History of Packaging Regulations and How they Affect Designers Today

We all have seen consumer products with net weight, identity and distribution statements, but who regulates the size, position, verbiage, readability and other standards of the type?

Who regulates packaging?

There are a number of agencies tasked with regulating packaging. Each has the ability to demand a product recall or send a warning letter to update or even remove packaging. Crossover exists among agencies on certain products, such as seafood and eggs, although some agencies have regulations that cover all products. Adding to the confusion, agency names (listed below) imply specialization, but names do not reflect their sole responsibility—nor does this list cover the entire universe of regulatory agencies.

Why the packaging industry lacks better regulation

Very few design schools teach labeling design regulations, even though designers need this experience to avoid product recall. The government agencies do not have certification or training programs, and when contacting them they often will not provide any assistance or they’ll give you another number to leave a message that they rarely reply to. The NIST, TTB and AAFCO are more helpful, but unless you have a direct number to one of the senior staff at the FDA or USDA, they likely will not assist you.

Many fear calling regulatory agencies in fear of drawing attention to their products, and therefore questions go unanswered and companies simply make their best effort. Some smaller manufacturers try to fly under the radar and even though national brands may have a trained quality control staff, there are areas of the regulations that lack clear definition and get left to interpretation. When someone receives a warning letter or recall, they prefer to keep that confidential, rather than train their staff in what could be done better. The FDA most often does not publish labeling violations with the exception of KIND Bars. Ownership for responsible labeling often does not happen until after an incident.

The costs, frequency, and impact of recalls

Products are recalled every day. A sticker or repackaging can solve the issue, but when the cost is too high, such as with frozen foods, they might be destroyed. A warning letter gives a certain amount of time to correct minor issues, and more often times than not, those products end up in the clearance section of your store, next to items with an expiration date. There are also voluntary recalls, such as Sudafed when the word “NOT NOT” appeared twice in the directions.

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Will labeling regulation increase in the future?

The amount of regulation and certifications impacting package design will only continue to increase. Consumers will always have a desire to know as much as possible about products, especially edible products. Whether this need-to-know is justified or exploited, it will continually drive and evolve regulation and labeling. The physical labeling real estate a package has keeps regulations from getting out of control, though. Pesticides often come with paged booklets attached to the exterior of the package—and my hope is that we do not get that far for all products.

The recent issue of genetic engineering labeling is an excellent example of what we can expect for regulatory labeling in the future. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization that tests and certifies products for bio-engineering. Their certification detects the presence of certain bio-engineering but cannot, and never will, 100% guarantee a product is entirely free from bio-engineering. Some manufacturers have their products certified Non-GMO with good intentions, and others do this for company appearance. Some activists remain well-informed and able to debate the issue well, but they turn a blind eye to any facts supporting the benefits of bio-engineering.

There have been studies on bio-engineering, mostly with the intention to discredit the usage of this technology. No reports of ill effects from genetically modified food have ever been documented. The only conclusive results of bioengineered food are virus resistance, less greenhouse gas emissions, and less water usage, which will be important considering the increasing water shortages in the Western United States. UC Berkley’s David Zilberman says the solution is straightforward and that regulators who fail to approve more GMOs are wasting one of the biggest tools of modern agriculture.

I sincerely doubt anyone will ever intentionally create something that causes public harm as they and their families have to eat the food also. From ancient mythology to modern television and movies, we all are captivated by stories about our food supply becoming tainted or and turns us into the walking dead or some abnormal creature. The truth is we have been consuming genetically engineered food for over a century.


What would a future without regulations look like?

Without regulation, manufacturers would utilize untested and less costly ingredients. Countries that currently have less regulation can provide a look into a future without regulation. In 2008 the Chinese milk scandal involved adding melamine to increase protein levels in infant formula. As a result of the melamine scandal, 6 infants died of kidney failure and 54,000 were hospitalized.

