EZ Bar

Branding and packaging the next active nutritional bar.

Project Type: Student Project
Time Period: Spring 2016
Skills: Packaging Design, Branding, Graphic Design, Marketing Design, Case Study / Research, Logo Design, Editorial Design
Software Used: Adobe Illustrator
The purpose of this project is to create sustainable food packaging that streamlines the consumption process of energy bars that allow people to thrive during their day.
Granola bars and energy bars today are merely snacks to eat between meals, but often a hassle to open when we are too busy. This new energy bar brand, EZ Bar, is a result of many different ideas and iterations, as well as biomimicry research that inspired the packaging. 
The entire process concluded in the development of EZ Bar, which values environmental sustainability and user experience while promoting active lifestyles through its brand identity. As always, the EZ Bar reminds people to always take it EZ!

Mission Statement
EZ Bar’s mission is to streamline the eating process of granola bars and energy bars so that athletes and trainers can focus on their activities. We aim to keep  your best interests in mind by providing products that are healthy, energizing, and always a pleasure to eat.

We have found that the current granola bar and energy bar market is dominated by brands that only take into consideration the ingredients of the product, but not as much the ergonomics, usability, convenience factor, or even the durability of the product. In today’s day and age, user experience is being integrated into products as a necessity for design thinking revolves around this concept. The industry needs a brand that will be focused on enhancing the product through smarter packaging with the user in mind, as well as a more thought-out user experience. Only one brand, Cliff Bar, has started to take this into consideration. However, there is still much more room to expand, and that is why we are introducing EZ Bar into the market.
Project Objective
Our project objective is to develop a product that incorporates thoughtful, holistic branding and a packaging solution for this accessible granola and energy bar company, EZ Bar. The designs will embody the brand’s mission to simply enhance the overall experience that the consumer, whether it be a cyclist on the bike or an evening daily jogger, while also providing a product that people will know and love. This will solidify our presence in the market for energy foods. Another objective of ours is to minimize the amount of littering that happens from stray pieces of bar wrappers, and so we incorporated a system into our packaging that keeps the whole wrapper together.
Project Strategy
Once completed, EZ Bar will be a user-comprehensive energy bar brand that utilizes a new style of packaging that the industry has never seen before. In addition, we will create a corporate graphic standards manual that details the branding and marketing of our company, as well as a broader process manual that will enable customers and the public to learn all there is to learn about our company, brand (logo, colors, packaging, etc.) from the very beginning to the very end.
Currently, granola bars and energy bars alike are merely provided in the same packaging - a simple foil that is ripped from the top, either from the middle or the sides. Although this is easily ripped open by the common consumer, we wanted to target the market that we come from - cyclists, athletes, and generally the active market where everyone likes to be constantly moving. In addition to this, we wanted to ensure that our packaging was sustainable, easily recyclable, cheap, while also maintaining properties that would allow for it to preserve the food well and be easily opened. Every sustainable solution that will reduce litter and encourage green principles will help sustainability causes, and EZ Bar is a proud advocate of this.  
EZ Bar’s mission is to streamline the eating process of granola bars and energy bars so that athletes and trainers can focus on their activities. We aim to keep  your best interests in mind by providing products that are healthy, energizing, and always a pleasure to eat.
EZ Bar’s audience will be the active generation. Our introductory flavor, the chocolate chip granola bar, will undoubtedly bring in a younger crowd, but the young and healthy are not our only targets. We seek to bring the entire active population, and this encompasses virtually every adult that likes to stay active and fit. More specifically, we are aiming for cyclists who are looking for a product that is easily opened with one hand during their training sessions, as it is extremely dangerous to multitask on a bike, which requires constant control for a safe and smooth ride. We aim to bring in anyone on the go who may possibly have anything in their hands, whether it be a briefcase, a smartphone, or even a baby so that they do not need to stop their ongoing activities just to eat a small snack. This is our objective - to satisfy the peopel who need a simple snack on the go, and not need to stop their day to do so. 
Case Studies
During my research of biomimicry, I mainly wanted to focus on certain properties from nature that I would attempt to replicate in my actual packaging. Some features that I would look for would include durability, accessibility, texture, form, shape, applied adhesion, and weight. Another aspect that must be taken into consideration for my food packaging would be sustainability, as this is one of of the concerns I feel must be addressed in the industry today.
Case Study 1: The Banana Peel
The banana is an edible fruit from the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking are called “plaintains.” It is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. The plants are normally tall and sturdy, and grow in a wide variety of conditions. The banana itself is considered a “leathery” berry with its outer layer (epidermis) with numerous, long strings that run the whole side. It can be split lengthwise into 3 sections. 
Packaging Ideas
The epidermis of the banana is an opportunity worth exploring. It allows for ease of opening packages. Additionally, the skin of the banana tells us about the maturity of the product through its aspect and color.
Design Problem
The problem with packaging nowadays is that it is difficult to open and often takes too much effort to open. The banana peel solves this problem through its 3-peel system and actually does not require the customer to take the full product out of the packaging. 
Smart packaging has emerged to inform us about the freshness of perishable goods. Some of these packaging items have a label using thermochromic links that control the state of preservation of the product on an accurate basis. The color of the label coincides with the freshness of the product. 
Case Study 2: Mussels
Researchers have finally developed an adhesive that an remain sticky when submerged in water, and that is thanks to the mussel’s foot proteins studied by the UC Santa Barbara team. Despite powerful tidal waves and wind, mussels are able to cling to surfaces because of their byssal gland in the shellfish’s foot, which secrets a combination of proteins called the byssus threads. They can withstand rocky shores, wind and waves.
Packaging Ideas
This sticky surface would be integral in allowing for the customer to seal the package back after use. This would do eliminate messes, lessen the amount of litter, and keep things tidier during and after eating his or her quick meal. 
Design Problem
One of the biggest problems with a lot of packaging and wrappers is that they may not stay apart after the customer breaks it open. Although most packages do stay together, unfinished food do not enable the customer to re-seal the package. Therefore the mussel’s proteins can fix this problem.
Theoretically, lining the edges of a perforated section of the wrapper would enable the customer to simply re-wrap the package, seal it with the adhesive from the mussel protein, and store it for later consumption. 

