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BY John Feldhouse

Lifesavers’ Negative Becomes a Positive


When I was growing up, there was nothing better than getting some candy for being good. Sugar of any sort could silence me for hours. One of my favorite candies was Lifesavers — especially the green and red flavors. As I was walking down the candy aisle the other day, I noticed the entire Lifesavers family got a nice new logo and package update.

The new logo is quite brilliant — reenforcing the lifesaver shape and refreshing the product line. Just about everything works except for the two lines added to try to give the negative “O” some depth. If you look closely, you can see the two extra lines just destroy the overall beauty of it. But besides that, the new packaging is quite lovely. Although it seems that the logo and packaging is in some confusing flux, if you see the Lifesavers home page and check the new Lifesavers fruit tarts, you’ll see there is no two lines — and the original Lifesavers logo remains at the top of the page.

With all the trendy “fill the space” packaging going on today, it’s easy to see why designers are drawn to certain brands (see Method, Publix Brands, & Apple). Negative space and hierarchy are so critical in package design yet rarely promoted in today’s fast-paced world. I have never understood this. I keep thinking about this video and how almost every package feels like this now.

The new packaging really stands out from all the other starburst-filled packaging on the candy aisle and is a bold move for Wrigley’s, the parent company of Lifesavers. Super-sizing the candy visually reinforces the new logo — it is serendipitous. Exaggerating the Lifesaver on the packaging now allows kids to spot the packaging even easier. As I was checking out, I saw a kid say, “Mommy, I want the big candy right there!” — go figure, smart design works!


The candy aisle.

Entry Information

DATE: Jan.13.2008|CAT: Food| 44


Comments Jump to Most Recent Comment

ACoolie’s comment is:

I was hoping they finally answered my fanmail. Giant starburst!

On Jan.13.2008 at 10:06 AM

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andrew miller’s comment is:

Thats funny, I just noticed this last night.

I agree, very well done, but they need to lose the extra lines.

On Jan.13.2008 at 10:21 AM

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Bjorn Yeo’s comment is:

The video was a brilliant reinforcement to the concept of K•I•S•S! :D loved it! And once again, it shows that keeping things simple and to the point helps brands stand out from the information tsunami that we face every single day. Consumers do not want to read 3 paragraphs of explanation in point size 3. They want to buy a candy.

On Jan.13.2008 at 11:24 AM

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Joachim’s comment is:

Brilliant! That's exactly what I would've done: one giant Lifesaver on the package. It totally stands out from the competition and it communicates exactly what it is, so it's a very smart design move.

On Jan.13.2008 at 01:21 PM

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Chris’s comment is:

Giant Lifesavers work great almost as a "bullseye" on the packages. I like the solid colored packs quite a bit more than the vertical striped ones, though.

On Jan.13.2008 at 02:04 PM

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Cesar’s comment is:

What's funny is that the new Lifesavers packages look like a giant, individually-wrapped, singular Lifesaver. Macro-packaging!

On Jan.13.2008 at 02:24 PM

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Samantha Warren’s comment is:

Oh, I love how the typeface in the logo has the rounded edges that echo the shape of the candy! I do wish the 2 lines were left out on the knock-out... but still a vast improvement.

On Jan.13.2008 at 02:26 PM

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Joe M.’s comment is:


On Jan.13.2008 at 04:19 PM

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felix sockwell’s comment is:

Great Looking stuff if you ask me. I've had to work with the old logo before and its nothing special.

Golf claps for Lifesavers and their agency of record.

On Jan.13.2008 at 10:07 PM

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Mark’s comment is:

Finally a food company decides to go from over the top generic to clean and different.

Well done.

crap, now I've somehow got a craving for Life Savers.

Worked on me.

On Jan.13.2008 at 10:28 PM

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Armin’s comment is:

Pretty amazing how well those packages stand out in the aisle, while still maintaining that mass-consumer look that normally makes everything look gaudy.

On Jan.14.2008 at 07:58 AM

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Chad K’s comment is:

Definitely stands out on the shelf, however, the Brach's bag caught my attention. The similarity is that they both actually use a little bit of white in the packages. With every other package being totally color heavy, the Live Savers and Brach's use significantly more white—Brach's being the actual candy and Live Savers being a gigantic enlargement of the candy.

On Jan.14.2008 at 08:16 AM

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carlo’s comment is:

My biggest issue with the lines on the negative "O" is that it makes it look like an extra letter, "LifeOSavers". The Fruit Tarts example demonstrates a better execution, where the knock-out resembles a hyphen if anything. Did they consider a light shadow over the E and S? I wonder what's up with the inconsistency.

On Jan.14.2008 at 10:30 AM

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Jeunesse’s comment is:

I read 'LifeOSavers' too.