The requirement of adding nutrition facts in 1989 to food packaging caused a surge in packaging/branding redesigns, as new printing plates had to be made anyway. The nutrition panel regulations have been updated again and the compliance date is July 2018. Without regulation, there would likely be less updates to packaging and brand design, especially among smaller manufacturers looking to maximize usage and minimize costs.

Additionally, there would be more exaggerated and false claims made on packaging. Claims would be in larger type as the current rule for claims to be less than 200% the size of the statement of identity would no longer be enforced. More salt and sugar would be added to foods to drive sales by indulgence, and salt additionally preserves food giving longer shelf life and profits—while claims such as “light,” “high,” and “excellent,” would be unregulated and abused.

How can designers best work with regulations?

With there being more regulations than in the past and tighter deadlines, a designer needs to know as much as they can. Designers who do not know the basics can easily create designs that are either missing required items such as the statement of identity, or their Net Contents statement will be lacking size or clearance. Educating yourself on these small details is an enormous design advantage.

At Kaleidoscope, we encourage everyone to continue to learn and maintain best practices. Many design agencies do not train their staff on regulations, leaving the responsibility to the client. We find that training our staff reduces rounds of revisions in the long run, and opens strategic branding opportunities. To be an expert you will need to invest time on a regular basis over years, but luckily everyone can learn the basics with some effort. Labeling regulations can easily be misinterpreted, so trust what you read and always question what you hear. Whatever your situation, I encourage everyone in the packaging industry to thoroughly read—and reread—the regulations.

Mike Gondek
Design Implementation Artist, KALEIDOSCOPE

As a design implementation artist, Mike ensures the seamless delivery of design intent from adaptation to production of various national and private label brands. With over 25 years of professional graphic industry experience, Mike has had the pleasure of contributing to a variety of clients including McDonalds, Frito Lay, Marlboro, St Ives, Miller Brewing and numerous private label brands for ALDI & Topco.

Infographic sources:

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

The Unique Way Flood Creative Design Agency Brings Ideas to Life

Flood Creative is not a run-of-the-mill design agency. When new brands approach them, the Flood team is prepared to build it from scratch, and they have successfully turned underperforming brands around and given them new life. This year, they’re actually celebrating 15 years using award-winning design as a strategic weapon for helping new brands break through and encouraging established brands to break rules, with proven results.

But it’s also not just all work and no play for Flood Creative. They take pride in having a talented team with such a wide skill set, from painting, photography, and illustration, but they also know how to have fun—whether it’s climbing mountains, racing cars, or relaxing with a glass of wine. The studio also fosters a highly creative and playful environment, allowing them to stay inspired.

Paula Grant, Founder and CEO, Stuart Whitworth, Chief Creative Officer, and Renée Whitworth, Strategic director sat down with us to explain more about Flood Creative’s process and how they balance the interests of the team and their clients.

What inspired you to start Flood Creative? If you could go back and start over, what—if anything—would you do differently? Why?

Paula: I started Flood Creative 15 years ago. I was creating a beverage brand with a good friend, Lance Collins, and needed to focus full-time on building it. That was a scary move as it meant quitting my job at Sterling Brands where I worked with superb talent and inspirational mentors like Debbie Millman. Luckily that risk paid off, as the FUZE and NOS brands sold to Coca-Cola in less than 6 years. It was an incredible journey. My husband James Grant and I had also started working with other brands like Bath & Body Works and Unilever and so when we were ready for the next level, we convinced the remaining partners, Stuart Whitworth and Renee Whitworth to join us. Flood in it’s full-force was then officially formed.

I wouldn’t change our history for anything. The experience of starting and building a brand from scratch influences how we approach our work with empathy and efficiency. Although Flood works equally with both Fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups, the entrepreneurial spirit is consistent in all that we do.

What is Flood Creative’s philosophy? How do you take a business philosophy and translate it to sell on a shelf?

