17 April 2014

[design] Rose Valley Butter's New Package Design

3062.
There's lot of good local to be bought in the stores of Oregon. A lot of it is provided by producer-based coöperatives; Darigold is one, and Tillamook's cheeses is another. There's one that I find many people haven't heard of perhaps: it's the Farmers' Cooperative Creamery, based in McMinnville, Wine Country's capital city.

Their brand, which one can find in the dairy case as WinCo, is Rose Valley Butter. Here is how it, until recently, was packaged:


… and, as of about 2 weeks ago, here's how we started seeing it:


Quite a change. Let's give it a little look-see…

Old package, left: New Package, right.
The original illustration is the real star of the old package. The color yellow is perhaps expected but really makes it a cheerful, sunshiny thing. The choice of illustration does play a little havoc with the choices the typographer had to make and therefore affects the hierarchy a bit: you see the word BUTTER big and proud but the brand name, ROSE VALLEY, kind of takes a supporting role. Not ideal, but understandable.

I love that illustration, seriously. It's charming and a little corny, but well-executed for all that. It fits the image of a country creamery. The arranging of the letters inside the scroll ORIGINAL almost give it a hand-layed-out feeling.

On the back panel of the package you'd find this charming bit of history:


This brand is the most Oregon thing you'll look at today, seriously. Hits all the positive notes, family, local, purity … it doesn't say sustainable, but it doesn't have to. Passionate? You bet. The Wife™'s world would be complete if only they marketed an unsalted version.

Please do this, FCC. Make my The Wife™a happy woman. She'd buy that stuff so hard, man.

The new package is rather subdued, though. Here's a close up look.


The new design is a more dialled-back, quiet presentation. The sunny yellow is gone, replaced with a rustic buff tone; the charming farmscape banished in favor of a simple illustration of a generic rose; the omission of rBGH (as well as a note which I understand is Federally mandated about boasting about omitting rBGH) are both much more prominent. All four panels of the box now look like this.

The hierarchical problem is well-solved here, however, the solution of putting the brand name in Chancery script does not satisfy. Each majuscule letter of ROSE VALLEY here is fine as a drop cap or some similar application on their own. With each individual glyph having such a broad-shouldered personality, though, they all want to be the star. The ultimate visual effect is uncomfortable, optically discordant. Not only is a proper kerning between the initial V and the A in VALLEY impossible, the swash on the top of the A suggests that it's foolish to try (and an apt demonstration as to why headline type in this style is pretty much a bad idea).

The big improvement is the FCC logo there. I enjoy it. It's a cool, simple logo, type with a graphic fillip, that is a bit rustic and proud of it. Letting the logo flag fly is definitely a positive development.

I'm reluctant to bag on a brand I genuinely like. But I've come to the definite conclusion that the new-look Rose Valley Butter package is kind of a step back. If the brand needed to be refreshed (and I'd debate that), I think they should have tried a few more ideas.

But we're not going to quit you over this, FCC. Far from it. You have fans in this household.

But get on that unsalted butter, okay. We're so there for that. 

5 comments:

altf4ljdrama said...

Perhaps sales were somehow falling. From their website: "For many years the Original butter was known by the single red rose on its bright yellow package."
http://www.rose-valley.org/our-products/original/

It also appears that RBST free was a 'separate' product at some point, including unsalted butter.

Samuel Klein said...

Thanks for that link! It very much appears that I may have misunderstood the direction of the packaging … that buff-colored box with the single red rose may be an old package, not a new one!

That was a very useful URL … thank you for posting this. More research is clearly in order.

Samuel Klein said...

Thanks for that link! It very much appears that I may have misunderstood the direction of the packaging … that buff-colored box with the single red rose may be an old package, not a new one!

That was a very useful URL … thank you for posting this. More research is clearly in order.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the box looks like, the product within hasn't changed. Except seasonally - I love Rose Valley because you can taste the difference between spring, summer, autumn and winter butter. It's subtle, but there, and reminds me this stuff is totally real.

- The Wife™

Samuel Klein said...

That's what they call terrior, what I constantly babble on about, gubs. Every unique thing about terrain, soil, even weather during the production of a thing contributes subtle notes to its taste and flavor. It's like that guy who grew his hops in his yard and one of our microbreweries had to get a box of his backyard dirt just to grow them just the right way.