I had been meaning to write about the packaging and identity that Pentagram partner Paula Scher did recently for the new player in the sweetener category, Truvia. Then, with the swirl of the Holidays and the craziness of trying to finish things before and around them, I just kind of forgot. A couple of days ago, while grocery shopping with my parents and the rest of the Vit clan in a grocery store five or forty-three times bigger than our Brooklyn Key Food, the new Truvia packaging literally stopped me in my tracks as I reached for my own preferred sweetener (Splenda).
Sweetener aisle in a Houston, TX grocery store.
At Pentagram’s New section you can see the full identity, packaging and explanation in handsomely photographed images. “Truvia™ is designed,” reads one of the captions on those images, “to stand out from the competition.” It’s the kind of thing that designers love to write as a selling point in client presentations or as bragging points in press releases. However, in this case, Truvia actually (and literally) stands out from the competition. I’m not sure if the photograph above manages to capture the stark contrast but, in person, Truvia’s presence is remarkable. In a flood of swirls, gradients and glowing typography, the simplicity of Truvia is the sweetest of them all.
My favorite part of the packaging is the typography, it feels very light and fresh, and the overlapping effect is rather nice. I could do without the leafy dot over the “i”. First because it’s just too leafy and second because it makes it look like an accent, and for a Spanish-speaking person like myself I would want to pronounce the name as Tru-veeeee-ah, instead of Tru-vyah. Truth be told, I don’t even know how I’m supposed to pronounce it, but the accent doesn’t help. The choice of the strawberry is visually interesting too, as it creates a great, um, accent in the green and white box. Overall, this is a bold statement on the part of Truvia, to realize that they needed to really stand out within the crowded category in order to be able to make quick impact.
Disclaimer in case anyone needs it: I used to work for Pentagram. The mostly positive review is, in theory, objective and detached from the relationship.