Happy Batch Branding from Scratch
The cookie aisle at the grocery store is a pretty fun place to be.
(I don’t get out much lately.)
If you, like me, find yourself wandering the cookie aisle, you’re probably aware that there is no shortage of options on the market. There are bite-sized cookies for snack time and protein-packed cookies for lunch. There are familiar flavors and never-before-seen combinations. There are bags and boxes and tins in bright colors with attention-grabbing graphics.
But I rarely leave the aisle with anything. I’ve found the cookies inside those bright boxes rarely live up to their packaging design.
Lesley and Jason Barbour felt the same way.
Better than the box.
With a family that follows a gluten-free diet, Lesley and Jason’s cookie options were already slim–and the treats they tried were grainy, gritty and sometimes just plain gross. So they decided to make their own.
Luckily, they already had the right resources in place. The Barbours own Metabolic Meals, a prepared meal subscription service with maybe one of the coolest offices we’ve ever visited (It’s in a cave! The cool atmosphere is perfect for food storage.) Since Metabolic Meals already delivers healthy foods to a huge network of customers, they had everything they needed–the kitchens, the tools and the clean ingredients–to get to work right away.
The science of baking.
For months, Lesley experimented with alternative flours and combined clean ingredients to find the right blend. After lots of trial, error and taste testing, she mastered the mix and baked the perfect, gluten-free cookie. It was soft, chewy and delicious. They started offering the treats to their Metabolic Meals customers and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive.
The Barbours decided their cookies needed their own platform–and their own brand. That’s where we came in.
The art of naming.
One of the most important elements of a brand is a name. And these cookies, while delicious, didn’t have one.
Sometimes what seems like the simplest part of the brand takes the most time. Our naming program at Atomicdust involves everything from historical and competitor research to pun showdowns.
Pictured, Atomicdust team members sample a delivery of Happy Batch Cookies in our office (before the pandemic led us to work from home). It was a race to try the cookies—please excuse the blurry photos.
We spent many a brainstorm thinking about (and sampling) cookies. We explored lists of names that highlighted the clean ingredients, the lack of gluten, the joy cookies bring and even the subterranean kitchens the Metabolic Meals cookies are baked in.
The thing about cookies is, there are a lot of them. They’re sold online, in stores and at bakeries all over the world. That means, there are a lot of great cookie names that are already out there. So after every brainstorm, we hit Google and watched our long lists shrink because we found that our brilliant ideas had also been the brilliant ideas of someone else.
What can sometimes be a discouraging part of the naming process, often opens the doors to new thinking and ideas. It really inspires more creativity and outside-the-box thinking. When so many names are taken, it really puts the focus on what makes these cookies different–and better–than anything else out there?
We continued to edit and add and vet and edit some more until we had a solid list of original names.
Then we started to envision the personalities behind each option. We crafted short copy and built mood boards to make it easier for the team at Metabolic Meals to visualize the future of their cookie brand.
Ultimately, they picked the smile-sparking name that felt as good as the first bite: Happy Batch.
Building the Happy Batch brand.
With a name set, we started to develop the building blocks of the brand. A bright, cheery color palette help to reinforce that happy feeling, while flavor names convey a fun, friendly brand voice.
Happy Batch would be sold directly to consumers online–so we were free to have some fun with the packaging design. We wanted something that would grab attention on social media feeds, look great in the pantry and hold several cookies. We looked at all kinds of boxes and bags until we found the perfect, tubular cookie container. The size was just right for a stack of Happy Batch cookies, the lid was great for resealing and the shape felt new and exciting for the space.
We put together cookie packaging designs and website mockups. We wrote microwave instructions for recreating that fresh-baked experience and marketing postcards and landing pages. We had all the basic ingredients for the brand–and then we waited.
Starting a new business–especially a food one–doesn’t happen overnight. We gave Happy Batch vision and direction, and they began putting the pieces together: trademarking names, formulating new flavors and managing the logistics of making more cookies than ever before, all while managing their existing, growing meal subscription service.
Almost a year to the date after we presented final creative, we got the call.
Good news and bad news.
The good news? Happy Batch would be coming soon! The bad? The cookie canisters weren’t going to work. With more flavor variations, it made more sense to pack the cookies individually than in multi-packs. They’d chosen clear wrappers to showcase the actual cookie inside.
The original containers we designed had solid, bright backgrounds and big white logos. Making the switch to a clear package presented a few challenges–we needed to leave enough clear space to see the cookie, while also showing the brand’s personality through printed graphics.
Plus, the list of flavors had grown, meaning the Happy Batch team required more variations.
Cookie packaging design: I can see clearly now.
To accommodate the new flavors and allow for more to be added in the future, we used the brand’s bright color palette to differentiate between cookie types without compromising legibility.
As much as we loved the original cookie packaging design concepts, the new wrappers felt like the right move. They make ordering easier, because customers can mix and match delicious flavors rather than having to choose only one–and though they required some pivoting, seeing the actual cookie behind the wrapper highlights that chewy, soft and delicious treat inside it. That’s something that many cookie brands have a hard time conveying.
And I would know, I spend a lot of time in the cookie aisle.
Happy Batch cookies will soon begin making their way to homes across the country–spreading joy to gluten-free fans that have had to settle for the gritty, crumbly options for too long. With seasonal specials and new flavors in the works, this bright brand will deliver a whole lot of happy to a whole lot of people.