Paula: Well, the good thing about building brands from the ground up means that the results are self-evident. Flood has been part of starting 3 more major players in the beverage category alone since FUZE. So we had a seat at the table well before it was the norm. That comes with a myriad of challenges and huge responsibility. Investment in brand design is not just a proposal and a purchase order for us, it is real money—money that was put up by the very people in the room with you. We have the creative power to generate breakthrough ideas but also the instinct to know what has the potential to pull in consumers.

Walk us through a typical day at Flood Creative. Is every day different or is there a general outline to each workday?

Renee: No two days are alike. The only consistent thing from day-to-day is agility. When an entrepreneur gets the sudden chance to pitch Whole Foods he will call quickly and often until that pitch is done! And when a CMO for a billion dollar brand is not happy with how her money was spent elsewhere and now has 5 days to brief a new team then you just have to jump in. Design is not a business, it is FOR business. If you put that principle first then you don’t get so protective about your pre-packaged processes.

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As Chief Creative Officer, what have been some of the greatest challenges you’ve encountered with clients of Flood Creative? How did you overcome them?

Stuart: Helping people letting go of fear and finding their voice. It is difficult to talk a new client about what they may have missed but it quickly gets more exciting when we share our views about what has not yet been considered.

How do you work with your clients? What kind of unique experience can clients expect with you?

Stuart: We love the uncensored WIP with clients, everybody from CEOs to design managers and everyone in between. We pick which assignments to take on without a new business or PR staff so the wheels start turning early on. The ability to have as much input in the process makes for a much richer final idea. We are not afraid to be less than perfect nor do we feel the need to tie the entire idea up in a big bow with a campaign and comp ready to go. Doing so with no initial gut reaction from a client and no interaction is not how we have built great brands. And actually, clients react differently when not inside their offices. Their minds are more open and when they are not rushing from meeting to meeting, they are more focused.

What have been some of your favorite client experiences? What was it that you liked so much about them?

Stuart: After the work is done, the ripple effect is my favorite part. I often talk about the change that is felt in a room and not just seen in the design. When the team delivers, everyone on that team: marketing, design, legal, anyone involved walks around with their head held a little higher. That is worth the ups and downs.

How do you juggle the interests of brands and your team?

Renee: Our “secret” so to speak is our structure and our transparency. We don’t protect the designers from hearing the day-to-day fear and pain of the clients and their brands. And we have also removed the unnecessary layers of a typical agency that can create division. Whether you want to call that an “us vs. them” or even a “time vs. money” mentality, those only worsen the bureaucracy big CPG organizations feel way too much of already. I have found that most friction is caused when people on either side are not given the chance to absorb the raw conversation.

How do you ensure everyone collaborates in the most effective way possible?

Renee: That’s where I come into play more so than the rest of the team. It takes empathy and a type of radar for “reading” the room. That means if everyone is happy too soon then someone is not speaking up. I have a reputation for poking and provoking to make sure everyone knows what to do next without waiting for a recap. Recaps only place accountability in the hands of the writer. What if that person lacks authority or worse, vision and conviction? You can’t rely on that.

Also, I keep 3 or 4 huge snack jars in my office and that means people visit. Sometimes to brag and other times to bitch. I’ll be honest—we go through A LOT of candy around here.

What is the creative process like at Flood Creative? How do you go beyond merely good design and think bigger picture?

Renee: Oh boy. Well, I always say that if you have to go back to the brief to remember the objectives then it was not a good brief. And also if you have to write down a good idea so that you remember it later, then it was not a good idea. Notes are for GenX (like me) or non-believers! Great ideas are intuitive and internalized, not explained. Not that everyone needs to like it, but at least get it.

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How do you keep your team inspired? How do you personally stay inspired?

