Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 10 APRIL 2018 FROM THE EDITOR Winning Package Design Earlier this year, when Googling "dietary supplement package de- sign," I came across the website www.99designs.com, a self-described graphic design "marketplace." In addition to traditionally connecting designers and clients, one of the site's best- known features is its "design contest" whereby a company, for a fee, can submit a request for a graphic design—say, for a dietary supplement package—and any of the thousands of designers from the 99designs network can submit designs online for the company to consider until, at last, the company selects one win- ning design. T e f rm acknowledges that there are both benef ts and draw- backs to this system. "Generally speaking, you can get high- quality design on 99designs at a more af ordable price than from a design f rm," says 99designs Chief Marketing Of cer Pamela Webber. "However, since you complete your project online, you will not have the level of personalized service that you would re- ceive at a design f rm. T at is the trade-of ." I wondered, however, if there might be some additional ben- ef ts to this approach, one of them being exposure to a vast ar- ray of designers. Webber thinks so: "T e design contest provides more choice for your packaging project than working with one designer because dif erent designers have dif erent aesthetics and approaches to projects." Of course, while some of those design- ers may have experience designing packages for the supplements industry, others may not. "Our designers come from all kinds of backgrounds," Webber says. "Some specialize in more traditional nutritional packaging, while others may have broader interests and bring a fresh perspective." I asked Webber whether this "fresh" perspective could actu- ally benef t a supplement brand. For instance, could an out-of- the-box design from an outsider's perspective ultimately help a supplement company appeal to a broader audience or capture the attention of new types of customers? "Absolutely!" says Web- ber. "Sometimes the best part of a contest is seeing a submission you didn't even know you wanted. While nutritional supplements traditionally have a specif c 'look,' it can be interesting to see how designers branch out dif erently. If the design stands out in a con- test, it might also stand out on the shelf." One of 99designs' designers, an Italy-based designer named Natalino Milillo, whose portfolio boasts numerous design- contest wins in the dietary supplements space, spoke about how he first began designing for the supplements industry. "Before discovering 99designs, I worked mainly in stationery design," he says. " With 99designs, I started participating in packaging contests that focused on supplements for health and sports, with immediate success—I think because I tried to avoid more generic label designs." Milillo continues: "In my opinion, a successful designer must dare to go beyond what's expected—even at the risk of 'scaring' the customer." According to another design expert, however, it's not always the case that designers new to the market necessarily bring new ideas. Yadim Medore, founder and CEO of Pure Branding (Northampton, MA), which he describes as a "strategic consult- ing, market research, and brand development agency" that has served the dietary supplement, functional food, and personal care industry for nearly 20 years, says it may seem counterintuitive but what he's seen is that in cases where design f rms don't really know the supplements market, "instead of coming up with some- thing new and exciting, they often come up with something that's been tried before. It's new to them, but not to the category. I know it sounds counterintuitive that this happens, but it does." Medore's company also designs packaging, but only after the "higher value work" of designing a larger, long-term strategy for the brand, he says. Pure Branding, for instance, was responsible for developing the supplement industry's f rst consumer traceability program for Gaia Herbs, complete with an entire QR code system for the brand's packaging. In Medore's opinion, gaining deep insights f rst is key to the pro- cess. "Design and packaging come after the higher-value work of developing a strategy for the brand, and that requires understand- ing of the market, the participants (consumers and the trade), the organization, and the product category and regulatory landscape. Once the strategic work is done, the design expression is informed by this foundation and no longer becomes subjective." Essentially, Medore says, what's needed is a "strategic dialogue between de- signer, marketer, research, and client." As for 99designs' Webber, she does point out that the more ex- plicit that a company entering its contest is in terms of describ- ing its requirements and aesthetic needs, the more on target the design submissions are likely to be. At this point, I wondered, which is the better choice—a "fresh" voice, or an industry veteran? Each has its pluses, and supplement companies are apparently f nding satisfaction in both. Perhaps the bottom line at the end of the day is that talented designers will be successful. After all, Medore says, "Knowing the supplement market is a plus, but not the only requisite…Bad design, no matter how well you are versed in supplements, is still bad design." Jennifer Grebow Editor-in-Chief

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