Thrilled to share our double win in the 2017 Graphic Design USA American Graphic Design Awards competition for the design work we did for Vrai Vodka Cocktails and Little Belgians speculoos cookies. Check out the entries on GDUSA. Congratulations to our clients, team, and print vendors that helped these branding and packaging design visions come to life and a big thank you to Graphic Design USA Magazine.
December 15, 2017 | BY Nicole LaFave
We're thrilled to share some industry news for our Chicago based beverage and spirits client, Vrai vodka cocktails. In addition to being featured with Ardagh in Times Square taking on the Big Apple, check out this article about the product's offical launch on Cocktail Enthusiast. Expect to hear a lot more about this brand soon and in the meantime head over to drinkvrai.com/where-to-buy to keep an eye on where to buy and drink Vrai near you. Vrai is the first ready to drink organic vodka drink in a can. It's pronounced VRAY (long A) and means true in French. The brand's mission is to always remain transparent, honest, and truthful about what goes into their organic vodka drinks and future products.
July 05, 2017 | BY Nicole LaFave
Whose gluten free and rapidly stealing the spotlight? Cider, that’s who. These brands are the up and coming players in spirits, and they’re no exception when it comes to craft cider packaging design. Mint, jalapeno, basil, elderberry, cherry; these are just some of the flavors incorporated in new craft ciders that provide plenty of space for play both in packaging design and on your taste buds.
Cider packaging design has historically focused on apples, orchards, trees, or some combination thereof, which is a huge contributor to the perception of all ciders being extremely sweet. Although some brands still pay homage to the drink’s main ingredient and its roots, the incorporation of new, eccentric ingredients and flavors have opened up a new world of creative packaging design. For example, Seattle Cider Company, New Belgium, and Shacksbury all have their own takes on dry, semi-dry, and semi-sweet ciders. This evolution has allowed cider to become a drink to be enjoyed all year round, not just in the summer months, which opens up even more possibilities for the composition of the drink as well as its design. Demographic trends are impacting this industry too. Hard. Although ciders have always been incredibly popular amongst younger women, the results are in, and guys like cider too. Who knew? This has led to a large gravitation towards an outdoorsy, craftsman-like, vintage, and more gender neutral design aesthetic in the cider realm to appeal to all consumers. Perhaps this is cider’s way of sneaking in on beer packaging design territory… Whatever it is, it’s working.
As more consumers opt for a healthier, gluten free, and in some cases, organic drink option on Friday night, craft ciders are only going to grow from here. Not only is cider a top choice for the health-conscious and/or calorie-counting population (is cider really that much better? haha), but the spirit is quickly becoming on par with beer and wine as a drink menu staple for all occasions. Craft cider will only become more synonymous with beer as small batches, unique bottles and cans, and targeted packaging design continue to become the norm. The majority of craft cider drinkers are coming from the craft beer world (Perhaps they are also trying to reel in some wine drinkers? Some of the really dry ones are almost champagne-like, have you had?). Bottom line, the same level of quality from the overall brand is expected. They want to know where the ingredients that are in that bottle or can came from, what makes these ingredients special, and they want to know the story behind who made it and why. These are important elements to include in the essence of each craft cider’s packaging design to continue to capture that market and eventually position cider as a premium drink. (People shop with their eyes first, after all.) With a larger emphasis on quality and taste, the relationship that a craft cider brand can create between its product and its consumers is going to make a difference and build strong brand loyalty that will keep them coming back, similar to what has worked for craft beer packaging design. Will, then, brand loyalty shift to the smaller, lesser known, craft cider with a story?
August 03, 2016 | BY Design Womb
“Brand names reveal a lot more than you think, as the fascinating science of ‘sound symbolism’ suggests.”
Which ice cream has fewer calories: Frish or Frosh? Which city is geographically closer: Fleen or Floon? The majority of people would think that Frish would have fewer calories than Frosh, and that Floon was farther away than Fleen. Did you think the same? These words are fictional, but the sounds that they make cause our minds to apply certain meanings to them.
Language studies have shown that humans make cognitive connections with sounds and meanings. There are a lot of components that make up brand voice, but is your name aligned with what you do? Or more importantly, with what people may think you do? Different sounds in words create different connections than you may intend your brand to say. Read on (especially if you’re in the market for a new name!) to see what your sounds may actually mean to clients at first glance. Definitely something to consider when you’re branding, rebranding or naming your next company.
