‘Rage’ Seltzer Packaging Design Case Study (S.T.A.R) method

S (Situation)

When I go into the store and am walking through the aisles, my eyes are always drawn to the seltzer cans because of how unique the designs are. I always see super bright and energetic packaging that I could stare at for hours, because of how beautiful it is to look at. I wanted to recreate a seltzer can (Travis Scott’s seltzers known as ‘Cacti’) into a more suitable design that I felt better fit the brand. I thought that the Cacti seltzers lacked personality. Travis Scott is a rap artist that is known for his wild, rage-like shows that are filled with energy. However, I felt as though the cans were very bland, soft and quiet, not very on brand for the rapper. I am really inspired by bright, playful colors and very abstract, free designs and I wanted to apply that to my cans.

T (Task)

I designed this project during the spring quarter of my junior year for Viscom 2: application. We were assigned a product design project, and I chose to re-brand the Cacti Seltzers. I was the only designer working on this project, so I worked on everything from thinking of the original idea, to designing the final product.

A (Action)

The first order of business for this project was initial research, including

Audience research, customer persona and journey maps. Next was creating a narrative for the product, this was creating as a selling point for the product, why it stood out from other seltzers and what the idea behind the brand strategy was. Then I moved into the initial hand drawn product sketches. In this phase, I initially thought that I could go out of the box and design seltzers in bottles. I quickly realized that cans would be a lot more suitable for the branding I was going for, so I continued with my process using the can sketches. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted to design a box for the seltzers. I drew a couple of ideas but didn’t end up sticking with them because I thought the cans represented the brand well enough on their own. Next came my digital sketches, where I began to design the cans in illustrator. I wanted to incorporate bright colors such as neon green, pink, orange, and purple, because I thought those colors best represented the rage-like branding I was going for. I played around a lot with funky, blocky typefaces that were loud and captured your attention. I also incorporated a lot of abstract shapes and lines, giving the designs movement and making them feel lively. From there, I created my first prototype using Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dimensions. In this phase, I was struggling a lot with fluidity and movement once my designs were on the cans. My type and pattern had movement, but once it was sitting on a three-dimensional surface, it lost a bit of character. I took my feedback from the first critique and applied it to my second prototype. I used a blur effect on my pattern to add more movement to the background of my desire, used a more handwriting-like type in order to create a more organic feel, which really brought my designs and final prototype together and represented my brand the way I wanted it to. My final designs consisted of three cans, the pineapple flavor which was a neon green can with yellow type and pattern, strawberry which was a neon green can with hot pink type and pattern, and lime, which also was a neon green can with darker green type and pattern.

R (Results)

The outcome of this project was that I successfully redesigned a seltzer that I did not think matched its brand. I created three unique seltzer cans that stand out and represent a wild, rage-like brand that is loud and bright to look at. I feel proud of the result, I spent a lot of time reworking just about every element of my cans and applied the feedback I received each critique. I learned the process of product design and how the everyday products we use come to be just from one initial idea. I learned how important having a concrete brand is before designing assets is. Lastly, I learned how important color, type, and placement of text is when it comes to product design. This project influenced who I am today because it pushed me to be a stronger designer and learn more about different areas of design that I will continue to apply to all my future projects.

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Jordan Davies

Fourth Year Visual Communications Student at Seattle Pacific University