Longhaul Endurance is an up and coming brand, which aims to provide athletes with high quality performance food. Co-owners Staale and Amelia both saw a gap in the market – most foods manufactured for the athlete on the go, did not come in savoury flavours, and often were full of highly processed chemicals. Being athletes themselves, they wanted to provide a natural alternative which provided a great quality energy source on the go. I was allocated this project in a team of 4 fellow students, consisting of myself, Alex Ganczarski, Liselot van Veen and Louisa Ellis.
Understanding our project better
We began this project by organising to talk to our client, so we could get a better understanding of their aims for their business, what kind of message they’d want to put across, and why exactly they wanted to rebrand. From here, we were able to restate the brief. The client from the beginning was keen to reinforce the idea that their product was unique, and that it was important that the branding expressed their aims to create all natural food, without the crash of sugary alternatives. Another important thing to ascertain from our initial meeting was the proposed audience for this product. The client mentioned that they target those between the ages of 35 and 55 – predominantly those who participate in endurance sports, hikers, or those who enjoyed the outdoors. This meant for us, we needed to create something reasonably clean and professional, that might appeal to that audience. The client also indicated in the meeting that they believed that their current tagline: ‘Prolonged energy release food’ did not represent them as effectively as they would like, and they really wanted to reinforce the ‘natural’ side of their brand.
In our research, we focused on competitor brands with a similar focus to that of Longhaul Endurance. One particular brand that our client identified that they admired the visual style of was ‘Tribe’ pictured below. As pictured, ‘Tribe’ employs vibrant colours and textures in a ‘landscape style’ particularly in portrayal of outdoor adventure and hiking. Other brands that could be comparable such as ‘G Endurance’ and ‘SiS’ give more of a clean, clinical sense, potentially more aimed towards gym users, and those who focus on building muscle. From the research, we determined that it would be useful to echo some of these themes in our design process. However, one issue we faced straight away with this idea is that Longhaul focuses on a variety of endurance athletes, rather than a particular focus on one discipline.
We also had a look at the existing materials already available for Longhaul, and discussed these with the client. They emphasised that they already felt their logo was representative of their brand, and felt professional. They also explained that their budget is quite small, and making drastic changes to their logo would increase their printing costs tenfold. We did try some initial colour changes, and how we could try to minimise the costs of printing – however after further discussion with the client and their printer, we came to the conclusion that we should leave the logo as is, and focus on the visual design of the pouch.
We began the design process by individually brainstorming and sketching out our initial ideas for the front of the pouch. From here, we pooled our ideas and met to discuss which ideas we believed had legs. One particular idea I had was using ‘leading eye’ to draw the eye to the pouch in form of a running track.
From our initial sketches, the next stage of progression involved development digitally. By this stage, our client had provided us with all the EPS files and copy necessary to start working effectively with their existing brand.
Again, after developing them digitally, we took the time to assess the designs as a group – this helped us to compare and understand which of our designs we felt worked well, as well as which designs we could exclude from the further development process. Below are four different concepts that we narrowed down our concepts to. In retrospect, as a group we agree that we did produce too many concepts at this stage – basing our decisions on having one concept per person, rather than choosing just a couple concepts that we felt were strong enough to progress.
Our client kindly offered to send us some samples of their pouches – we had a copy of the dimensions of the pouch, but we found it hard to visualise how the design would fit on the pouch, and any potential things we needed to be careful of when designing the pouch. From meetings with each other, as well as our client and supervisor, we were able to work out a couple of layouts we felt worked well to balance the hierarchy of information effectively. We found fairly early on that a space that worked well as a container for information was the same triangular shape as in the logo. From attempting to arrange the information within the triangle, we decided to extend this approach to the outside world. We felt that mountains naturally mirrored the shape we were looking for, and therefore began to focus our strategy on how we could represent mountains in our designs.
Our experimentation of using the triangular shape as a container for information
From here, we wanted to continue this exploration into mountains, as we felt the simple triangle wasn’t enough to show the rugged, textural nature of a mountain. Below, we have further examples of how we incorporated further illustration into our design to create this depth of detail.
Finally, after much exploration, we decided that a polyart style of illustration provided a great balance of rigidity, depth and fun to really emphasise the nature of the brand, and the colours we chose we believe really reflect the savoury, nutritious product within the pouches. We presented our client with this as a proposed outcome, and they seemed to be very impressed.
Our client said: ‘The use of a mountain is very well aligned with the brand image we want to portray. The design works well as a concept that we can apply to new product ranges. It is both clean and eye catching.’
Continuing our design to the back of the pouch
Unfortunately, this project was stalled for a couple of months due to the effects of Covid-19 on their business. The image below compares the existing packaging with the final iteration of our proposed design.
Concluding adjustments and design sign-off
The final part of the design process finally took place when we were able to regain contact with the client. From here, they gave us some helpful feedback to make the adjustments to the designs that they wanted to their design, and we refined our work down to print ready documents using the artworking techniques. Prior to requesting signoff with our supervisor Rob Banham, we had a conversation with him regarding any further considerations he felt we should make – particularly in regard to the print production of our work. From here, we did attempt to contact gualapack (the printing agency that Longhaul used for their work). They were somewhat helpful – however there were some issues with a language barrier to bypass!
Finally, our designs were signed off by our supervisor Rob, and the design was effectively ready to send to the client. Despite our best efforts to retrieve all the copy for the project, the client was not ready to provide us the ingredients for their two new flavours. Therefore, in another conversation with the client we decided it was worth us simply packaging our indesign files, along with information and a short guide as to how future designers should attempt to adjust the work – in the file transfer to the client was all the information, images and copy we had used, and the documents were ready for final production. This means the final details, alongside additional flavours can be added providing a further scope to our client.
Although the final deadline well surpassed our original deadline, I’m relieved that we were able to complete the project and create the client a design that they felt represented them, and were proud of. I feel as if our team worked fairly effectively together, and all contributed a sufficient amount to our progress. I would say I’m overall happy with these designs – however there’s a chance we were too broad with our approach too late on in the project – we may have benefitted by having more time to refine our final ideas, particularly for the back of the pouch.
Final feedback from our client
‘It’s been a pleasure working with you all and I’m very impressed and pleased with the final result. So thank you for all your efforts, and for your patience during these lasts few months.’ – Staale Brinchmann, Longhaul
‘We have been extremely impressed with the designs that you have all put forward. We both wish you all the best for the future.’ – Amelia Watts, Longhaul