Design Army Brings Biophile and Fermented Skincare To Life

by Bill McCool on 04/10/2020 | 4 Minute Read

It’s rare to find a skincare product—or any beauty product for that matter—that celebrates the science and ingenuity that goes into formulating their potions, particularly if you can do it in such an elegant, minimal way. 

Biophile is one such brand, and they recently called upon the award-winning Washington DC-based Design Army to help bring their packaging to life.

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Fermented skincare lines and the probiotics bottled within are said to be beneficial for skincare, and in the past year, several products have appeared on the shelves. All of the good bacteria found within these products like Biophile help balance microbiota, reinforce the skin's barrier integrity, promote skin immunity, and reduce wrinkles, in addition to making sure your outer layers are smoother, healthier, and a heck of a lot more radiant.

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Fermentation is nothing new. People have used this technique for thousands of years, particularly when it comes to food and drink — think kimchi, hot sauce, and kombucha—but instead of pairing it with fried chicken or working on your gut health, you’re applying the elixir to your skin. With fermentation, you potentially create a more potent beauty product, one more easily absorbed into the skin. 

But that’s also a story that can be difficult to translate for a consumer when it comes to branding, and they needed to talk about how the upstart company is innovating in the realm of skincare.

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Editorial photograph

“We started off the project looking at broader consumer research, trends in the beauty and skincare industry, and potential audiences,” says Design Army’s co-founder and chief creative office Pum Lefebure. “While there were not any direct competitors, they still gave insight to marketing messaging, brand design, and the general look and feel we might pursue. Our exploration eventually led us to develop several territories that speak to Biophile’s unique proposition and positioning, and we ended up focusing on fermentation. All Biophile products feature ingredients made with biology—through bacteria, yeast, algae, fungi—and use bioprocessing through fermentation to activate them.”

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Using fermentation as their jumping off point, Design Army wanted to focus on the super-sciencey stuff behind Biophile’s offerings, because the product within was something transformative when it comes to skincare. The white outer packaging features simple, clean type, as well as a modern backdrop for the serums within, and if you think it feels like something painstakingly cooked up in the laboratory, you wouldn’t be wrong.

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Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

“As we dug deeper into the fermentation process, we immediately honed in on physical and visual cues from the lab,” Pum says. “The labels hold a cutout that is used as a window into the product and also references the petri dish where the source strands are created. From there, we experimented, literally, with a wide array of gradient colors that drift around one side of the cutout to speak directly to fermentation. The color shifts and speaks to the process of creation — the making of the toner, serum, and oils. The result was so organic and beautiful that we decided to keep all typography discreet — to bring attention to the products – and slightly reference the labeling you might find in the lab.”

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As sustainability was essential to the brand, Design Army bottled the products in glass, and in a nod to transparency (similar to their work for beverage brand JRINK), they wanted to show consumers the natural process within, something they weaved throughout the brand’s positioning.

“The brand and package design had to obviously to match their mission, yet feel elevated,” Pum says. “That meant no foils or laminate coatings you may normally find on high-end cosmetic packaging. And to further the sustainability mission, we opted to print the entire package system using recycled papers and stocks with all printing done on a digital press versus offset. This also allows them to order in smaller batches, as needed, and helps reduce overall make-ready paper waste.”

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Probiotics are no longer just the stuff of belly health or adventurous foodies, and you’ll likely find more products similar to Biophile in the coming months. What you’re not going to find, however, is another product that looks as luminous as this one.

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