How Häagen-Dazs has redesigned its packaging to become a "lifestyle brand"

Mango and Raspberry by Sanderson Bob Studio

The designers behind the ice-cream brand’s major refresh tell us how they commissioned 10 international artists to create patterns visualising each Häagen-Dazs flavour.

Premium ice-cream brand Häagen-Dazs, known for its pint tub and provocative advertising during the 90s, has undergone a major brand refresh involving London design agency Love, ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, 10 international artists and illustrators and Bompas & Parr - who put on a mega launch in the UK.

Last night the brand launched an event – My Extraordinary Life  at Noho Studios in London to promote it’s "reset". It involved a lot of free ice-cream and beautiful toppings, ice-cream canapés and ice-cream flavoured martinis. The studio space was decked out with Instagrammable dream-like environments designed by Bompas & Parr – essentially pink everywhere – alongside plush sofas, flowers protruding from waffle cones, ice-cream paintings dripping from the roof and LED lights.

However gone are the glittery days of the 90s, Häagen-Dazs says it wants to build a deep brand recognition with a new crowd - millennials - and it understands the way to capture the hearts and minds of young people is to deliver an authentic story, an immersive experience, and of course, beautiful, Instagram worthy ice-cream. The brand wants to move from a "grocery brand to lifestyle brand".

Image: Banana caramel explosion by Antti Kalevi

To do this a new brand identity has been created, with new packaging designs and new ice cream flavours. Alongside Häagen-Dazs ice cream, now available on sticks and in small pots, (products launched for social media snapping) each flavour of ice cream has a designated artist who redesigned its packaging and associated visuals. Dave says the new packaging replaces detail with a Scandinavian-inspired simplicity.

The final illustrations are not only used on packaging, but everywhere possible within the new campaign, including online, as wallpaper – it even covered pillows at the event. 

Love chose a mix of international painters, 3D illustrators, graphic illustrators, textile designers and artists from countries such as Japan, the UK and US to illustrate and capture the taste of flavours, such as the new strawberry cheesecake. Artists were chosen for their tendency toward patterns and bright, clean and bold colours that would stand out on people's feeds and on the shelf. Names include Cassie Byrnes, Kustaa Saksi, Santtu Mustonen, Ashley Goldberg, Moniquilla, Anna Alanko, Sam Coldy, Marina Esmeraldo and Antti Kalevi.

Image: Cookie dough chip by Cassie Byrnes

It was "quite engineered in many respects," says head creative from Love, Dave Palmer.

"We had a group of experts taste each flavour, we came up with a word cloud that represented that flavour, and the world cloud was used as a brief for the artist," says Häagen-Dazs global marketing director Jennifer Jorgensen.

"The trick is to make sure all the flavours are different enough on the shelf, so Love curated the artists from different countries with different styles so you could really pull the flavours apart with experience and colours."

Image: Dulche de leche by Cassie Byrnes

Advertisement. Article continues below

"It’s about trying to find colour. A lot of the conversations with the colour team were about the flavour of the ice cream, so we looked for illustrators who use colour really well but also the experience, so looking for types of illustrators will work well with pattern so there’s not start or stop particularly," says Dave.

UK-based Sanderson Bob Studio created bespoke branding, typography and imagery for designs from Mango & Raspberry, Chocolate Salted Caramel and Macadamia Nut Brittle.

My Extraordinary Life at Noho Studios is open to the public from today.

See the artists' packaging design in this feature. 

Image: Salted caramel cheesecake by Marina Esmeraldo

Image: Belgian chocolate by Santtu Mustonen

Image: Mint leaves & chocolate by Sam Coldy

Advertisement. Article continues below

Image: Summer berries & cream by Santtu Mustonen

Image: Strawberry cheesecake by Cassie Byrnes

Image: Pralines & cream by Santtu Mustonen

Advertisement. Article continues below

Image: Cookies & cream by Santtu Mustonen

Image: Vanilla by Santtu Mustonen

Image: Macadamia nut brittle by Sanderson Bob Studio

Advertisement. Article continues below