Karacters Design Group Creates Bread Bags that Could Slice Up the Competition

Posted: May 6, 2014 by
Eric Van Osten

Picture yourself in the bakery aisle of a supermarket, checking out the shelves of organic breads. What do you see? Probably row after row of loaves in clear plastic packaging, all very similar in style, using earthy colors and minimal, if any, imagery. If there is imagery, it is probably just an illustration of a wheat sheaf.

Silver Hills Bakery makes breads that contain no preservatives, added fats, or dairy products. All of its ingredients are Kosher and selected for their quality and taste-the source for each carefully considered when being purchased from supply chains. The breads are made from sprouted organic grains, making them high in fiber and rich in nutrition.

What's in a name

With so much work going into making quality products, Silver Hills Bakery did not want to be just another brick in the wall of organic breads at the store. So, it appointed Karacters Design Group in Vancouver to redesign its packaging to make it stand out on the shelves, boost sales, and broaden its customer base.

"From a creative point of view, we do not believe in design trends, this can result in a lot of 'me-too' design," says James Bateman, creative director at Karacters Design Group. "And if we want our clients' unique product to stand out, following a trend is going to have the reverse effect. A number of product categories, particularly bread, are visually very generic. To make our clients product sing, we needed to create something that was different and original but still had relevance."

Of the many varieties of breads Silver Hills Bakery offered before the redesign, the one that was the biggest hit was Squirrelly, which is known for its nutty taste and ingredients that include sunflower and sesame seeds. During brand strategy development, it was discovered that the Squirrely name had more name recognition than its parent brand.

Karacters Design Group took this concept and ran with it, giving each of the varieties names that would intrigue, including Mack's Flax (loaded with flax seeds), Hemptation (rich in hemp), and King's Kamut (sour loaf made with protein-rich ancient grain). The goal of the rebranded packaging was to beckon customers to pick up and examine the breads. To accompany each of the new names, an illustration by artist Robert Hanson was added to help tell a "bread-time story." The drawings are whimsical, simple, and reminiscent of Dr. Seuss books. Windows to the loaf inside were incorporated into the illustrations to highlight the bread's ingredients and raise curiosity.

Breaking bread barriers

To unify the line of breads further while also defining each one's individuality, a solid, matte color was assigned to each variety. The color of each loaf by itself is humble, yet when placed on a shelf with its extended family is extremely eye-catching against the backdrop of other brands. The substrate was changed to a biodegradable bag, which with the matte ink gives the package a higher quality touch and look.

"Using bold colors, clean layout, and intriguing illustrations, the consumer is drawn to the packaging to discover the brand message of goodness and simplicity," says Brad Brousson, CEO of Silver Hills Bakery. "We have not changed any of our selling messages, but we have sought to communicate them in a manner to appeal to the heart of the would-be health consumer," says Brousson.

The breads are available in most major grocery stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Oregon, and Washington. The redesign has helped the company to reach out to new customers while staying connected to existing ones.

"Our goal was to develop new packaging that would break through the homogeneity and connect with consumers in a humanistic way," says Bateman. "The witty illustrations and unique names engage customers on an emotional level that makes you want to smile, while the short stories reveal the authenticity and integrity behind each carefully crafted loaf. The combination of good insight and original creativity is a powerful and influential force in business."