Stuart: I’ll answer about me first. That will be quicker. I set up a design studio with my brother when I was 9. Our version of a “lemonade stand” I guess. We designed sneakers, bmx bikes and who knows what else. I think it only lasted a few weeks before we were on to something else but it planted a seed of creativity for me. Like most families, we would take a lot road trips across Europe just to see stuff and somehow I learned to observe and appreciate details, art, and design. It is a terrible cliché but inspiration is everywhere, and you just have to teach your brain how to soak it all up for later use.

For my team, we do things differently from anywhere I was before. All of us are briefed on Phase 1, so in many cases ten designers are competing. It is more entrepreneurial. There are no guarantees that your work will get in but the juniors and seniors all get the shot. This manifests itself in a lot of ways but mostly in pride and effort. The seniors stay sharp and the young guns prove themselves. We don’t generate “filler” concepts. The job we just finished last week came with no brief and it was from a Fortune 50 client. We were told to “Just do what flood does.” Most of the time that is inspiring in itself.

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

This Mulled Wine is a Piece of Hawaii Straight From Germany

Here’s a little piece of Hawaii straight from Germany. German agency Higgins Design created the packaging for “Happy Huladays,” a Hawaiian-inspired gift for their clients. This bottle of mulled wine is a typical gift exchanged in Germany during the holiday season, but what’s atypical about it is the far away land it takes its inspiration from. The cheeky illustrations give this wine a playful vibe, and make you feel like you’re a lucky tourist with a special souvenir to take home.

“Our Christmas mailing project ‘Happy Huladays’ refers to our agency’s name: Higgins Design, inspired by Jonathan Higgins the Brit. He was the sidekick of the Hawaiian based private investigator and womanizer Thomas Magnum. Higgins not only gave his friend his iconic and well- known Ferrari, but the former naval officer and doctor of mathematics also contributed significantly to solving many cases. Like us, he preferred to work in the background. That’s exactly what we want to be: a cautious and reliable partner for our clients, taking care of their treasures and helping them achieve glory and fame.”

“The most typical German beverage for the festive season is a mulled wine, called ‘Glühwein’. It is a very common Christmas gift amongst Germans. Dedicated to our Hawaiian namesake we put both clichés together to create a pretend Hawaiian Glühwein. We placed the handmade bottle in packaging that looks like an overseas parcel covered in characteristic postal stamps for fake authenticity.”




Agency: Higgins Design

Art Director/Designer: Fabian Hartmann

Illustrators: Fabian Hartmann Karsten Kummer

Location: Hamburg, Germany

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

This is Some Packaging Seriously Fit for the Gods

This is some packaging seriously fit for the Gods – well maybe one Goddess in particular. Aphrodite’s is a high-end line of Mediterranean-inspired condiments. To fit this brand profile, Midday designed the elegant and expressionistic packaging that is directly inspired from Greek mythology. The details are exquisite, from the wonderfully detailed handcrafted illustration on the label to the delicate gold-foiled “A” that represents Aphrodite. We definitely think the goddess of love herself would approve.

“Aphrodite’s is a brand creation for a high-end food offering based upon the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean. The brief was to imbue restaurant quality throughout the brand whilst appealing to high-end retailers and restaurateurs.” 

“Aphrodite, the Olympian Goddess of beauty is the main focus of the brand. Sprung from the dark-blue depths of the Eastern Mediterranean sea, she is historically represented as a beautiful woman with flowing golden hair.” 

“We subtly depict Aphrodite with a golden ‘A’ monogram, it’s undulating lines referencing her flowing golden hair and birth from the waves. Banishing the stereotypical clichés of love and beauty we deliver the lesser known stories of Aphrodite. Her extraordinary myths are illustrated to enchant consumers and elevate the brand to godly status. An example of which sees Aphrodite transforming into a fish to flee an attack of the Typheous, a monster described in ancient texts as a winged giant with vipers for legs.” 

“Illustrations are traditionally hand-cut and printed from wood block by renowned craftsman Andrew Davidson.”