Logo Identity
This logo is meant to correlate with the name of the product - “EZ Bar” because it is meant to a product that is easily accessible for all. Therefore, I wanted the logo of the product to be simple, intuitive, and easy to decipher. 
Sketches - Ideology
The logo, the most important aspect of the company’s branding, needed to take into consideration the values and mission of the product, while also catering to the target market that we aim to market toward. This essentially means that the logo needed to be easy to understand, involve graphic elements that portray action and movement, and also use colors that evoke energy and liveliness.

Final Logo
The final logotype is set in Futura Bold Oblique with a “z” set in the foreground in front of the “E.” This concept is taken from the art of negative space,which is, quite simply, the space that surrounds an object in an image. In this case, the E is what surrounds the “z” in the image. Just as important as the “z” itself, the negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to the composition.
This logo seeks to draw together concepts of action, wholeness, liveliness, and convenience. The orange color along with the slant of the overall structure in both type and form give it a sense of movement and animation. The use of negative space brings the letters “E” and “Z” together as a play on words as well as a play on form, ultimately presenting a quick solution that is readable and easy to understand. This reflects the concept behind all of our Ez Bars - for them to be easily understood and the idea to be quickly grasped, both physically and ideologically.
Logo Dimensions
These dimensions of the logo’s white space will be in relation to the size of the logo, labeled “x” as the width of the logo and “y” for the height of the logo. To reinforce spacing, I used three x-widths on the left and right sides of the logo itself to ensure equal spacing.

