I’m a doodler by habit and am totally engaged when I see hand drawn packaging design. It looks and feels uncomplicated and spontaneous. And imperfect, much-like a child’s doodle. Brands that use this visual style convey they are comfortable in their own skin, a true distinction of brand authenticity. Thinking back years ago, one of the most compelling hand-drawn package designs that remains relevant today is Newman’s Own salad dressing.
Newman’s Own, founded in 1982 was one of the generations first authentic brands based on Paul Newman’s genuine promise to share homemade family recipes with consumers as if it were a gift. As added human value, the brand was deeply seeded with a philanthropic purpose - giving 100% of the after-tax profits from the sale of its products to Newman’s Own Foundation, a private non-profit foundation.
The Newman’s Own brand was a pioneer of authenticity and it executed that principle from product to package design; the hand drawn design of Paul Newman’s face looked as if it were sketched in a bustling kitchen alongside a bubbling pot of tomato sauce, connecting emotionally with consumers.
It’s interesting that package design today is dipping back into that time before digital influence, with visually authentic designs inspiring a more genuine human relationship between the brand and consumers. Consumers in the US today, largely made up of millennials (79 million strong, outpacing the purchasing power of baby boomers) are demanding sincerity, sustainability and honest conversations with the people behind the brands they buy. As such, many brands have an enormous opportunity to reevaluate who they are and how they want to connect emotionally with a new generation of consumers.
Much like in 1982 with Newman’s Own, handcrafted and hand drawn packaging is the “old” new for some brands. Nothing says “authentic” and “made with love” than homemade. And people connect with things that are made with love.
With a more playful approach, handcrafted imperfect design gives the product a unique character and an authentic story. For new or artisan brands coming on the scene, this helps them with visibility; to differentiate themselves from the mega-brands on the shelf and connect with a new generation of shopper. And for mega brands, like Campbell’s Soup, it too helps them to stand out and attract a young millennial consumer.