Niounola

Branding + Packaging Design

Timeframe

  • December 2015 to June 2016

Team

  • Ann Niou
A side by side of a close up photograph of granola and of the final packaging design.

Role

Design a simple and flexible brand and packaging for an emerging cafe venture. I worked closely with the founder to take her vision from concept to a concrete brand. I was responsible for the brand mark, visual system, competitive analysis, consumer testing, final production and documentation.

About

Niounola is the introductory brand of a cafe concept. Niounola creates its granola in small batches and combines high-protein ingredients with asian teas and other food items to create really, really good granola. The brand name comes from the founder's last name, Niou, and the product granola, to make Niounola, pronounced nu-no-la.

Final Design

Brand Experience

Wholesome, fresh, and nourished

For the final packaging and design, a translucent bag and white sticker were selected. Texture was added through a light checkered pattern, relaying back to the organization and structure seen in the initial moodboard.

This design was customized further for each flavor, showcasing the color associated with each type of granola. Currently, flavors include Matcha, Chai, Black Sesame and Red Bean.

The final design of granola packaging, featuring four flavors: Matcha, Red Bean, Spiced Chai and Black Sesame.

Process

I created a moodboard to explore interpretations of the brand, drawing specifically on nature and produce, and japanese patterns and textiles.

The moodboard that inspired the initial direction. A hodge podge of food illustrations, textures, and textile designs.

Mark

Many directions were explored, from hand drawn script to geometric type faces, to find the right mark for Niounola. Below are two early iterations, exploring more illustrative and organic directions.

A photograph of three initial logo illustrations for the word niounola.

Finding just the right balance proved to be a challenge due to the repetition and roundness of the letterforms. For the final mark, I decided to embrace this through a strong geometric and round form. Below you can see how the initial inspirational design was refined to the final wordmark.

An animation of the final word mark, from initial concept to final polish.

The final design strikes a nice balance between the strong verticals of the n, i and l and the roundness of the a, o and u.

Pattern

Different illustrations and pattern work were done in multiple mediums to contrast with the strong geometry of the logo and align with the spirit of Niounola.

A collage of gouache painting process, specifically different patterns, nuts, grains, and organic shapes.

Through this exploration and some additional field research, it became clear that the pattern needed to relay back to the product. Therefore, illustrations of the ingredients, such as oats, nuts and seeds were made.

A photograph of a sketch book page documenting ideation around ingredient illustration styles. Ingredients included coconut, currants, cranberries, walnuts, almonds, cashews, oats, sesame, and flax seeds.

Packaging

This product needed to have a packaging system that was flexible for both short-term and long- term vending. To allow for this, a sticker and stamp were developed. Below are some early sketches of possible layouts/designs for the packaging.

Early ideation process sketches of possible sticker layouts and dimensions.
Testing

Material and composition were also critical to the final design. Multiple package options and samples were considered. To determine the best packaging, mock ups of stickers were placed on the different packages and a portion of the target audience was surveyed.

ring the different sized packages, textures, compisitions and stickers.

Retrospective

I have always had an interest in packaging design and this was a great way to familiarize myself with the field. While at a small scale, I was able to think about the full process. From baking to packaging assembly, this project allowed me to think deeply about materials, costs, and the greater goals of the brand and client. In the future I hope to work on projects that are holistic like this, and that welcome design into all stages of the process.

A final close up shot of granola packaging, showcasing the illustration, granola, logo and word mark.