Say it with an Irish accent and it sounds quite funny.

On Jan.14.2008 at 10:36 AM

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Jw’s comment is:

I wrote what could be seen as a companion piece to this last July, regarding the Gummie Savers packaging.

I think the new design fails when it is transferred to Gummie form, but I like it on the bags and hard-candy packages.

On Jan.14.2008 at 11:22 AM

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Char Alfonzo’s comment is:

A nice change that should've happened a long long long time ago.

On Jan.14.2008 at 11:54 AM

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Mark’s comment is:

I never understood why they were called Lifesavers. They always nearly killed me by getting stuck in my throat ;)

Nice clean new identity. I really love how the huge lifesaver on the package makes it pop off the shelf.

On Jan.14.2008 at 12:02 PM

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nicelogo.com’s comment is:

Now that they increased the candy's size to 5" in circumference I believe the choking problem will be reduced greatly. I still like the original Logo. BIG improvement on the package! Nothing ground breaking.

On Jan.14.2008 at 12:24 PM

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choppy’s comment is:

Hi, great blog.

Please see the new logo for airberlin.

On Jan.14.2008 at 01:07 PM

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jac’s comment is:

"I never understood why they were called Lifesavers. They always nearly killed me by getting stuck in my throat ;)"

erm...because they look like a life preserver. :P

On Jan.14.2008 at 03:23 PM

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C-Lo’s comment is:

It has plenty of shelf presence I can say that. The logo is still overly simple, but the eye isn't to go there, but to the huge piece of candy. Smart. Good going.

On Jan.14.2008 at 04:48 PM

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KGB’s comment is:

they are called life savers, because kids kept choking on the disc candies. The hole in middle allows air to pass through it if it gets lodged in your throat. I dig the new logo, except when they put the highlight on the lifesaver in the type. It's much better on the tarts packaging.

On Jan.14.2008 at 05:24 PM

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Eric Strohl’s comment is:

This is a really great mark in my opinion; simple and clever.

It really shines on the packaging where the oversize lifesaver dominates. While other brands use the "minimal" styling merely to set the brand apart, I think because the candy is itself so simple, its a more appropriate application.

I don't love the "hard candy" line though, perhaps overkill on the rounded serif.

On Jan.14.2008 at 08:19 PM

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cybele’s comment is:

I noticed the change coming over the summer.

I was never particularly fond of the font for "life-savers" but I find the new one is kind of dead to the eye. The rest of the spare graphics are pleasing and stand out well.

On Jan.14.2008 at 09:33 PM

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DG3’s comment is:

They nailed it. Nicely done.

On Jan.14.2008 at 11:09 PM

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Peter Whitley’s comment is:

Seems a bit of a mixed message to me. While the roman, uniform face reflects the history of the venerable candy, the gigantic product shot seems too contemporary in comparison. On the individual rolls (like the pic that Cybele posted), the patterns and colors really work on an anachronistic level that I personally like.

The logo works fine as far as I'm concerned but I would have preferred a more nostalgic treatment for the packaging. (Cadbury retained it with Black Jack and Adams' take on it with also reminiscent.) Well, what do I know anyway...I don't eat that crap. I only eat manly candy like PayDays and Snickers.

On Jan.15.2008 at 12:51 PM

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stock_illustration’s comment is:

The packaging looks terrific on the shelf. Outstanding.

On Jan.15.2008 at 02:02 PM

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Juggling man’s comment is:

I'll go ahead and agree with Cybele. Though the new word mark is an improvement it looks a tad serious and and grown up. It lacks the elasticity of the previous mark. Perhaps their target reach is older?

On Jan.15.2008 at 11:08 PM

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little fish’s comment is:

it's a relief in this world of depressing and disheartening rebrands to see something that renews my hope in our profession!

On Jan.16.2008 at 07:23 PM

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Dale Doyle’s comment is:

Really nice commentary all around on the re-branding of what I think is an American Icon. I love the passionate feeling around the two lines within the new identity for Life Savers.

Well, as the designer of the new identity, my intention was to simply have the life Saver graphic with the mark be as subtle as possible, but the client wanted to make it look more obvious. So, as we all know, we often bend to the clients needs. I wish we would have won that debate. As you can see by the post from Carlo above, we launched the tarts first and it shows my original intent of the identity. I personally like that one much better.

All-in-all, I couldn't be happier with the end result of the design. it completely breaks through the clutter, as mentioned, and certainly has revitalized that noisy aisle. Quiet is the new loud in the confection aisle!

Cheers to the design team at Landor:
Associate Creative Director: Dale Doyle
Design Director: Joe Stryker
Senior Designer: Gary Kohlman
Desnior Designer: Jim Adorney

John, thanks for covering this one, and well critiqued. It's nice to have a director cut make it to the shelf.

