Key Steps in Illustration: Packaging

This exercise asks to create three packaging illustrations for newly launched Organic Cookies (“Raisin”, “Ginger”, and “Choc Chip”). The Cookie Company wants to include extinct animals on the packaging that should interact with the cookies in a playful way. The cookies are mainly aimed at children, but should, of course, also convince their parents to buy them.

I find this a challenging brief, both because it’s illustration work for children, and also because it is packaging, which involves the graphic designs aspect a lot more. As an illustrator you should also have the other “marketing” materials in mind when creating the illustrations. So when I start this project, I also have other areas where the illustrations could potentially be used in mind, for instance: print and online ads, single, and box packaging, in-shop advertising, etc.

Some general inspiration how illustrations and graphic design is used for snacks packaging and adverts.

I also collected some further examples, focusing on “organic” products.

Packaging – Inspiration

I started with some brainstroming and sketching of extinct animals.

I then looked some options how the animals could interact with the cookies playfully on the packaging.

I created some line and limited colour visuals to imagine the packagin of a cookie box.

Packaging – Line Visuals

I continued to work on the style, and decided I want to have a very reduced layout that speaks to the kids with the main character and bright colours. I want the cookie boxes to look high-quality (which they should since the cookies are organic).

Lastly, I also tried out some options for lettering on the packing.

I decided to work on gouache paintings because I felt the texture would best fit my needs. I did not want to work fully digitally, but wanted to give the packaging a “homemade” touch. Here are a few different stages from the painting process:

To finalise the layouts I worked digitally, so I created some cut-outs of the animals and the lettering. I also created a basic logo for the Cookie Company. I aimed at having it look “traditional”, “trustworthy” and “high-quality” by chosing a font with serifs.

I then played around with the rectangular box layout I had planned in thumbnails.

Here are the final layouts:

kat-illustrates-packaging-cookie-box (3)
Final packaging layout – Choc Chip
kat-illustrates-packaging-cookie-box (2)
Final packaging layout – Raisin

kat-illustrates-packaging-cookie-box (1)

Key Learnings: 

  • I find packaing very difficult without knowing what the product is, what shape the packaing comes in, etc.
  • I decided to create one look for all that is simple, yet -speaks to the children through fun illustrations and the bright colours.
  • I also made used of a “Kids” font, to make it more playful.
  • I only designed the front of the packaing and did not consider the back of the packaing, to be frank. The back would then include the ingredients, health advice, etc.  I assume in real life, the client would first approve the overall look and feel which would then be extended to the rest of the packaging. Also the client would provide all details for the packaging.
  • Illustrating for children is quite a challenge, even more so in this case because you also have to have the parents in mind who would buy the cookies because they consider them somewhat healthier than regular cookies.
  • Looking back at this exercise, I feel like I have completed the brief and created three designs for a cookie box front. I could have created a full layout for the box cover to make it even more complete.
  • I believe my designs are simple, yet will appeal to children because of the bright colours and playful design. It will also speak to their parents because of the “organic” brown-tones in the overall design, and the traditional font used for the cookie logo.

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