The idea is simple: bring in a chocolate bar – any chocolate bar – and toss the wrapper. At the end of the semester, rewrap the bar in new packaging, featuring a label of your design.
This is a project that students face in Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Adam Daily’s digital prepress production class. For a product such as your average chocolate bar, what is found on the outside makes all the difference.
“We all enjoy chocolate. We all enjoy a treat,” says Daily. “But the contents of chocolate bars are essentially the same. The question is ‘how do we differentiate?’”
Before a brand becomes recognizable, much less iconic, designers must perfect labelling that makes a product stand out in the marketplace before being opened, much less consumed. Color scheme, typography, and texture are all factors students consider in package design. The work requires research on customer relatability; one product may lend itself to playful branding, while another to a more sophisticated look.
A Unique Advantage
SUNY Cobleskill graphic design students, according to Daily, have an advantage in food branding. It involves their proximity to where many of the products they are asked to market are found: here on campus.
“One of the things we think about is how we connect concepts of agriculture and food production with branding and packaging design,” says Daily. Innovative packaging alone may elevate one brand over another. “The College has its own dairy herd and ice cream production facility, and graphic design students completed a project in ice cream branding and packaging for that specific facility,” adds Daily. Campus-produced ice cream, made from campus-produced milk, is becoming available in SUNY Cobleskill dining halls. It will soon be for sale in the Carriage House Café and General Store.