Big Brand Project – Selecting a Brand and Beginning Research

Getting Started

Last week, we formally began our project for the "Big Brand" project, which requires us to explore a single product/service for the remainder of the semester. Since then, we've needed to select our client and commence our research.

In short, I've selected Swedish Fish as my brand. I've been familiar with it for several years, and have been surprised at its overall lack of branding and advertising prowess despite its many years on shelves. I also chose it because I think it might be the kind of project that would allow me to explore illustrative design more, especially as it pertains to packaging and motion graphics pieces, which are areas of intense interest to me.


Secondary Research

I've been a little surprised that I haven't found volumes of information on Swedish Fish, but I've gathered a few facts nonetheless.

Swedish Fish is often classified as a gummy candy, but it's more specifically a wine gum candy, which is slightly firmer and contains slightly different ingredients. Its lack of gelatin is probably the most noteworthy aspect, making Swedish Fish vegetarian-friendly.

It was first introduced in 1957 by Malaco, a Swedish confectionary company and subsidiary of Cloetta (formerly known as Leaf). In the following decades, the candy found its way to candy store shelves and movie theaters, and is still widely considered to be one of those "old-timey" confections.


Sour Patch Kids – A soft, sugar-coated gummy candy manufactured by British company Maynards. There have been many different flavors over the decades. (Based on what I see people my age buy, I think this will be one of the biggest competitors.)

Jelly Babies – British gummy candy created by Bassett's, whose parent company is Cadbury-Schweppes. Since 2007, the brand has switched over to using natural ingredients (but continues to use gelatin).

Jujubes – A genericized brand of gummies that, at least in America, are made by the Ferrara Candy Company. Their texture and consistency differs from country to country, but they're often a firmer gummy. Despite this, they contain gelatin, and don't necessarily qualify as wine gum candy.

Dots – American gum drops that were first introduced by Tootsie Roll Industries in 1945. According to PETA, they qualify as vegan, and Tootsie Roll Industries states that they are gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and kosher. Many flavors and varieties have since been produced, including seasonal, sour, and licorice flavored ones.

Twizzlers – American licorice brand created by Y&S Candies, Inc. in 1845, and owned by the Hershey Company since 1977. Its cherry flavored SKU is one of the oldest confections in the United States.

There are many others, but these are just a few. In theory, chocolates, sour candies, gum, lollipops, and many other kinds of sweets could be competition as well.

Target Audience

Adults aged 18-35 that have an interest in sweets, as well as novelties, other cultures, and new experiences. If given the chance to circumvent the run-of-the-mill lifestyle, they'll seize it.

Primary Research Questions

I've also begun putting together focus group questions that could aid me in qualitative research. Here are just a few of the areas I'd like to cover when talking with people:

• What is your name and favorite candy? Why?
• What kind of value do you place on candy that's harder to obtain?
• Do you have special candies that are reserved for special occasions? What is that like?
• How much candy do you own at any given time? Where do you keep it? How long will you have it?
• How likely are you to share candy with others? Why?
• How much would you consider yourself to be a kid at heart?
• How much would you consider yourself to be nostalgic?
• How health-conscious are you?
• If the following candies were at a party, what would they be doing?

- Skittles
- Twizzlers
- Tootsie Pops
- Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
- Sour Patch Kids
- Mike and Ike
- Jelly Babies
- Nik-L-Nip Wax Bottles
- Swedish Fish
- Circus Peanuts
- Haribo Gummy Bears (Specifically non-sugarfree)
- Trolli Gummy Worms
- Jolly Ranchers
- Dots

Looking Ahead

Within this next week, I plan to produce 100 logo sketches and set up a few focus groups. Busy? Maybe.

Causes I Care About Campaign – Selecting Causes

This past week, I was assigned the "Causes You Care About Campaign" project. As the name suggests, I'll be creating a series of ads and other deliverables that promote an organization that piques my interest.

In this first step, I've been tasked with finding and researching causes that sound appealing to me. Here are some of the ones that stood out to me:






Franklinton Gardens

This nonprofit is a small network of community gardens located on the west side of Columbus. Their cause grows healthy foods for food pantries, holds educational gardening programs, and offers volunteer opportunities for passionate members in the area.




The Foundation for Sight & Sound

This nonprofit from New York uses donations to fund projects that help those with vision and/or hearing impairments. Some projects have included providing hearing aids to low-income family members and installing magnified computer screens in libraries.




Soil and Water Conservation Society

This organization promotes conservation behaviors, educational programs, and policies. It operates on a global, national, state, local, and collegiate level, and it utilizes the talents and opinions of researchers, policymakers, advisors, educators, farmers, and students.





Community Kitchen Inc.

This local nonprofit is responsible for providing less-fortunate individuals and families with nutritious meals. They run entirely through monetary donations, contributions from food banks, and volunteers. In 2012, the organization served over 94,000 meals.

Upon further consideration, I believe I'm gravitating towards Franklinton Gardens, and for several reasons: (1) I've always loved the concept of community gardens, (2) the organization is close by (allowing for plenty of photography and filming), and (3) it could be a great live client opportunity. Within this next week, I'll piece together a creative brief and a few strategies. Contacting representatives of the organization will likely happen, as well.

New Heroes Presentation – Selecting Designers

During the first week of Applied Design, I've been tasked with searching for a few designers that I would consider interviewing for our New Heroes Presentation. I'll be the eighth student to present, giving me more than a few weeks to get my work together. At any rate, I'd like to put a great deal of thought into whichever up-and-coming individual I choose.


One of the first designers to come to mind was Philipp Dettmer, one of the minds behind Kurzgesagt, a team from Munich that creates delightful motion graphics pieces on scientific and historical topics:


I'm also considering Graham Erwin, a Columbus-based designer and illustrator who produces a variety of great illustrations that have a very graphic aesthetic. He's also had a great relationship with CCAD, having visited the campus on several occasions. His posters for officially licensed properties have been especially popular:



    A third person in whom I'm interested is Patrick Moore, a graduate from CCAD and graphic designer for Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. He spoke last spring on-campus as a part of a presentation from several alumni with Graphic Design and Illustration majors, and I found his insights and body of work to be very intriguing:

    Once I decide upon a favorite or two, I'll begin contacting them. Some will be decidedly harder to reach than others, and there's no guarantee that all of them will be able or interested in interviewing. In about a week, though, I should probably have a clear choice.