On Jan.16.2008 at 10:42 PM

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Dale Doyle’s comment is:

Ignore my typos, I'm on a silly blackberry.

On Jan.16.2008 at 10:51 PM

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John’s comment is:


Many thanks on the insider scoop on this one. I was looking all around for press releases or top firm's and am glad you are able to credit the deserving. You insight goes a long way in these comments and I am grateful.


On Jan.17.2008 at 11:56 AM

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TheUprock!’s comment is:

I can't remember the last time I read so many positive comments on Brand New. Guffaw.

On Jan.17.2008 at 01:45 PM

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disgruntled designer’s comment is:

about six months ago.

On Jan.17.2008 at 04:38 PM

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disgruntled designer’s comment is:

and not to rain on anyones parade but i don't entirely love this redesign. i'm all for simplicity, and i hate stretched type, but there's something about the new look with the glossy packaging that can't be recycled that really bothers me. that and the fact that the candy is still wrapped individually in little plastic wrappers. somewhat defeats a clean minimalistic approach to an identity.

On Jan.17.2008 at 04:41 PM

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John’s comment is:

disgruntled –

please note the seriousness of your post is put to question when you hide behind a mask. for further reading, please see design observer: here. your points might be valid, but to hide behind an empty email address and fake name doesn't give you much credit.

On Jan.17.2008 at 05:01 PM

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Danny Tanner’s comment is:

John, I disagree. Disgruntled's comment wasn't irresponsible, reckless, or inappropriate and in so, I don't feel warrants your comment. If anything, Disgruntled's comment highlights a legitimate concern, presented in a respectful tone. I know sustainability it's the hot new issue in the design world it was a year or two ago, but the comment is worth consideration.

If folks using silly SNs are making rude, irresponsible, or disrespectful comments, thats one thing. Fake contact info is not nearly as big of an issue- it can be annoying to some-- but some people just don't want to be contacted or hassled. Just because one chooses to comment on a blog shouldn't mean they have to sign up to be contacted by anyone and everyone. Also, different sites have different tones to them, and I would argue that UnderConsideration has a very different tone than say, Design Observer.

However, why should anyone care about folk's SNs if they write respectfully, and further productive discourse? I don't care if like to your call yourself Godzilla as long as you have some relatively interesting thing so say.

Just because there are some jerks out there doesn't mean they should ruin it for everyone. The design community beating this issue to death as of late has so much of a "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality.

There are too many shades of grey to narrow it down to a black and white, and using words like "Hiding behind a mask" implies that others really do have something to hide, intentionally hide, maliciously hide, and in so are doing something wrong. At the end of the day, remarks like this are an attempt to regurgitate one's values upon others, something I do feel is wrong.

But thats just my view...

On Jan.20.2008 at 05:42 PM

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BJ Nemeth’s comment is:

Since the new packaging has come out (summer '07 is when I first saw it), I have purchased quite a few bags of these. I had never bought a bag of lifesavers before, but the giant lifesaver definitely caught my eye.

For the record, the individually-wrapped nature of the candies is a necessity for me. I carry a couple in my pocket each day, and stash about a dozen in my laptop bag for sharing with the people I work with on the road. Open rolls of Lifesavers can get a little nasty (they attract moisture and lint), but the individual wrappers always give me clean mints.

Oh, and I *love* the new logo, and agree with everyone else that it works much better without the two extra lines in the "O."

On Mar.08.2008 at 04:49 PM

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Maricela Carrillo’s comment is:

ascochyta aerodyne corpuscular brutedom succourful contemner cheet unromantic
http://www.geocities.com/johnblisal/ >Braunagel, John

On Mar.25.2008 at 03:03 PM

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Bickity’s comment is:

And what happened now????? Hideous.

On Mar.06.2009 at 01:44 PM

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Steph’s comment is:

This is what happens when a design firm that knows what they're doing to revive a brand turns the files over to someone that has no clue about branding, and maintaing a brilliant design. What a shame. How disheartening.

I bet the person who did this thought it was a good idea. WRONG! A sad day for Life Savers.

On Mar.06.2009 at 01:55 PM

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alizey’s comment is:

im doing a project on life savers pretty interesting!!

On Mar.10.2009 at 04:16 PM

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Oliver’s comment is:

wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh THIS LIFESAVERS ROOCKK!!!!

On Mar.10.2009 at 04:18 PM

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**ALiizeY**’s comment is:

My FavOrIITe LiiFe SavErsZ r Da FruIty OneS & dA mINt OnESz dER DELICIOUSZ!!!!!=]=]=]=]=]=]

On Mar.10.2009 at 04:21 PM

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As we move into a new chapter of Brand New — and a new commenting mechanism — all posts published before June 2009 have been closed for comments.

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