Moxie Sozo Elevates The Packaging For Backpacker's Pantry To New Heights
by Bill McCool on 07/24/2019 | 5 Minute Read
That’s all you want when it comes to the great outdoors, that feeling of wonderment and awe when you can take a stey away from the daily grind and transplant yourself right into your own personal Bob Ross painting.
And hey, if you can put some of those happy little trees on a piece of packaging for a brand steeped in the traditions of the great outdoors, even better.
Well, that’s just what Moxie Sozo did when they were asked to redesign the packaging for freeze-dried meal titans Backpacker’s Pantry as the brand wanted to reach a whole new generation of outdoor enthusiasts without alienating their existing fans. Their illustrations are reminiscent of impressionistic paintings, and you'd be hard-pressed not to buy a package at your local REI if you're prepping for a long hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Hungry for Pad Thai and wanting to know more about their inspired designs, we talked to Even Faber and Nate Dyer from Moxie Sozo about how they evolved the Backpacker’s Pantry identity from the ground up.
Walk us through the design process. How did you go from start to finish on this project?
Evan Faber: Observations and opportunities. We kicked off with a Discovery Session and identified several pain points. They were getting lost in the category and sometimes confused with a competitor. The on-pack messaging was hard to navigate. Overall the brand felt dated and was not helping to support their higher price point.
Way too often, outdoor brands leverage a beautiful photograph to tell their visual story. We wanted to create a more ownable, “undeniable” look for Backpacker’s Pantry—one where you could cover up the logo or name and still recognize the company by its packaging. Undeniable brands end up owning a coveted place in the hearts and minds of consumers.
Round one: an exploration of imagination. A round one packaging presentation at Moxie Sozo is electric. We believe it’s easier to pull back creativity than it is to push it further, so we listen to what the client wants then also deliver what they haven’t yet imagined. We shared a variety of highly distinctive concepts and revised the chosen direction with the client.
Aspirational impressionism. The final design developed by Moxie Sozo’s Nate Dyer, Elliot Lang and Qian Liu paints in beautiful detail a picture of the environments where the brand’s products are enjoyed, from snow-capped peaks and burbling streams to red rock canyons and grassy plains. The modern look and impressionistic illustrative style help to ensure the product feels equally at home on-shelf at outdoor outfitters like REI and Cabela’s or natural grocers like Whole Foods, while a simplified front panel helps to clearly and quickly communicate each product’s benefits and attributes at-a-glance. Most importantly, the bright colors and depictions of larger-than-life adventure preview the bold flavors and hearty meals inside.
What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Backpacker’s Pantry, and how did you accomplish it?
Evan Faber: Backpacker’s Pantry knew it was time for a refresh. As the company matured, so did its fans. With many of the brand’s most loyal consumers well into their 50s and 60s, the company recognized the need to find ways to tap into a new audience—healthy, active millennials—without alienating their existing base.
We focused on making the brand more modern and more shoppable. The on-pack visuals significantly made the brand feel much more contemporary. We also updated the logo, keeping the shape of the badge while modernizing the font and giving it a more outdoorsy feel. To improve shopability, we came up with a design solution that reprioritized flavor and key messaging callouts so consumers could instantly make their selection. We also featured how many servings were in each bag to help reinforce the price point.
You mentioned that the brand’s chief fans were getting into their 50s and that they wanted to attract a younger audience. How did you help accomplish that?
Nate Dyer: To attract a younger audience, we had to do more than sell a product. We had to create an experience. We did this by freshening up the logo, updating the color palette, and creating aspirational landscapes to inspire the imagination of millennials with a taste for the outdoors.
How did you work the brand’s history into the packaging?
Evan Faber: Since the brand’s inception, it has striven to be a steward of the environment. The brand also wanted to foster a love of the outdoors in more people, and we wove that DNA into the designs on-pack. Each scene was selected because it had a particular meaning for the company. We also wanted to highlight the company’s commitment to 1% for the Planet.
If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?
Nate Dyer: Definitely the scenes. Not only did we try to create grand panoramas, but we also put two people in each setting. We wanted people to think – ‘Oh yeah, that’s where I want to go! I want to feel that.
How much Bob Ross were you consuming when you were designing the packaging?
Nate Dyer: I consumed so much Bob Ross as a child that maybe it was just in there. Residual Bob Ross flowing through my veins. I try to paint a happy tree at least once a week.