Exercise 5.5: Packaging

Updated: Sep 13

In this project, I was asked to design packaging for a range of organic biscuits. The biscuit flavours would be Raisin, Chocolate Chip and Ginger and needed to feature an extinct animal interacting with the biscuit in some way through a full colour illustration as the packaging cover.

This was a fun sounding brief from the start as dinosaurs are already a popular subject with children, so I could focus on enjoying the process of finding the best way to present them in a way that would also be eye catching on a shelf for parents.

I was asked to look at other similar children’s food products on the shelves in supermarkets, but with one way systems in place under lockdown rules, it didn’t feel appropriate for me to make a non-essential trip to browse the food aisles without buying anything. Instead, I shopped virtually and gathered product images as my research online as I looked at the packaging for biscuits and cereals aimed at younger audiences.


The fonts and typefaces for most of these options are very freeform and jump out from the box to try and draw as much attention amongst the other brands on the shelf. Another common trend I observed was to have a single colour background with any branded characters interacting with a photographic representation of the food in some way in the centre.

To set my own designs aside as alternatives, there was one main feature that I wanted to improve upon and that was the lack of background design. I wondered if I could create a 3D looking environment for my characters to sit in. To start the design process, I brainstormed as many popular extinct animals as I could find and the environments and activities that they would typically be involved in.

Brainstorming connections between the biscuits and extinct animals.

As I was researching I started to draw connections that felt like a natural fit between the extinct animals and the types of biscuits that I was advertising. I looked at the habitats and anatomy of several creatures to see if any had matching textures or shapes to the three biscuits. I eventually shortlisted the following ideas for each biscuit box.

Biscuit Type: Raisin & Oats

Texture: Chewy

Extinct Animal: Triceratops

Environment: Forest


The fanned crest of a triceratops finishes in small rounded spikes that reminded me of small raisins. Triceratops is also a popular dinosaur and an easily recognisable shape for young children to identify. The forest environment doesn't offer any direct connections to the biscuit, but a green background offsets the purple colours of raisins quite well.

Biscuit: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Texture: Melted

Animal: Ankylosaurus

Environment: Wetlands / Near tropical


As chocolate chips melt and spread, they resemble clumps of mud, much like the areas that Ankylosaurus would be found in as it would drink from watering holes. The lumpy armour on their backs could easily be adjusted to resemble chocolate chips too.

Biscuit: Ginger Nut

Texture: Crunchy

Animal: Stegosaurus

Environment: Arid / Volcanic


The spines on the back of Stegosaurus can be made to resemble cut slices of ginger root and the arid desert like environments that Stegosaurus would have lived in would have cracked baked earth as a surface similar to the fissures found on a cooked ginger nut biscuit.

With my choices now outlined, I then gathered together mood boards containing relevant textures and reference imagery for each dinosaur.

Considering the evidence of these creatures is limited to bones and fossilised remains, I had to also look at the work of paleo illustrators such as James Gurney to get a general sense of what these creatures could have looked. Scientific accuracy is low on the list of priorities for this brief, but I did want to familiarise myself with the general shapes of each dinosaur to use in my own animated representations.

I used some sketchbook pages to play around with ideas for how to arrange all the elements that I wanted to include. As there is speculation as to what colours most dinosaurs would have been, I also had some extra freedom with my colour palette.

For each cover, I went through a process of sketching out early ideas before moving on to the specifics of how the backgrounds and characters would look, as where they would be placed in the frame. I considered some options where the dinosaurs would be further back in their respective habitats, but I didn't want any of the posing to hide the unique horns, spines and patterns that made me choose them in the first place, so I eventually came up with an "over the shoulder" pose that would effectively show of the backs and tails of the dinosaurs as well as their facial expressions and mouths as they chomp down on a biscuit in the centre of the box cover.


I moved on to create the final designs digitally. In my early sketches I had kept my shapes simple and clear in a similar way to my cut paper illustrations in exercise 4.2 that were also aimed at a younger audience and I wanted to make a similar depth effect from my layers using shapes and shadows.

From left to right: Building Environment | Character Placement | Shadows and Adjustments | Adding product photo

The progression through building all the shape layers and assets in Adobe Illustrator was fairly straight forward but also time consuming as I made several tweaks along the way to the small ways that the objects would balance with the positions of others. In the later photoshop stages after adding in the drop shadows to my layers I could see the designs finally coming to life with the depth that I was hoping for.


I still needed to rebalance some elements though as you can see the most clearly with the recoloured border to better complement the Stegosaurus and the change in pose and proportion for the Ankylosaurus to hold its biscuit centrally. I had considered using an illustrated design for the biscuit itself but existing brands recognise that there needs to be transparency towards consumers in showing the buyer exactly what the food will look like through clear photography. I mirrored that aspect here too as I imposed images of real biscuits onto my box covers.

The final stage was to add my branded text in the spaces I had left outside the borders. For the "Dinosaur Crunchies" brand I found a rocky prehistoric font appropriately names CCClobberinTimeCrunchy on adobe fonts that fitted in well. For the text below that mentions the flavour information and the organic aspect, I used the CCMonsterMash type that I had found in the previous exercise to ensure that the text was all easy to read but still thematic.


As the last finishing touch to bring the biscuit boxes to life, I mocked up all three below as I would wish them to be seen in stores.

I'm really happy with how these look overall and I feel they would be very eye catching and appealing to children as my dinosaurs' happy expressions can be seen through a window into their prehistoric worlds with fully realised background elements. I'm particularly proud of the Raisin and Oats Triceratops design as I feel the colour choices and composition makes it the most compelling of the three.


Update 03/10/2020


As part of my formative feedback for Part 5, my tutor has suggested that some further explanation surrounding my font choices font would help improve my grade, as this is something that I can now see was not covered well in my original write up.


For the main titles, I chose CClobberingtime crunchy for its large and imposing bold text that would attract immediate attention at a glance and the cracked edges give each letter the appearance that it was roughly carved out of solid stone, which is thematically appropriate for the primeval environments show in the accompanying artwork.


CCMonsterMash appealed to me as the alternative font to use for the other bodies of text as it's painted on lettering has less hard edges than the main title and would read as secondary to the main branding while still remaining on theme. Green was used to accentuate the healthy aspects of the word organic and the individual flavouring colours were chosen to compliment the palette used in each accompanying artwork.

Bibliography:


Gurney, J. At: http://jamesgurney.com/site/images/history-and-science (Accessed 09/07/20)


Natural History Museum: The Dino Directory At: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dino-directory.html (Accessed 09/07/20)

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