Agency: Midday

Creative Partners: Will Gladden & Claudio Vecchio

Illustration: Andrew Davidson

Location: London

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

Don’t Let the Moon Fool You – This Espresso Will Wake You Up

Although you might typically associate consuming your coffee with the morning, this espresso collection packaging for Paradise. Gourmet-club™ will still get the job done. Inspired by the phases of the moon, each lunar illustration provides a unique way to convey the amount of boldness within each blend. The details within the silver foiling and the illustrations also provide a nice touch to this collection.



“Each blend from this collection has distinct unique taste. Arabica has sweet soft taste with tones of sugar and fruit. Robusta has much harsher, stronger taste, and it contains almost twice more caffeine than arabica. The Arabica /Robusta ratio defines flavor characteristics of the blend.”

“The ‘Moon phases’ label system is designed to help the client to find their preferred blend in the product line. The Moon phases symbolize the particular espresso blend’s ‘darkness’ level: the new moon is the ‘darkest’ one and the Bar blend has 80% of robusta and is created for those who like a harsh coffee taste. The Prima blend with its 80% of arabica is the ‘lightest’ one – for those who like soft coffee. The Classic and Aroma are in between those two as the Classic blend is milder than the Bar and the Aroma is a bit rougher than the Prima.”


Art Directors: Sergii Artemov, Gera Artemova
Designer: Sergii Artemov
Client: Paradise. Gourmet-club™
Location: Ukraine

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

Unleash Your Inner Apothecary With Gypsy Tonic

This tonic bottle will bring out your inner Apothecary. Tom Lane designed this beautifully detailed bottle for Gypsy Tonic, a health food drink. The hand-lettered typography is delicate and ornate, transporting you to the mysterious 1800s.

“Brandon Johnson, founder of the Bohemian Revolution Beverage Company, tasked me with bringing to life his new health food drink ‘Gypsy Tonic’. He had a vision, it was to make the package label feel at home with the 1800’s Apothecary scene whilst keeping a modern edge. The design was design by hand in the initial phase, to help draw out a authentic, hand made quality to the design. It was then re-drawn digitally in order to make it easier to manage for print.”




Designed by: Tom Lane (Ginger Monkey)

Location: Liverpool, UK

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

Enter Your Project for The Nielsen Impact Award Today

We thought it was high-time someone formally recognized the power of package design to drive business outcomes.

In conjunction with The Dieline Awards, we’ve created The Nielsen Design Impact Award to do just that. This award identifies the most impactful redesigns over the last two years. And let’s be clear—these aren’t just pretty packs. They’re absolutely crushing it in market, too.

Nielsen will recognize first, second and third place designs. Winners will be invited to accept their awards live on-stage during the opening ceremony of HOW Design Live 2017.

The deadline for entries is March 6th, 2017. Registration is free. Winners will be notified in early to mid-April.

Learn More + Enter

What’s different about the Nielsen Design Impact Award?

We don’t have a panel of experts who selects the most beautiful, innovative or sustainable packaging. Our judges are consumers—and the steely, naked truth of in-market performance. Specifically, the Nielsen Design Impact Award combines choice and diagnostic responses from a large number of category consumers with point-of-sale data. (Nielsen’s retail measurement technology captures sales data from virtually every major retail chain.) You can read more about our specific criteria on the FAQs page.

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design

The Dieline’s Best of the Week

Slept through last week? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the best packaging design projects and articles from last week.

True, False, or Alternative Fact?


A Beer Straight From the Bayou


20 Nature-Inspired Packaging Designs that Celebrate the Great Outdoors


Capturing the Spirit of SXSW in Bud Light’s Rad, Psychedelic Art


Rouge Gorge Definitely isn’t Your Grandma’s Vermouth


Mushroom-Infused Products Never Looked so Elegant


Born From Revolution, Boukman Rhum Has a Social Mission


Behind the Eye-Popping Pop Art of Elo Soaps


Why the Maker Movement is Important to the Future of Branding

from Blog – The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design