Milliways Sugar-Free Gum Is Out Of This World

by Casha Doemland on 04/22/2019 | 3 Minute Read

If you're a fan of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then the moment you see the word “Milliways” you’re instantly transported to the restaurant at the End of the Universe, and for a good reason, as it serves as the main inspiration for the name of Milliways' sugar-free gum.

As the first product to hit the market, the all-natural gum is the first stop on a tour of healthy food across the galaxy with UK-based design studio Hawk & Handsaw producing out of this world designs. The “chicle” gum-base merges the mythology of Mayan culture with the idea of placing a hero in the design who not only rids you of bad breath but also pollution as it’s plastic free.

Wanting to try the adventurous watermelon sugarfree gum for ourselves, we reached out to James Taylor, creative director & founder of Hawk & Handsaw to collect all the details we could.  


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Why did you opt to use Nu-Choo’s face as the focal point, and what’s the inspiration behind the designs?

Following the Xiuhp?hualli, we placed Nu-Choo front and center. From this position, she is able to complete her magical transformation (rotate the pack) as well as tell us what natural flavor she is eating.

We humans are “face people,” and we are biologically tuned to seek out and look at faces for longer than other visual stimuli. And so we happened upon a way to make the viewer linger so that our message could be communicated. The inspirations are varied, but highlights include the aforementioned Mayan calendar—The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell and contemporary line illustration.

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Can you tell us more about the pack architecture?

We used the iconic “Xiuhp?hualli,” the Mayan 365-day calendar as the basis of the packaging architecture. This allows our hero, a young girl called Nu-Choo (get it?) to be placed front and center showing us the ingredients. This positioning is also crucial for her transformation into a supernatural form as the pack is rotated.

We wanted the ingredients to have a supernatural effect on her, and so the illustration was refined until a 180-degree rotation produced two separate and distinct expressions on the box.

We feel this rotating function to the design creates an instantly intriguing pack that provides consumers with more emotional connections to the brand. Furthermore, the presence of a human face helps us to linger on the package longer than usual.

How do your designs redefine the chewing gum category?

Milliways opens up the category to the possibility of natural gum that has personality and character. As the current health boom proceeds through every product in our daily lives, the ‘natural’ message will tire and no longer function as a differentiator. Therefore, as a design community, we must work harder to imbue our work with unique and compelling stories rather than rely on lists of health claims.

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Have you had the opportunity to chew on Milliways? If so, is it truly supernatural?

We have, it’s excellent. Watermelon is delicious and my favorite. The rest of Hawk & Handsaw have their varying preferences and suggestions for new flavors to come in the future.

How is Milliways plastic-free, and what’s the importance of producing a sustainable design?

The gum itself is free of the plastic base common in mainstream chewing gum and is biodegradable. Currently, the packaging is 100% recyclable, and we’re working towards a compostable pack in the future. Sustainability in FMCG is always going to be a hot topic across the design industry, and agencies need to pursue the best options available to them and their clients at that time. If we all keep pushing and demanding more responsible materials, the change will come.

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