June 04, 2016 | BY Design Womb
April 28, 2016 | BY Design Womb
We know starting a food business and working on your food packaging design is hard enough as it is. Throw in the added worry about making sure your labels and packaging design are in line with any required regulations, and many food startups are asking for a headache. We've asked our extended Design Womb team member and legal expert, Lauren Handel, who just launched her own firm, to share some helpful insight on what to consider while working on your packaging design and brand's launch.
At the federal government level, food labels are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) (for meat, poultry and processed egg products), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) (for alcoholic beverages) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (for all other foods). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has jurisdiction over advertising, including websites and social media marketing. States also have authority to regulate food labels and marketing.
YES! In the last few years, the plaintiffs’ bar has played an increasing role in “regulation” of food labels by bringing hundreds of class action lawsuits against food companies allegedly for deceiving consumers with false or misleading food labels. Foods labeled as “natural” that contain genetically modified, synthetic, or highly-processed ingredients have been the primary target of such lawsuits to date. But the litigation has expanded to other types of allegedly false or misleading food labeling—such as labels using the term “evaporated cane juice” to describe a type of sugar ingredient, labeling claims about antioxidants and “superfood” ingredients, and claims about certain products being healthy or good for you when they contain lots of sugar or fat. Competitors also can sue for unfair competition based on a false or misleading food label.
It is flatly illegal to claim that a food product can help to treat, cure or mitigate any disease. Such claims may be made only for drugs, which must go through extensive review and approval by FDA before they may be sold. However, it is permissible to claim that a food product helps to support a normal, healthy bodily structure or function (such, as “supports a healthy immune system” or “builds strong bones”) provided that the manufacturer has sufficient scientific evidence to back up the claim.
FDA rules also set conditions for using the terms “healthy,” “health,” and other variants of those words, when used in connection with a claim about the nutrients or ingredients in the food. It is illegal to use those terms if the product contains too much fat, cholesterol or sodium, or if does not contain enough of at least one beneficial nutrient (vitamins A, C, calcium, iron, protein, or fiber).
FDA regulations govern claims characterizing the level of a nutrient in a food product—for example, “high fiber” or “low fat.” Manufacturers may use only certain terminology in making such claims—such as, “good source,” “high,” and “excellent source.” You may not say that a product is “packed with vitamin C,” for instance. FDA regulations also define how much of each “bad” nutrient is too much for a “low” claim and what minimum amounts of “good” nutrients are needed for a “good source” or “high” claim. In some cases, a manufacturer may make a nutrient content claim only if it also includes an additional disclosure.
In general, no. If the company’s web address is printed on the package label, FDA considers a website to be part of the product labeling and subject to the same rules as apply to the package label. Other kinds of marketing materials—such as product brochures and sell sheets—also can be considered part of the labeling. FDA also looks at websites (and, potentially, social media) for evidence that a company intends to market a food product as an unapproved drug. And, as mentioned above, the FTC also has jurisdiction over websites and social media. The bottom line is: be careful about claims you make anywhere you market your products.
Bio: Lauren Handel is the principal attorney of Handel Food Law LLC, which exclusively serves farming, food, and alcoholic beverage businesses. Lauren’s practice focuses on regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, commercial contracts, and intellectual property.
February 25, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
February 25, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
February 17, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
February 10, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
February 03, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
While we love to help you launch your food packaging projects, we also love to share exciting news about things that our team and extended family members are up to. Allison Ball, our food industry consultant, is launching an exciting new online course in February called "Brains of the Buyer." This course is for Producers of Good Food, and for the inaugural session, the Design Womb community will receive a generous discount of 30% off.
"Brains of the Buyer" helps producers grow their food business, thoughtfully. Alli works with you to create a 1 page business plan to clarify what you're actually selling & who you're selling to, why your product is different, and who your competitors are. Together, you then move on to understanding the thought process of wholesale buyers: why they choose particular products to carry and why they pass on others; how they price them; the strategy behind re-ordering, merchandising, and marketing them; and how to convince those retail accounts to say "Yes!" to carrying your products.
Alli currently helps producers increase their wholesale presence through her one-on-one consulting, and is offering group work for the first time this winter. Prior to launching her consulting business, Alli was Head of Grocery & Store Manager at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, one of the nation's most influential specialty food markets, where she discovered, supported and promoted hundreds of small food businesses and thousands of retail products.
To sign up or learn more, follow this link and use promo code FOODFRIEND to save 30% off the inaugural course. Please note spots are limited, and registrations closes Friday, January 29th at Midnight, PST. Still have questions? Email email@example.com.
