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Honest & Open // Testing the Effect of Packaging on Food Choice / Perception (EFCP)


Exploring the Concept of Design with Community Partners


The challenge was to create an original brand and packaging design which investigates the effect of front-of-packaging facts on food choice and consumer perception. The logotype design must be unfamiliar to the participants of the Food and Nutrition experiment through the BGSU campus, and must not draw any reference to existing brands or products in the soft drink and protein bar industries. The packaging must use interchangeable elements which will serve as the different "control" variables for the experiment. 

With such a large audience to present towards, the logo and packaging design should remain "neutral" in terms of color and presentation to appeal to the large audience without taking the focus away from the experimental control variables. 


As a group, we defined that a successful logotype will stress the values and ideals of the lab brand to make it easier to further communicate the package messaging with the consumers. We determined that the logotype must maintain the common ground between the "shout" characteristic which will draw the attention of our intended audience of BGSU campus community, and generic-simplicity which will help us to attract the brand and product to the large and broad audience. The style of the logotype was determined to be organic and natural in look, with neutral and symbolic color schemes as these are the values that our intended audience of young shoppers have been notably attentive towards. 

In order to create the packaging design according to the experimental standards, we determined a secondary and "flavor packaging" color palette for the soda, vitamin water, and protein bars in order to keep the products separate, while still being linked back to the original brand messaging. 


This led our design team to seek a brand name that represents being honest, open, and transparent to make the value understood immediately. That said, our group has decided to name the brand, Hāo (*Pronunciation: Hay-O). The inspired word "hao" is a Chinese word that means "it is good" while also working as an acronym for "honest and open". Our branding name Hāo is ultimately vague and generic enough in terms of not stating any sort of bias for the product's nutritional value itself, so it will not play a role in the emotional decision process for the subject's decision on the value of the messaging. 

The solution for the packaging design was determined to use symbolic color references that will be used in different scenarios for each product. The logo on the products was made smaller, or more neutral in color across all packaging in order to make the identity statements the most relevant text on the packaging. The bottle shapes and material was determined based off of existing brands such as Coco-Cola and Vitamin Water to draw a recognition connection for testers to understand what the drinks are similar to. This drew an immediate recognition to a soda or vitamin water reference without necessarily saying either on the packaging. By making this connection, the packaging helps to make the Hāo brand and products more realistic and trustworthy to testers. 

The final portion of the project was a brand manual, designed to be sustainable in nature with a QR code on the cover which leads to the downloadable version of the manual. This prevents the need for multiple versions of printed manuals for each employee. Additionally, the manual discusses the value behind the brand, the restrictions and necessary information on how to use the logotype, and color schemes. The final manual included everything from logotype information, to color, grid systems, stationary, and touch-points for the brand. 

Overall, the success of the project was shown through the experimentations within the BGSU Food Lab, as our original Hāo brand remains realistic and attractive in both value and the nature of the experiment. 

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