Know the Why Behind the What.

Why Behind the What

Have you ever thought to yourself online or out shopping… “hmmm…who knew this shade of dark blue was so soothing?” Or, “A GoPro for my surf sesh! Genius!” Well, if you have, this wasn’t by accident. Those specific colors, photos, and even gnarly wave videos were specifically curated to target their ideal consumer – you.

When designing any piece of collateral for a client, you always need to put yourself in their target market’s shoes. One of our active clients is focused on eco-conscious and recyclable household products, and during our kickoff workshop, we came up with “Allison” as their perfect, target customer. “Allison”, a 34 year old mom, who seems to have a similar lifestyle to the energizer bunny. She works, juggles 2 kids, wants to be earth conscious, is fashionable, and still maintains a healthy social life… YOU GO GIRL! But, when it comes to shopping for household necessities, like toilet tissue, she might forget this mundane task and experience that nightmare we’ve all shared of running out.

Not to worry “Allison” we hear you! We’re also thinking about you every step of the way. Sometimes your life can be hectic, so you deserve a little reprieve. Buying toilet paper is mostly blah, but with you in mind we take specific action to make your experience simple and delightful.

Here i’ll lead you through an abbreviated version of design steps, we as a team, took to achieve this delightful experience.

Step 1: Logo

Designing for “Allison” started with lots of questions. “Are her kids going to come in contact with this?” “What is the current market doing?” “How can we design this so if her friends see it, she won’t be embarrassed having it on the shelf?” “Can she recognize this easily among other brands?” “Is the story important?” “Is the impact on the Earth important?” “Can the design just be rainbows and butterflies?” … Ok, maybe that one went a bit too far, but you get the gist of it.

All questions are important and must be considered. We talked amongst ourselves and decided that having a mascot for “Allison” was the most appropriate route. She has kids, so providing a delightful experience for them can retain brand loyalty. Shelf recognition is extremely important, by having a mascot that’s completely unique and different from everyone else, it creates instant brand recognition, which saves her time. Lastly, we chose calming earth tones, to represent the brand mission of being a 100% recycled product.

Step 2: Packaging

Take a look around your bathroom. Do you see any toilet tissue packages sitting on a self? Are they beside the toilet? Under the cabinet? More than likely, you’ve taken out the tissue and discarded the bright yellow and red packaging, right? It doesn’t fit the decor, I get it.

That’s why we set out to make something truly beautiful, and highly memorable. “Allison” is fashion forward, taking that into account we created a more intentional design with soft/sophisticated aesthetics.

Simplicity is key here. The average consumer spends 14 to 17 seconds in the tissue aisle, so we need to get the message across quickly and into their buggy. Keeping the design uncluttered was top of mind. Having key callouts gets our message across quickly, without having to yell. Subtle yet playful serif fonts were used to heighten the sophistication aspect and to keep the mood light we paired it with a sans serif. With the inclusion of the brand story, we brought in playful icons that represent each step in the production process and how it benefits the Earth. These delightful icons add to the aesthetic itself, but more importantly create a quick overview of what the brand story is. Lastly, for brand consistency, we featured the calming blue color, and accented the icons/text with the green.

Step 3: Web design & development

Who has time for the store nowadays? Not “Allison”! And even if you do go, you always seem to forget something. I digress…

Our world has become oversaturated with web design that isn’t user-friendly. This may mean it’s not mobile responsive, or the navigation is cluttered, the composition feels compact, or the site is completely off-brand. The main goal for the site is to sell, sell, sell, but as a web design agency, we have to be careful not to lose sight of what’s best for “Allison”. What would she want to see? What would her natural progression of steps be? How can we get her to buy and feel proud of her order? But most importantly… How can we keep her coming back?

Overall the site has to be light and airy. Pulling in a light (and I mean light) brown earth tone for the base background, already creates a softer experience than stark white. Keeping a good amount of padding between block items will let “Allison” breathe, so to speak. It’s a more delicate approach opposed to some of the competitors, but is a strategic move and mimics many fashion sites.

The product photography is extremely important because it sets a mood. Low shadows and keeping them bright make for “Lifestyle” photos with a pleasant feel. We like to think we’re making toilet paper sexy. Having good glamor shots again resonates with the sites that ‘Allison” frequents, and will make navigation easier to buy.

If there’s one thing I can leave with you today, it’s that the design process is a process and thinking critically about who you are designing for is crucial. Never take yourself out of “Allison” or whosever shoes when beginning to design. If that means taking 5 minutes before you design everyday to familiarize yourself with “Allison”, then do it. And if there are any “Allison’s” reading this out there, toilet paper is on aisle 14.

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