Design Observations: New MOIC Packaging


The Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) recently overhauled its package design by in-house designer Tori Baisden and the redesign is drastically different. The original design showed up at shelf with a playful, of-the-moment and Instagram-influenced visual language. It was such a big brand leap for MOIC to move to CPG last year (and not to mention disruptive at shelf) that we wrote about its launch at Target here.


Today’s design is stripped almost entirely of its former visual assets and utilizes the tenets of most branded food packaging: food photography where there was once none, a much bigger brandmark than before, legible versus whimsical type, etc. As a creative agency working in CPG with brands and their package design, it’s interesting to talk through new designs and speculate as to its intent.

Credit: Museum of Ice Cream

Credit: Museum of Ice Cream

I sat down with Ty Tonander (VP of Brand Design) Sutasinee Seitz (Design Director) and Sarah Howley (Senior Designer) to discuss the package redesign.

Julia: First, I think we should talk about ice cream generally. For all of the health and wellness we hear and talk about, ice cream is everywhere and seems pretty glorified in our culture.

Ty: It’s become experiential. We’re no longer talking about vanilla ice cream that you’re drizzling chocolate syrup on anymore – people are paying $12 for a boozy shake or $9 for a Thai rolled dessert. It’s probably one of the most Instagrammed foods today.

Sarah: And it’s not only the ice cream, but the ice cream surround. The Museum of Ice Cream took all of these ice cream trends and rolled it into one experience. Every room of the Museum of Ice Cream is Twittered, Pinterested, Facebooked, Snap Chatted and Instagrammed on a continuous basis.

Credit: Caitlin Abrams, via MPLS St. Paul Magazine

Credit: Caitlin Abrams, via MPLS St. Paul Magazine

Julia: The founder of the MOIC said when she concepted the experience, she was influenced by a childhood dream of jumping into a pool full of sprinkles. I’m thinking of the original package design - it felt like a materialization of that dream and people’s joy in going to the MOIC.

Ty: I think they have 400,000 followers on Instagram and I see celebrities regularly posting themselves in the infamous Pool of Sprinkles. Quite frankly, the Pool of Sprinkles is almost a celebrity itself and influenced the original packaging. 

Sutasinee: I so agree with that. The whimsy of the illustrations, the dot-pattern and how much real estate they gave them – it feels pulled straight from the museum experience.

Sarah: It’s also as photo-ready as package design can get. It breaks so many rules of how our industry thinks about package design that it kind of begs to be picked up and photographed. It becomes an experience then too, just like the Pool of Sprinkles.

Personality-driven design does so much more than just differentiate itself – it brings attention to the brand proposition. In this case, the illustrations make me curious - why does this flavor have that illustration, and where did they come from?
— Sarah Howley, Senior Designer

Julia: Shifting gears to the new design…

Ty: Gone are the whimsical pouty lips and the flying cherries that made you smile. The new packaging is more CPG in look and tone.

Sutasinee: There’s a disconnect for me between the MOIC personality – the in-person experience, their social presence – and this package design. The MOIC personality is so big and fun and this new design really minimizes that in favor of brand and flavor.

Credit: @museumoficecream

Credit: @museumoficecream

Sarah: The branding has come front and center, as has the flavor name and the bulls-eye of the (yes, very delicious looking) ice cream. They’ve maintained the fun names of the flavors but did away with the fun type treatments on the original design. That would have been one way to keep the personality in the new design.

I’m always thinking about what makes the brand different at shelf – what’s unique about it that will get consumers to notice in two seconds?
— Sutasinee Seitz, Design Director

Julia: So let’s talk about the consumer for a minute though. What if the average consumer walking through the ice cream aisle had no idea what the MOIC was? What are they going to think of the new design?

Sarah: There’s more appetite appeal in the new one, so that’s working hard for them.

Sutasinee: It’s a nice, clean design - much easier to shop than the previous design.

Ty: The new design is working hard to whet the appetite, but I would bring back the cute illustrations to nod to the former design.

Sutasinee: The illustrations were a great first impression. I wonder, as designers, do we gravitate towards designs that are different? Or are we seeing that they gave up what gave them a point of difference in the aisle?

Sarah: The original design had a mood to it – it felt like an ice cream party! The new design is doing what a lot of other brands in the aisle are doing, so I’m curious if that will be a good thing or a missed opportunity. Definitely a question of who they are targeting with the design.