Burt Ward’s Gentle Giants Dog Food Packaging Is a Case Study In Successful ‘Anti-Design’

What makes for a great design?

Asking such a query in the beginning of a narrative may appear odd. After all, we see a great deal of branding and packaging design tasks every day—we curate the perfect examples and convey them to you, so it stands to cause that we’ve an concept of what constitutes “good” design. But from time to time, a venture comes throughout our desk that defies conference and usually accepted design rules, making one marvel if the reply to the query of what good design is extra advanced than we assume.

Gentle Giants pet meals is such a case. It’s primo, “graphic design is my passion,” in its branding and packaging. Gentle Giant’s over-the-top maximalism may make a few of your eyes twitch in confusion over the multitude of typefaces, beginner pictures, blocks of texts, and contrasting patterns and backgrounds. 

Still, oddly, it really works.

The execution makes extra sense if one seems past Gentle Giants’ graphic design decisions. Gentle Giants’ beginnings, claims, and mission is probably simply as distinctive as its packaging, and it’s clear there is no such thing as a different pet meals on the shelf that appears prefer it.

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Hollywood actor Burt Ward is finest identified for his position as Robin within the 1966 live-action Batman tv sequence starring the late Adam West. After preserving the fictional streets of Gotham protected from the likes of the Joker and the Riddler, Ward continued to work within the leisure trade and shortly discovered himself pursuing an extra ardour—beginning a big canine rescue non-profit.

Ward and his spouse, Tracy Posner Ward, began the Gentle Giants rescue in 1994. Since then, in keeping with Gentle Giants, they’ve rescued over 15,500 canine and lengthened their lives two to a few instances that of comparable furballs via their dietary routine. Packaging for Gentle Giants options testimonials and footage of canines of their twenties.

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As in human years. The model makes use of the massive canvas of dry pet food packaging to cram as many testimonials and opinions as attainable onto the bag. Additionally, the US-made meals accommodates a decrease stage of crude fats than different manufacturers of meals, and Gentle Giants is GMO, byproduct, and Chinese-sourced substances free. 

Ward’s iconic tenure because the Caped Crusader’s on-screen sidekick and protege additionally options prominently on Gentle Giant’s packaging. An image of Burt’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star is included on the packaging, seemingly positioned wherever there was room for it.

Most pet meals packaging will slap a photogenic pup or kitty on the bag. Usually, it’s a pleasant headshot of the animal, virtually like a LinkedIn profile pic, however for pets. Gentle Giant’s furry fashions are cute, and any animal lover would flip right into a puddle of “awws” and like to pet each single certainly one of them. But there are additionally a lot of them. One image on the packaging is of the Wards laying of their mattress, actually surrounded by a room of canine. It’s one other occasion of Gentle Giant’s visible identification going full-tilt boogie in presentation.

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To be clear, nothing about Gentle Giant’s branding appears ironic. Burt Ward’s ardour for enhancing and lengthening the lives of our furballs is abundantly evident. Gentle Giants consists of all these constructive testimonials as a not-so-subtle means of claiming, “this can be a good pet food, and if we may add extra opinions to the bag from pet homeowners, we’d.” Old footage of Burt in his Robin costume clearly communicates the superstar endorsement. Gentle Giants make gargantuan claims of including years to a canine’s life via a visible strategy simply as bombastic.

You may have a look at a bag of Gentle Giants within the retailer and scoff on the notion of shopping for pet food packaged in such “ugly” packaging, however the counter-conventional branding seems to be working for Ward and his pet meals firm. Gentle Giants has been featured on nationwide discuss reveals like Ellen and will get stocked at main retailers like Walmart, Target, Petco, Tractor Supply Co., and Chewy. For most manufacturers, having that form of retail footprint would undoubtedly be thought of a case for profitable design and a robust argument for calling it “good design.”

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Such an “anti-design” strategy isn’t acceptable for each model, however Gentle Giants makes it work. Good design, partially, communicates the model’s strengths and distinctive high quality in a relatable means. A slick, scientific presentation is likely to be extra engaging to some, however it isn’t in step with the model story, its founders’ character, or its mission. Gentle Giants efficiently takes an strategy much like Dr. Bronner’s or Gen Z Water in forging its personal model path. 

In that vein, you may most likely even say that Gentle Giants’ packaging is “good” design.



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