Responses by Andy Dutlinger, creative director, LRXD
Background: Honey Smoked Fish Co. is a brand that’s gained vast popularity in its home state of Colorado. Since it was acquired by new ownership, Honey Smoked Fish Co. wanted to expand its brand nationally. The original owner had a bold and quirky personality, so we looked to modernize the look and feel of the brand, without losing that personality. The intended target audiences are current and new consumers who haven’t yet noticed this product in their grocery or club store.
Reasoning: Packaging in the smoked fish department of the grocery store has a consistently dusty feeling. It tends to focus on premium cues like gold foils, whereas this product has always stood out with a large graphic fish and bold, blue and yellow colors. We took what made the brand unique and updated the visual heritage to feel contemporary and enjoyable. We kept hints of the brand’s quirkiness by adding personality to sentiments that tested well with our target market, then laid them out in a fun, stacked way, reminiscent of old fish market signage.
Challenges: Trying to update something with so much history to a new place, without losing the brand’s quirky magic. It took a good number of iterations before we landed where we did—but once it clicked, it clicked.
Favorite details: The fact we were able to keep the fish shape from the original packaging and modernize it. We tried all sorts of newly stylized fish and we could never get the design to feel like it was a renewal of the existing brand. Since the brand has heavy loyalty in Colorado, we felt obligated to pay homage to where this brand has been to not alienate those who already love it. So, we just needed to take what worked and simply update it. It was a great a-ha moment.
Specific demands: These packages are made by putting two rolls of clear plastic together and heat fusing as the fish is being added on a fully automated machine. This was a new machine for the new owners, a new process for the printers to figure out and certainly a new challenge for all of us. It was imperative the art lined up so that there wasn’t any show-through from behind. It took many phone calls with various vendors to land on a solution that would enable the new owners to automate their packaging process while keeping the look.
Anything new: It was interesting to see what new consumers valued most out of a product like this. We used our messaging hierarchy to address those research findings and make sure our consumers were able to see the things that mattered to them—one of which was the fish itself.