Color & Typography
The color orange is fun, dynamic, and energizing. It tends to elicit strong reactions in people. A close relative of red, orange sparks more thought and action in people. It is bold, vivid and can even be obnoxious. It signifies activity and naturally gathers attention, which is a big reason why sports teams flock towards orange colors for their looks, as it communicates energy, life, motivation and activity. These ultimately represent all of what EZ Bar advocates for. In addition, some of nature’s tangerines, oranges, clementines and nectarines are all associated with Vitamin C, which is a great provider of life and energy.
The typeface Futura offers many different weights, both for display type and for body type. More notably, as a sans-serif font it would be legible in virtually every application. The oblique typeface is especially suitable for EZ Bar as it evokes action and motion, which is a large part of our target objective in our audience. 
Unacceptable Usage
Our logo may not be manipulated in any way. None of the components of our logo, whether it be the word “BAR” or the mark itself, may be rotated, made transparent, moved, or stretched in any way. 
Acceptable Usage
The only acceptable variation of our logo is one that is done in greyscale for professional or legal circumstances. 

Business System
Our business system for EZ Bar accurately represents our branding. The following will provide the strict guidelines, rules and some samples for which our business system, that which includes our cover letter, envelope, and business card, must follow at all times.
Business Card
The business card will be in 3.5 x 2in. horizontal format. On the front, the card will have the logo, while the back will have name, company address, phone, email and website. The design focuses on being clear and legible, but while also incorporating the angles and slants of the logo-mark itself. 
For the envelope, we will be using a #10 envelope with the dimensions of 9.5 x 4.125in. The returning address will be in the top left with the website underneath. The word “BAR” will not be used.
Cover Letter
The letterhead will be printed on 8.5in by 11in cardstock paper. There will be 1-inch margins on both sides, and all text will be justified left. Company information will be listed below the signature.

Development Stages
The packaging for EZ Bars was no easy task. The objective was to create a wrapper for the granola bar that could be opened with one hand, with the accessory of a clamp (consumer’s teeth) to hold the bar in place while the free hand did the rest of the work. Thus, the packaging needed to be a two-step process at max. 
The first order of business was to make models for the granola bars. Since the packaging is entirely form-fitting, it was important to create models that were the same dimensions as the typical granola bars. These were made using cardboard and tape.

Mockup Stage
The mockup stage would prove to be essential to understanding what it takes to create packaging that is durable, useful, convenient and easy to access.
Mockup Wrappers
There were many different ways to go about the packaging prototyping stage for the EZ Bar. It was important to explore all of these paths by creating mockups using paper to test out how practical each idea was, as well as how the material would hold. This would ultimately be the deciding factor as to what the packaging will take form in.
Version A
This first version emulates the popular  Chips-Ahoy packaging where the top has a re-sealable opening that can be opened and closed with ease. Similarly, the consumer can put his/her mouth at the bottom end to clamp it down, and then use the free hand to open the lid, pull back the wrapper and unravel the granola bar for consumption. 
Version B
Version B is similar to Version A in two ways. First, it also aims to utilize a clamping method with the mouth at the bottom end of the bar so that the consumer can use the free hand to open the rest of the packaging. Second, it also keeps the packaging together, minimizing any litter. However, it differs because it uses a perforated cut at the top which lines up with an opening that will open the rest.
Designing the Package
Designing this wrapper took intensive research for the dimensions, as I knew that the top of the wrapper needed enough space for the perforation and rip across so that it can be opened along the side. The biggest constraint was the lack of machinery to make the perforation and incision for the “EZ Rip,” so I did not include it in the initial template. In addition, inclusion of the seal was tricky also because there was no guarantee that the wrapper would fit perfectly or loosely.
Once the dimensions were set in place using the gathered measurements from the model granola bars, I then used these measurements to design the wrapper for each corresponding side. With such limited real estate on the wrapper, I knew that each side had to be used appropriately and convincingly so that nothing was wasted. I took to current granola bar wrapper designs for ideas as well, and this helped to create content that was relevant to the market.
The final design incorporates the branding that was established early on, while also including some additional graphical elements that reinforced the ideas of movement, animation, action, energy and liveliness. I underestimated the amount of space that the Nutrition Label and the ingredients list would take. It was necessary to also include the indications for the EZ Rip, as this is one of the primary features of our EZ Bar wrapper design. 
Creating the Packaging
Since the material needed to be flimsy, form-fitting, yet can have the option to be folded or wrapped, I decided to employ the lightest paper that Copyland had to offer, which was also my #1 printing source. Part of the reason was that the material was a constraint for me since industrial-grade foil wrapper was not available, especially in local print shops. Plan B involved using clear plastic as the main wrapper, and then using a second, paper cover for the design. 
Employing a second paper wrapper on top of the plastic, however, was counter-intuitive against the entire premise of EZ Bar, as it is significantly more difficult to open 2 wrappers with one hand than just one layer.  

