If there’s anything you need to know about Sean and myself, it’s this: we’re big design nerds. And when we see that a brand has released a new logo or updated packaging, we can’t help but stop in our tracks and stand in awe (or sometimes disgust) in the middle of the supermarket. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing an old, washed up brand undergo an identity refresh
and come out on the other side stronger and more visually appealing. It really is like a breath of fresh air.
A recent trip to Walmart had us pleasantly surprised to find that three popular food brands experienced a major redesign. Muddy Buddies, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, and Take 5 Candy Bars all rolled out fresh new looks on their logos and packaging. We picked apart the major design changes that stood out to us and gave our honest critique on what we thought of the redesign as a whole.
Chex Mix Muddy Buddies
At first glance, the most noticeable difference in the new packaging is that “Muddy Buddies” is displayed as its own brand rather than being overshadowed by the parent company of Chex Mix. This is definitely the best choice here, since before the name of the actual product was a bit lost before. The “quirky” type in the original has been dropped (thank goodness) for a clean sans serif and an inviting brush-like font for Buddies. It has definitely taken a more modern and sophisticated approach and we applaud that. One detail that we really enjoy is that the dot on the “i” in Buddies has been replaced with a Chex piece, just like it is in the “Chex Mix” logo. By doing this, the two products can be easily associated with the other and you will never mistake that either are part of the Chex parent company.
A notable improvement in the new look is the sense of balance that is conveyed in the packaging. Behind the block of white lies a pattern of Chex pieces aligned in neat rows on top of a purple-colored background. This gives the entire package an interesting texture while still displaying the pieces of flavor coated Chex snack. To add to the balancing aspect of the design, all of the type is displayed in a perfectly straight line (whereas the text in the original followed the slant of the baseline in the Chex Mix logo). The flavor is displayed front and center just below the word Buddies giving it the attention is deserves. Perhaps it was the offset angle or the lack of hierarchy in the first design that just made everything feel severely unbalanced and completely random.
Our least favorite part of the new packaging comes down to the small chunk of text in the upper-left corner. Although it does balance out the Oreo/Chex piece image in the bottom-right, it feels a bit as if it was just thrown in without consideration. We LOVE the slab serif font that matches the text of “Cookies & Cream,” but unlike the flavor name, this description of the product does not NEED to be on the front of the packaging. The design before did not incorporate this, so there is no reason why this could have been displayed on the back instead.
Overall, we are thoroughly impressed with Muddy Buddies new look. By cleaning up the “quirky and youthful” elements in the old design, the new bag sticks feels more grown-up and put together. This bag definitely sticks out on the shelves for all the right reasons.
12 years after its original release, Take 5 has finally taken the plunge to update its branding. The original red wrapper has been completely camouflaged amongst every other candy for years. Now, with a black wrapper, bright green typography, and an oversized 5, there’s no mistaking that this candy bar is the delicious (and totally underrated) Take 5 candy bar.
There are many details of the new packaging that we completely love, but the color palette has to be our favorite. The textured black wrapper and lime green typography are a color combination we haven’t seen on a candy wrapper yet. The typography is simpler this time around since the black stroke and tiny serifs on the letters have been dropped. Instead, the uneven type gives the package a “perfectly imperfect” look, and we love it. Overall, with the combination of color and typography, the new wrapper feels a lot edgier and intense than the 2003 original.
Another noteworthy detail of this redesign is the showcase of all 5 ingredients on the front of the wrapper. By deconstructing the Take 5 candy bar, each of the flavor elements are visually represented so that anyone can easily see all of the layers that are found inside. This approach makes the candy bar look more enticing –like actual foods you can recognize– whereas the image on the original just ends up looking like a strange turd that is competing for attention against the name. In the new approach, the ingredients poke out slightly from the edges just enough that they do not overpower the type, but rather work to frame and balance out the Take 5 name. For us, this package redesign is a definitely a home run.
Blue Bunny Ice Cream
If there was an award for “most dramatic rebrand” in this post, Blue Bunny would take the gold. There are so many changes to this brand that you’d think the designers were told to make everything about the new look exactly opposite from the old one. Clearly, the Blue Bunny branding took on the “less is more” approach– but did they take it too far? Yeah, they kinda did.
There were definitely some big changes in this rebrand, however, there are a quite a few elements that don’t sit well with us. Starting with the logo, it’s clear that Blue Bunny chose to pursue a more youthful and friendly look in both the typography and illustration. As many brands have done before, the standard serif logotype has been replaced with a simple sans serif that tiptoes on the edge of being cursive. The surrounding ribbons/bands claiming their “high quality” have been eliminated, leaving just the two words ICE CREAM to support the logo. We applaud that Blue Bunny chose to eliminate the unnecessary elements that didn’t add to the packaging, however, we wish they would have kept the product description so we know what flavor “Bunny Tracks” really is.
By far the most controversial change of this rebrand is the new bunny icon. Once a slim, quick moving rabbit, the Blue Bunny icon is now a plump rabbit that when sitting upright, it forms the two bowls in the letter B. It’s definitely a stretch –with the ears and tail forced onto the letterform– but perhaps the the worst part of it all is that the single letter is used for both words Blue and Bunny. It’s not the worst logo we’ve ever seen by a long stretch, but we just wish they would have thought of something a little more clever instead of taking the easy way out with this.
Finally, the one detail of this packaging that simply can’t be overlooked is the clear plastic container that holds the ice cream. Normally, consumers prefer that food packaging has a clear plastic window so that they are able to see what they are actually buying inside. But here, something feels a bit off and it might be because ice cream looks more delicious once it’s outside of the container. For example, the old packaging shows off a collection of perfectly round scoops of ice cream that draw a particular similarity to the roundness of the jumping bunny icon. On the other hand, the new container for the Bunny Tracks flavor looks like a melted mess with streaks of caramel from the outside. And with the only other visual element on the front of the container being the illustration, the chocolate bunnies just look as if they are drowning in the unrealistic scoop of melting ice cream.
Overall, there were some pretty BIG changes in these package redesigns. All three jumped on board to simplify their look: the logos are flat, the type is modern, and the information on the front is limited. Each of these products are rocking their fresh look, and will definitely attract some more attention on the shelves.
Which was your favorite redesign? For us, the real MVP is Take 5. It’s so badass, and we love it.
Are there any other noteworthy redesigns you’d like us to review? Let us know in the comments!