Quick Link: Advanced Nutrients Packaging on It’s Nice That
Big Bud, Wet Betty, Bud Candy, Kushie Kush, Jungle Juice, Piranha, B-52, Overdrive and Connoisseur are just a few of the alluring names of the more than fifty products that Advanced Nutrients manufactures for the hydroponic grower. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in liquid, sand, or gravel with added nutrients but without soil. It is an activity that occurs indoors away from natural sunlight, and at times, away from the inquisitive eyes of the authorities. Pentagram Austin has been on a mission to make the company more visible, however, with its recent rebranding of the Advanced Nutrients line of super-fertilizers and growth enhancement products.
In 2009 Austin Partner DJ Stout and Associate Julie Savasky developed Rosebud magazine for the Vancouver-based hydroponics company, quite likely the first “Hydroponic Growers Lifestyle” publication ever. The design of Rosebud, with the tagline “Cultivate Your Life,” is purposely spare and upscale to appeal to luxury advertisers who want to reach a large untapped audience of hydroponic growers with a lot of expendable income. The cover of the launch issue featured actor Justin Kirk, who co-stars with Mary Louise Parker in the hit television series “Weeds.” Advanced Nutrients is a paid consultant for the series and its products regularly show up in the grow rooms and other sets of the show. The company’s colorful co-founder “Big Mike” Straumietis also appears frequently in the show as an extra, and shortly after the Rosebud project he asked Pentagram Austin to redesign his company’s packaging.
Nuts.com is exactly what it sounds like: an online retailer of every kind of nut, from peanuts, pistachios, pecans and pine nuts, to cashews, almonds and filberts, in salted, unsalted and organic varieties. Founded by “Poppy” Sol Braverman in 1929 as the Newark Nut Company, the family-owned business has grown from a stand in Newark’s Mulberry Street market into a thriving site that sells over 2,000 items and has annual sales of over $20 million. The company has been named one of the “Top Tastes of New Jersey” and featured on “Rachel Ray,” and with the slogan “We’re more than just nuts,” also offers dried fruit, snacks, chocolate, coffee and tea.
The company first launched its site in 1999 with the slightly confusing name/URL NutsOnline.com––a second choice after it found the URL Nuts.com was already taken. This year the company finally secured the Nuts.com address and made the move to the new name. With the change, the company asked Pentagram’s Michael Bierut to create a new identity and packaging that would help establish Nuts.com as a distinctive brand. The new graphics create an unmistakable look and feel that is fun, personal, and well, a little nutty.
Celebrating our 40th birthday has put us in a retrospective mood. Over the coming year New at Pentagram will periodically take a look back at classic, timely or rarely seen projects from the Pentagram archive that are some of our favorites.
First up is something just in time for Father’s Day. One of Michael Bierut’s first projects after joining Pentagram in 1990 was for an old friend, Terron Schaefer, who was then marketing director of Brookstone. Schaefer had a last-minute assignment: an arresting promotion for Father’s Day to encourage shoppers to buy the kind of out-of-the-ordinary gifts that are a Brookstone specialty. The designer responded with a simple sketch based on international transportation icons, which Brookstone accepted immediately and expanded to packaging, wrapping paper, in-store signage, and advertising. Years later, Schaefer and Bierut went on to work together at Saks Fifth Avenue, where today Schaefer is Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer.
Happy Father’s Day!
Project Team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Dorit Lev, illustrator.
The Cass Art store on High Street Kensington has revealed a revamped fascia including a window featuring one of this season’s iconic bags which will be available in all five stores across London.
Daniel Weil likes to take overexposed objects and look at them afresh. His latest design for cashmere label Oyuna is Cashmere To Keep, a gusseted container bag with a folded closure that is secured with elastic. The shopping bag format has been automatically produced for over a century but Cashmere To Keep reinvents that format, removing handles and adding a foldover crease, allowing customers to open and close it like a box but carry it underarm like a bag. The crease is angled to reflect the angle of the ‘y’ on the Oyuna logotype.
Domenic Lippa and his team have designed a unique luxury Christmas gift for Glenmorangie, the single malt scotch whisky.
The gift celebrates the tradition of “First-Footing” practiced by households across Scotland and the north of England on New Year’s Eve. The “First-Foot” refers to the first person to cross the threshold of the home after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay as it is know in Scotland. Traditionally the “First-Footer” brings gifts of coal and whisky; the coal symbolises the desire for the receiver’s home to be warm and safe for the coming year and the whisky is for toasting the future.
“Lang may yer lum reek” is the accompanying toast, meaning “long may your chimney smoke” to wish prosperity for the coming months.
Can good design rescue fast food? That’s one of the questions posed in The New York Times Magazine’s fourth annual Food & Drink issue, out this week. This year’s issue is themed “Everything You Wanted to Know About Food (But Didn’t Know Whom To Ask).” Times business reporter David Segal asked Pentagram Austin’s DJ Stout about his recent rebranding of Popeyes and how graphic design can change the perception of fast food.
From the Times:
In late 2008, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits changed its name to Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. One by one, its more than 2,000 franchises worldwide are ditching their bright blue-and-yellow color scheme in favor of richer shades of red and orange. The new takeout box features those hues and a new, more refined logo, which includes the fleur-de-lis, which is ubiquitous in New Orleans.
The company has said the changes were made to emphasize the brand’s Louisiana heritage and to appeal to younger diners, but the makeover also had the effect of making the food somehow seem more healthful. Was that a goal? “Yes,” says DJ Stout, who oversaw the rebranding for the design firm Pentagram. “At the beginning of any redesign, you have lots of conversations with the owners, and a big part of the packaging assignment was to make the food look healthier.”
Pentagram has performed this trick for more than a few chains, including Ruby Tuesday, Chicken Now and Bobby’s Burger Palace. In each case, the design consultancy favored uncluttered surfaces, strong colors and bold lettering. The results leave diners with the sense that there’s something intelligent about the packaging, and by extension, the restaurant and its food.
Greg Vojnovic, Popeye’s vice president of development, says, “We wanted to convey freshness, authenticity, real food, fresh food.” And it seems to have worked. Since 2008, Popeyes says, the company’s share of the fast-food chicken market has risen by three percentage points, to 18 percent.