Final Product
The final packaging incorporates all of the values that we sought out to incorporate in our final product. It is easy to access, convenient for all, and quick to identify.

Target Audience
Our primary target audience for our marketing consists of active athletes who like to cycle, workout, lift, run, etc. Therefore, we focused on active wear and active merchandising that our market would use in our promotional items.

Design Analysis
The purpose of this project is to create sustainable food packaging that streamlines the consumption process of energy bars that allow people to thrive during their day. Granola bars and energy bars today are merely snacks to eat between meals, but often a hassle to open when we are too busy.
Project Statement
The granola bar has found itself in a particular market nowadays - the active, quick-to-eat, small, healthy snack that everyone can eat on the go. However, these bars can often be a hassle to open when we are on the move. Oftentimes when we are traveling, whether on foot or bike or car, we have our hands holding onto something. This makes it difficult to open a bar, causing us to stop our day, put our things down, and use both hands to open the wrapper.
To expedite the process of consuming these small energy bars, we wanted to revolutionize the way people opened their wrappers by changing the wrapper itself. Instead of the standard seal, we are incorporating a rippable packaging that can not only be opened by one hand, but also keeps together the entirety of the wrapper so that any spare pieces that accidentally come off will not be littered onto the ground. This is one of our answers for sustainability in the waste avenue of today’s world.
The project began with creating a logo to kickstart the branding of the company. This helped to establish the mission statement of the company, and also set the direction in which the company would want to represent itself. The face of the company would represent all of its face values to the public.  Therefore, it was necessary to also resesarch biomimicry, where we would adopt the characteristics of certain species to replicate in our own packaging material. After finishing the branding, the  graphic standards and research, the packaging is then created through several prototypes and critique sessions to solidify our finished product. Once this is all 100% completed, a process book showing all of the designs, iterations, resources, and craft used throughout the entirety of this project will be made.
The redesigned packaging of the granola bar in the EZ Bar utilizes creative perforations that effectively transforms the wrapper itself into a lid in and of itself. Because of this, there is minimal waste. This enhances the recyclability and the sustainability factors of this product, one of our prime objectives. The success of the EZ Bar will be evaluated through surveys from our select target markets, especially the athletes (cyclists, runners, etc.) who have experience eating both our EZ Bars as well as other energy bar brands. We can offer promotional items, such as water bottles and cycling gear, as compensation for their efforts to further our endeavor.

Ending Thoughts
This new energy bar brand, EZ Bar, is a result of many different ideas and iterations, as well as biomimicry research that inspired the packaging. Both of the two biomimicry case studies proved extremely useful for further developing the packaging and steering it in a sustainable direction. However, the seal-ability and the peel of the mussel and banana, respectively, were not enough to create an amazing product. That is why we incorporated the “EZ Rip” on the top of the wrapper that kept the whole packaging together, and also made it significantly easier for people to use just one hand to open the packaging. 
The incorporation of the single peel and the perforation that kept the whole packaging together would ultimately set the EZ Bar apart from other energy bars because it is convenient to open, easy to access and always a pleasure to eat. The entire process concluded in the development of EZ Bar, which values environmental sustainability and user experience while promoting active lifestyles through its brand identity. 
As always, the EZ Bar reminds people to always take it EZ!

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