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