Our Design, Demystified - An Interview With the Design Genius Behind the YOU DIRTY DOG Packaging

How does Owen & Fred come up with such innovative and fresh packaging while remaining consistent with the brand? We turn to founder Mike Arnot and design genius Paul Demyanovich, designer of the YOU DIRTY DOG packaging, to explain a few tricks of the trade.

When we asked Mike Arnot how the packaging for the YOU DIRTY DOG Premium Grooming Set came about, he said, with a laugh, that he issued the following challenge to designer Paul Demyanovich, “Make us a design that is totally new, but change nothing from the other products”. By this he meant, of course, keep the signature Owen & Fred look but have it take on a new, fresh form. There are a few mainstays in the Owen & Fred packaging designs and they stick around for good reason. We use Kraft packaging because we love the way it contrasts with our signature navy blue, Pantone 296. We use the Gibson typeface because it’s stark and versatile.

We asked Paul what he did to make YOU DIRTY DOG stand out and this is what he had to say,

“I think that allowing the brand's tone of voice to come out as the primary form of communication helped to separate the YOU DIRTY DOG packaging from the rest of the line. As a brand, Owen & Fred is consistently simple and clever, but allowing an almost accusatory and irreverent message to dominate allows this pack to communicate directly with its core consumer while putting a smirk on your face.”

It’s core consumer, of course, being men. With that in mind, what aspects of this packaging make it especially masculine?

“Masculine aspects of the design include the sophisticated color palette and matte finishes, the no nonsense systematic aesthetic, and the direct, blunt and provocative messaging. The idea of an all-in-one shave formula alludes to a man with a bit of order in his hygiene routine, even if the rest of his bathroom is a mess. Also, dudes love dogs, even dirty ones.”

You mentioned the color palette and matte finish, we’d love to know a little more about that. What impact does matte packaging make on the consumer?

“Matte packaging has an ability to make the shopper want to pick up the pack and touch it. Spot varnishes add contrast and support the urge to feel what you're about to buy. First they see, then they touch, probably take a smell, and next they're at the register.”

As for color palette, how did you choose the colors corresponding to each product? What works about them?

“I tried to tie the color accents to the sensation that each step in the process would have as you use the product, while keeping a sophisticated palette. Blue for the hydration and refreshment associated with washing, burnt orange for the application to the skin and the feeling of friction while shaving, and green for the freshness you feel after a great close shave. They work because they compliment the Owen & Fred blue well when used in small doses but also hang well together in the line. Non-primary colors can help indicate interesting ingredients and sensorial affects.”

We already know and love our Gibson font, but would you wax poetic about it for us?

“The right typeface is like wearing the right tie. You can choose some ties that only work with certain outfits and project a certain style, or you can choose one that works with anything in your closet. Gibson is one of those versatile typefaces that can be dressed up or down, and made to feel serious or fun. It's just unique enough to have a point of difference but not too weird to skip the prom. In this case, it stands out because it's set in uppercase and is the main point of attention on the front of the pack, projecting a bit of a sarcastic humor and snark in its application. Simple as that. In other applications, it’s great because of its superior legibility and gorgeous geometry.”

Lastly, what aspects of this project were you able to have some fun with?

“The entire Owen & Fred brand is a fun one. Sometimes it just feels good to design within your own demographic and feel comfortable letting loose. One initial concept involved the idea that the dog was actually a dirty water hot dog with accent colors inspired by mustard, relish, and ketchup. I'm glad we didn't proceed in that direction, but it's always fun to explore. I had fun with the fact that this pack could be both so minimal and also interesting because of the punchy messaging. The exacting designer in me had fun lining up all the elements so that they sat perfectly in line on shelf as a set even though each tube is a different size.”

That’s how three small tubes and a Kraft box can say so much. As Mike said, “..it’s amazing to hold this in your hand, knowing how much effort went into the packaging, and to see the final product.”

We sure are proud of it.