We’re excited to exclaim that our  Vancouver branding and package design agency, Straydog has received recognition from Design Edge Magazine, for our W!LD Ocean Fish package design.

Fishing for the right fit

ZACHARY Semeniuk had to do a bit of fishing around before finding the right marketing and design team for his new line of products.

The Brief

A marine biologist turned entrepreneur, Semeniuk’s Vancouver-based line of wild Ocean Wise frozen fish needed the right branding and package design to convey his personal passion for fish freshness, ocean sustainability and fair trade.

The Challenge:

“We had gone through a few different agencies and hadn’t been pleased with the results. We went to Straydog in the end,” Semeniuk says. “Other designers were having a difficult time grasping the concept. We wanted the feeling that this fish is very special. It’s wild caught fish. It’s a premium product. We wanted the consumer to have a feeling of quality and affordable luxury while maintaining an organic feel.”

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The Process:

Vancouver’s Straydog helped name Semeniuk’s W!LD Ocean Fish company and handled everything from its branding to web design. the design team looked at the values and qualities Semeniuk wanted to communicate with W!LD‘s packaging and chose imagery invoking a typical marketplace fish vendor. “People tend to think about buying fresh fish rolled

up in a newspaper, so we kind of played off of that a little bit,” says creative director at Straydog, Rachelle Hynes.

Set in 10 pt Times New Roman Regular, the text background for each unit of W!LD Ocean Fish resembles the newsprint used to wrap fish at a typical west coast fish market. The W!LD logo uses a hand-drawn and scanned in ink-brush font, recalling how fisherman use black markers to scrawl a fish’s type and price across the makeshift wrapping paper. A dot in the d in W!LD completes the logo with the subtle image of a fish.

The background text is Semeniuk’s own words; some from original essays and some culled from opinion pieces he’s written for local papers. “If you take the time to read it, it’s all about advocacy and sustainability,” Hynes says.

The company logo and package information stand out in the foreground with coloured boxes that match the colour of the package’s rear. Each fish type sports a different bright colour. “Each colour is something that would be complimentary to the fish itself,” Hynes says. “For example, for the Coho Salmon we used a nice, rich blue which compliments the orange of the salmon.”

A transparent strip on the back of each package let’s the consumer see a part of the fish contained within. A QR code allows concerned consumers to learn more about the fishermen who caught their fish.

The name of the fish type is set in Din Regular, 27 pt, while facts in the nutrition facts table are Helvetica Nue, 8-13pt. The rest of the package’s text content is Din Regular, Medium or Bold, 10-14 pt.

The design’s many layers proved to be an obstacle at the printing stage, Hynes says. Initial efforts printing on the packages matte finish dulled out Straydog’s bright colour choices and made it difficult to achieve the desired effect of Semeniuk’s background text showing slightly through the coloured boxes.

“With the additional layers…it was printing in a different colour, which would have ment another layer of printing and another colour, which is more costly,” Hynes says. Instead of adding yet more layers, Straydog searched for a printer that could do a matte finish while getting the opacity of the coloured bars just right. After a few failed attempts with incompetent printers, Straydog teamed up with B.C.-based packaging material supplier Taipak Enterprises.

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The Result:

Early response to W!LD Ocean Fish‘s package design and branding has been so strong that Semeniuk is expanding his scope. “The brand is just launching and he’s blown his forecast out of the water, so to speak,” Hynes says.

The brand is just launching and he’s blown his forecast out of the water, so to speak

Semeniuk originally planned to launch locally in Vancouver but, after Canada-wide natural foods distributor UNFI (United Natural Foods) saw mock-ups and learned more about the brand, his product was picked up for wider distribution.. After delaying the West Coast launch to synchronize with the demand in the East, W!LD Ocean Fish became available in various outlets across the country this past december.

Although finding the right tem was a challenging process, Semeniuk says he is more than pleased with the results. “[The Design] has a feel like you’ve actually gone to the market and procured a great piece of fish. And that’s a really wonderful feeling for a lot of people,” he says.

Article by Jef Catapang, Design Edge Magazine.