Andrew Gibbs on The Dieline’s New Branding

Package design lover or not, you don’t want to miss hearing about The Dieline‘s updated look. The packaging design website teamed up with Pearlfisher New York to update The Dieline’s branding and identity.

Why sport a new aesthetic? Since its inception in 2007, The Dieline has evolved from Andrew Gibbs’ passion project into the No. 1 website for packaging design, a book and annual packaging design competition. And let’s not forget The Dieline Conference 2014, part of HOW Design Live, where Andrew Gibbs combines his expertise with other packaging design gurus to inspire thousands of designers to create their very best work.

During the launch of their new identity, The Dieline’s CEO, founder and editor-in-chief, Andrew Gibbs weighed in on the strategy of the rebrand, the website redesign–and he snuck in some exclusive photos of the work-in-progress…

How did this project come about? Why redesign The Dieline’s site?
Our previous identity was looking rather dated. When I originally designed the last logo, we were online only and it was designed primarily for on-screen use. As The Dieline has grown over the past few years, we really had to stretch what we had to make it work for other applications such as The Dieline Conference and The Dieline Awards. The main goal of the new identity was to create something that is flexible, adaptable, future-proof and maintains the soul of The Dieline brand no matter where we use it.

We redesigned the website as an extension of the new identity. We wanted to make the site easier to navigate, to highlight our editorial features and to make our archive of seven years of packaging more accessible. In our research, we found out that our readers hated our search engine, and generally found the site very difficult to navigate and locate content.

The project started with a one-line creative brief:
“The goal of The Dieline rebrand is to update our branding and website design to reflect what The Dieline has become today: a fresh, design-driven resource for the package design industry that curates content in a trusted and aspirational way to keep our readers inspired and relevant.”

Love it. Can you explain the process and your collaboration with Pearlfisher?
We didn’t initially plan on working with an outside agency. As a team of designers, we were confident that we could take on the project. What I had learned in the process, was that perspective was the key that was missing from our end. We didn’t have enough perspective, or enough understanding of how everyone else saw The Dieline brand. We were too close.

When I read the article Hamish wrote for us, I emailed him to tell him how much it resonated with me, and filled him in a bit on where we were at in our own identity redesign. He graciously offered to take a look at where we stood. Here’s what he said:

“Redesigning your own logo is one of the hardest things to do in design, so I can only imagine the back and forth you have done! I think the new separated letter forms do help and give you a modern flow, but I agree that they don’t quite feel ‘dieline.’

I think you always have to be careful when you are stripping logos back, so not to go too far and lose their personality. It looks like it was originally built from Museo, which has some interesting serifs, that added character to the letter forms, but now they have been removed. You have also removed the box icons too, so the question you need to ask is it removing too much equity? Maybe there is a version that looks at refining or reinventing those elements? Maybe only losing one, not both?”

That’s how it began. From there, he briefed his team and gave them a couple weeks to work on the first round of concepts.

What were some of the challenges with the project?
For me, the biggest challenge was letting go and letting somebody else design our identity. It was the first time I didn’t! The other major challenge we faced was on the web development side: We sidetracked after our first developer went totally missing in action. I’ve still yet to hear what happened to him!

Wow, that’s an interesting twist! How do you feel this redesign is more effective than the previous design? What do you hope to accomplish with it?
I feel that the new identity is tremendously more effective than the last. It is designed to be used in all sorts of applications online and off. The new icons make the new identity endless. The icons are a homage to some of the iconic brands and packages that we feature and love. They will evolve and change over time just as packaging itself does.

We have 14 icons to start, and plan to endlessly evolve them, retire old icons and introduce new ones. It means our logo is always evolving, fresh, and has a wide range of variety.

Also, what I love most about it is that it isn’t as loud or as visually busy as the previous. This was completely intentional, we wanted the new website and identity to really put the highlight on the incredible work we feature. The Dieline is the resource, the canvas if you will. The projects we feature are the soul.

Most of all, I hope our readers love it as much as we do.

The Dieline team

The Dieline team includes Ivan Navarro, Diane Lindquist, Tiffanie Pfrang, Andrew Gibbs (center) and Jessica Sanchez.

What are you most proud of with the redesign?
I am most proud of my team, to be honest. We are a very small company, and we are a very small team, and have to be very nimble and smart with our time. To be able to take on a project of this scope, in addition to everything we already do, has made me so incredibly proud of my team. I could not have done this without them!


Register Now!Don’t miss out on seeing Andrew Gibbs and Hamish Campbell, along with many other talented design superstars , at HOW Design Live. It’s the place to make connections, grow your knowledge of design, and immerse yourself in the world you’re passionate about. Be sure to register by February 11 to keep $300 in your pocket.