Ideas that Kick
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News, awards, outloud thinking, etc.

News, awards, outloud thinking, etc.

Extending Big Ideas to Small Footprints

Developing an engaging brand with big impact on shelf starts with a solid brand strategy that comes to life with “shelf-kicking” design. As is the case with our Born Free pet food packaging — eye catching packaging that stands-out on shelf and draws the consumer in to learn more of the brand story.  


So, what happens when your big idea package has to get translated to an uber small footprint? 

Born Free has had success with their bagged, kibble dog food, so now they are extending their line to include a new product form — wet food sold in a 5oz can. Super-small compared to our 5 and 15lb bags with metallic colors and story telling that catches the eye. In fact, this new petite 5 oz. package is barely an inch tall. A tight fit to convey the integrity of the brand through visuals and messaging. Plus, two-thirds of the label is occupied by legally requiredcopy, ingredient and nutrition information, and, of course, the UPC code.


Our designers at Kick are adept with this type of challenge. They are used to preserving equities and communicating all key product details when the form and format changes drastically.


Here are some of their tips for designing for small footprint brand extensions:


  1. Leverage brand equities. When sizing-down to different product forms, the package branding should maintain the integrity of the brand through visuals and messaging, yet be translated to suit the new format.

  2. Capture the brand essence. Convey the feeling and emotional connection for consumers to the brand. Even though the footprint is small, consumers still want to create an emotional bond with the product.

  3. Communicate the relationship. Ensure that consumers see the relationship between all product forms and that they recognize they belong to one brand. Especially if the products are complementary and cross-sell can happen.

  4. Maintain shopability. Identify the most important pieces of information on a package that a consumer will look for when shopping and make sure the message hierarchy is similar on extended products.

  5. Billboard effect. When adding product forms to a product line-up, consider how all products will sit together on shelf. Try to make all products/forms work together to further the “billboard effect” and draw people in because of the impact they make.

  6. Be form and structure knowledgeable. You need to be an expert on how different forms of packaging sell (e.g. bag vs. can, pouch vs. box). Utilize assets in a way that performs effectively on various packages with different physical properties. Be thoughtful about how consumers interact with each new format.

  7. Be distribution channel knowledgeable. Will the brand be sold at independent retailers, or mass chains? Online or in-store? Knowing that your package has to work at a thumbnail size online is almost a given anymore, make sure your small format package can win.

Keep it simple. Small formats require simplicity. Use iconography and visuals to give quick cues for consumers at shelf.

“We are excited about our new 95% meat supplemental dog food — because the new product form can position us for growth with retailers. Kick showed us we can maintain our Born Free brand at a small size by creating an impactful look for our new canned products and retailers are excited to carry them.” — Phil Brasie, President of Born Free Pet Food

At Kick, we help brands succeed with our expertise in building and extending brand + design across all forms of packaging — no matter the size. We carefully maintain the beauty and integrity of a brand, while translating into new formats and footprints. Considering a line extension, or exploring a new package form? Give us a call and we will help you stay true to your brand!