Thanks mainly to the Morton Salt Girl, which has adorned the brand’s characteristic pouring canister since 1914, Morton is one of the best-known brands in the spice sector. There’s just one problem: Morton’s products are actually in many places that aren’t the aisle for condiments.
“Most consumers know us best for the iconic round blue canister of table salt that made Morton famous,” CMO Denise Lauer told Adweek, “but there is so much more.”
In addition to making salt for cooking and table use (kosher, sea, Himalayan pink, etc.), the company also makes pool salt, water softener pellets, and melted ice.
Getting customers to recognize a brand when it sells products in multiple categories is often a daunting task. The time-honored way to achieve this is through uniform packaging. After two years of work, Morton has finally taken off his newest trade dress. It incorporates what the company calls a “design system,” with consistent elements that identify a product as a Mortons, but enough variations so that each product has its own personality. This is the first time since 2014 that the brand has updated its look.
“Morton’s portfolio is much larger than many people think,” said Clark Goolsby, chief creative officer in the Chase Design Group’s New York office who led the overhaul. “In order to package all of these products, they rely on a variety of structures. The elements of their previous design system were too rigid to create successful designs for everyone [of them.]”
The most visible element that Chase developed was a large, dark blue block of color based on the classic Morton Salt canister and dominating the top third of all new packaging. A diagonal cutoff separates the block from the lower parts of the packaging, which vary depending on the product. It can be a different ribbon (in the case of the plasticizer pellets) or a photo (for the ice melt).
The treatment of Chase also allows for a transparent window (e.g. for sea salt and Himalayan pink salt) through which customers can see the product inside. See-through windows have been an important feature of products like pasta for decades. However, there are risks associated with their use if the goods they contain look less appetizing. Fortunately for Morton, salt always looks like salt. According to Goolsby, visibility is just good marketing.
“It’s important for consumers to see [the] Salt for two main reasons, ”he said. “First of all, Morton’s salt is incredibly pure and frankly beautiful. Second, it helps consumers shop for the product as they can quickly identify the grain size they want. “
Chase also gently modified the sans serif font to increase its clarity, although the descendant on the letter “R” still has an upside-down tail that mates with the Morton Salt Girl’s leg moving through the rain.
The girl in the yellow dress with the umbrella over her shoulder was treated attentively. While the mascot itself looks similar to what it did in 1968 when she swapped her braids for windblown hair (a 2014 spruce tree just simplified the character’s lines), Chase varied her proportions depending on the product she appears on.
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