A packaging design work in progress

Whew! It's been a while since I was able to sit down a blog post. I won't go into boring detail, but startup life has kept me busy.

However, I've also been doing some interesting art and design things, so I though I would hop on this morning an share a project I'm working on! 

This is a self-assigned rebranding and package design project. I've always loved package design... in fact, I keep a stash of cool packages (lots of makeup!) in a bag so that I can look at them and enjoy them. Often, beautiful packaging is like a little work of art, and it makes me sad to just throw them out. 

Rebranding Me! Bath Bath bombs

Before jumping into a project, I like to do some research. There's lots of interesting things to learn about packaging design, from history to production. I started my search for knowledge on Skillshare. There aren't a lot of Skillshare classes on packaging design! I thought there would be more. However, I did find a few really useful videos that explained a lot.

Package Design 1: The Basic How and Why

Packaging Design for Creatives & Entrepreneurs

I also ordered a book on Amazon that's really interesting -

If you're a design nerd like me, you'll find this book really fascinating. There's a brief section on the history of package design and marketing ( I could read volumes on the subject) and then lots of useful case studies and practical knowledge. I've been reading it in the bath to relax.

I wanted to start a hands on project, and I was looking for a tutorial to follow along with. I found one that really interested me on Skillshare - 

Lettering for Package Design: From Sketch to Label

This class is by Jon Contino, a really amazing hand-lettering expert and graphic designer from NY. He's worked with a bunch of big brands and companies, as well as small startup clothing labels. He specializes in this authentic, old school style of hand lettering. 

I love hand lettering too, so I figured it would be a great way to practice doing two skills at once. 

I decided to do a rebrand of a package I had sitting around - some Me! Bath bath bombs I bought at Target. 

I love the bath bombs but the branding is pretty "meh" to me. It's kind of modern and I thought it would be a nice challenge to redesign it in an entirely different style. Also, the package is a plastic pouch, so the design isn't too complex - not a multi sided box for instance. 

Me bath bath bombs

My first task was to do some research and create a mood board of lettering styles for inspiration. I searched through Pinterest for terms like "vintage perfume" and "vintage cosmetics" to find examples of packaging with interesting hand-lettered designs. I saved the ones I liked them most - examples of typeography, arrangement and decoration that I though were interesting and might work for my package design. Then I compiled them in Photoshop, and printed them out so I would have a sheet to work from while practicing my lettering.

Me! Bath rebranding mood board

Next I put pen to paper and started practicing my lettering. The appeal of designing modern branding concepts with hand lettering is to keep that slightly imperfect, handmade appeal. That's not to say that the design should look sloppy or unfinished - there's a perfect balance. I practiced making my letter forms uniform, straight, and cohesive while allowing for natural variances in the shapes. It was really fun to put pen to paper and copy some of the text in my examples. I noticed that on the vintage packaging, there are often multiple typefaces used together, with different degrees of embellishment. 

Hand lettering for package design

I also decided to create a whimsical illustration for the "flavor" of the bath bombs I'm designing for - cucumber melon. I thought it would be fun to have the cucumber and the melon hanging out in an old claw foot bath tub together. You can see where I've added notes for myself on this page for the information that will need to be included in the package design - the brand, item, flavor, and taglines.


While doing my initial sketches, I worked with a ballpoint pen. I love sketching with ballpoint because it gives the same variance in opacity and line weight that a pencil does, but the marks are darker and more permanent. After I had decided on a direction to go in, I created some inked versions in felt tip pen, to be scanned and digitized.

hand lettering practice

Vectorizing the hand lettered images prepares them for digital and print production, and gives me the ability to manipulate the individual shapes a little if I need to. 

Now that I've got the main elements down, I've been playing with the layout in Adobe Illustrator. I've got a tentative color scheme worked out and the main titles in place. The next step is to create the additional taglines and decorations, and pull it all together.

Me! Bath rebrand illustrator work in progress

I like working on self assigned projects like this for a few reasons - it gives me practical experience in something I want to learn, it allows me to work on the project on my own time, in between client work, startup work, and parenting, and the final result will often give me a nice portfolio piece. If It sucks, then I still learned something valuable.

I've got plenty more work to do on this, but I'm excited for the final outcome! Stay tuned and I'll post the finished product when it's all done.