Tropicana UnReBrand

March 12, 2009

Tropicana Packaging

I know, I’m late to this discussion. The rollback of the Tropicana re-branding sent minor design shock-waves last month, with Pentagram’s Paula Scher even calling it “..the worst thing that happened to graphic design since focus testing.” [via]

Now this just might be naivete, as I’ve never worked on a major corporate re-branding project, but I have to respectfully disagree. I’m absolutely sure that it must be a pain to try and get these big corporate companies to do something new, and a little bit daring. And pulling things back when the initial reaction might be just reactionary does set a bad precedent. I agree.

However, in this case, the quality of the design absolutely is part of the discussion. The rebrand just rather missed the mark. I think the old packaging could use an upgrade, but the redesign missed all emotional connection to the brand. Several people in the Brand New comment thread recounted memories of trying to stick a straw in an orange as a child, just like on their Tropicana carton. That’s a powerful image, and I wonder what the rationale was to scrap it.

The re-brand just seems like a case of designers designing for designers, rather than their audience. It’s an easy out to disparage the audience as the ignorant masses. Including your audience in the design process doesn’t mean you have to dumb down your designs. It means you have to make them smarter.

[photo via design:related]

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