January 22, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
In 2013 something outstanding happened to me: I discovered that I love whiskey. Having lived out on the West Coast for over 8 years, I was barely drinking anything other than cold-pressed green juice. After an evening of oysters and drinks on a snowy Chicago night, everything changed. I found my drink: The Manhattan cocktail. The crispness of a great small-batch whiskey mixed with the sweetness of vermouth, all tied together with some craft aromatic bitters and that boozy cherry had me on the first sip. On the rocks, please.
This is all to say: women like whiskey too.
Working in the food and beverage packaging and design space, I am always observing what products I purchase and what products I pass by. While whiskey packaging design is indeed starting to expand in aesthetic with a lot of modern, clean, and novel approaches, overall the designs are overtly masculine or “Old World” feeling. I want what's inside the bottle, of course, but there's very little on what's outside the bottle to sway my purchasing decision.
New craft distilleries are popping up across the country, definitely an exciting proposition, and with that some updated approaches to whiskey branding. While this is exciting, I think there are a lot of unexplored possibilities that speak to both genders that can successfully market to this new wave of younger whiskey consumers.
As it stands now, the whiskey packaging design market may be predominantly a man’s world. But as a whiskey startup distillery, I know I would want to capitalize on the new generation of whiskey drinkers and appreciators. That translates to whiskey packaging design that doesn’t put off female buyers and packaging that explores modern ways to speak to both genders. Obviously the history and lore of the drink lends to the traditional designs in whiskey packaging, but does whiskey have to feel so old and serious all the time? I'm not talking about wrapping the bottle in pink lace -- just give me something more contemporary and appealing.
Like craft coffee, I think these new small batch whiskey brands are slowly starting to explore some different and modern designs and veer away from heavy masculinity, but there is a lot of opportunity in pushing whiskey packaging design further. An amazing and quality product needs unique and quality design to accompany it. If you want to stand out on the shelves and persuade consumers that your brand is better than your competitor's, focusing on creating a novel and distinctive design aesthetic is paramount.
In the end, do you really want your brand to look like everything else on the shelf that your products will live on?
July 22, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
To celebrate, we're sharing a few of our favorite collaborations from the past year or so. #PackagingDesignDay
May 07, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
We're honored to have our package design work for Ripple Coffee Roasters featured on The Dieline.
Ripple Coffee is committed to roasting beans strictly from farms owned by women. The company is dedicated to compensating women for their contributions by giving a percentage of each purchase back to the community.
See it here: http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2014/12/23/ripple-coffee or visit our project overivew.
January 12, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
Here's a little taste of some brand identity and packge design work we did for Pantry House over the last year. Isabel's horseradish mustard is a hot commidity. Grab yours on her e-commerce site which we designed and launched.
August 13, 2014 | BY Nicole LaFave
Santa Cruz's Isabel Freed is launching Pantry House; a line of handcrafted jams, mustards, butters & sauces. Be on the lookout for the collaboration Design Womb did on the new branding, package design & website (where you'll be able to shop to order online) this spring/summer.
March 28, 2013 | BY Nicole LaFave
Last year I invented a little brand for California olive oil packaging. These were gifted to a handful of clients, friends & family. The full project photos will be featured on the new Design Womb site in early 2013, but in the meantime here is a little snippet reminder of my love of helicopters. I love a good chopper.
November 16, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
The Beachy Cream ice cream sandwich packaging sleeves have arrived. Inspired by fun in the sun, beach balls and polka dot bikinis, ice cream just got a whole lot more fun. These are going to make killer favors at parties & weddings. You can see more of the branding project for my client here or visit their site to order ice cream online.
January 17, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
My new favorite aisle at the grocery store it the olive oil section. The packaging design lures me in. It's hard to beat the wine area or chocolate bar area, but lately the olive oil market seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I would love to do more of this kind of work. Specialty food packaging = dream design projects to me. I felt pretty inspired to do some packaging design for a holiday gift this year and incorporate something I love looking at, helicopters! The result was California extra virgin olive oil, Taste Patrol Fine Foods & Findings by Design Womb. We'll see where the chopper takes me next. I've mentioned this before. I love all the different shapes and sizes helicopters come in. Hoping to turn this project into a printmaking project in 2012 for helicopter prints. Keep you posted.
December 30, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
This week I had a stamp made for my friend Alisa's lovely little side project (fragrance & perfume). I've been stamp-obsessed in the house this week. I have some awesome ones coming up for Big Nut Brewing and Curry Up Now in the works.
September 27, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave