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Design

Salted Stone Moves Into CPG Package Design with Barlean’s Platinum Product Line

Phil Dupertuis

Barlean’s is a mission-driven, family-owned and operated organization dedicated to building the Pathway to a Better Life for customers.

Known throughout the health product sector for their oils, swirls, and supplements, Barlean’s is recognized for superior product quality, and exceptional service. The company’s Flax Oil product is America’s #1 best-selling flax oil, and their lineup of superfood supplements, seeds, blends, and swirls are among the most popular in the nation. 

logo-medium-1Barlean’s initially engaged Salted Stone for a website re-design, coupled with an in-depth buyer persona analysis, to ensure that the new site strategy was aligned with target personas and their buyer's journeys. However, over the course of our research and analysis processes, the team discovered an opportunity to first modernize the brand through updated packaging designs. 

After sharing the idea with the Barlean’s team, the company’s VP of Consumer Marketing invited us to pitch a few package designs for the company’s new Platinum product line.

At the time, Barlean’s existing packaging vendor was in the process of creating concepts for the Platinum line as well. However, the creative assets our team had submitted around the brand modernization intrigued the team, and they were curious to see how we stacked up against their existing vendor.

The Platinum line, comprised of six products, necessitated package designs that would tie the line together aesthetically and allow each item to stand on its own.

It was up to Mitch McKenzie, Salted Stone’s creative director, to begin outlining bottle and box concepts.

Barlean’s goal was to sell “beautiful, premium-looking packaging that reflected the high-quality ingredients and formulations of our new Platinum series of nutritional supplements,” according to Ola Lessard, VP Consumer Marketing & Communications. “These products are expensive, and the packaging needed to convey the message that they are worth the price..." mentioned Lessard, "they also compete with over-the-counter medications, so we wanted a palette that communicates that these products offer a natural alternative to chemical products.”

The Challenge

Our design team's mission was clear: we would need to think about how to visually convey that value and brand position. Mike Skeehan, Managing Partner at Salted Stone, weighed in. “During the design process, we had to remember that these are premium products - so the packaging did have to convey the value in a way that speaks from the shelf straight to the consumer.”

Thought Process Behind the Design

McKenzie spent time browsing the aisles of Whole Foods and other natural food markets and health stores to become familiar with both the physical shelf space that this new line would inhabit and the competition’s approach to labeling and packaging for similar products.

Ultimately, Mitch decided on a design scheme that...

  1. Synthesized classic elements of the brand’s visual language, and
  2. incorporated contemporary influences. 

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Once back in the shop, he set to work designing this new line of packaging, fusing old-world visual cues with sleek and modern typefaces to create a fresh aesthetic, with a sense of thematic continuity running throughout. By subtly varying the theme with different colors, Mitch made sure that each product in the line had a distinct look of its own, while unifying design elements established continuity - clearly conveying that this was a complete family of products.

A deep understanding of the Barlean's audience, established during our initial buyer persona analysis, along with notes from McKenzie's in-person observations, informed the visual language and aesthetic style that would differentiate Barlean’s from the other brands while conveying a level of quality that the consumer should expect with the Platinum product offerings.

“Because the Platinum series is somewhat distinct from the rest of the products Barlean’s offers, I had some leeway with the look and feel. My goal was to create something simple and bold with high-end touches to really help the product stand out” McKenzie shares.

Mitch combined black and silver elements with one of six vibrant colorways from a palette designed to convey images of nature and health. McKenzie says, “The typography and ornamental border elements aim to bridge an “old-timey” look with a clean, contemporary sensibility. The final touches are a subtle wave pattern in the background (suggesting calm and peacefulness) while the foil stamping and embossing of key elements add a bit of dimensionality and elegance.”

The Results

Our team’s packaging concepts were delivered to Barlean’s stakeholders alongside their existing packaging vendor in a blind comparison, and our designs were the unanimous choice amongst all Barlean’s stakeholders.

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“This was a particularly difficult packaging product, with a two-part box that includes both embossing and foiling. The team at Salted Stone really listened to our goals and intentions for this line of products and created an incredible design in the very first round. We put this job out to three different design firms, including one we’ve worked with for years. Our CEO took one look at the S2 design and said, “that’s what I’m talking about!” - Ola Lessard, VP Consumer Marketing & Communications

We won the contract to design the packaging for the new line, our first entry into the CPG space.

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Before the official launch in stores, additional marketing collateral and on-shelf materials, like the flyer featured below, were designed.

poster Skeehan says, “We’ve always liked saying ‘yes’ to taking on new projects, and pushing ourselves creatively. In retrospect, some of our coolest wins have come in times like these where we push ourselves past the limits of what we’ve ever done before.”

He continues, “The Saint Motel ‘Move’ 360 degree virtual reality music video—a project completed for Atlantic Records—is a great example of us taking on something that was much past anything we’d done in that realm prior. And the results were incredible. We keep learning and solidifying our own belief in our team’s talent and work ethic. When a challenge arises our in-house talent steps up and really pushes the boundaries of what’s possible. Maybe on projects like this with Barlean’s, it’s because we come in with a fresh set of eyes and a level of enthusiasm and hustle that some of the more established niche players maybe don’t retain after accomplishing a certain level of success.”

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Have a design project you’d like to partner with us on? Whether it’s one of our core skills or something we’ve never tried before, we’re always up for the challenge. Contact us today!
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