Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
The crowded design of a countercultural icon introduces a unique typographic challenge.
Contributed by Nick Sherman on May 10th, 2012.
20 Comments on “Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps”
Oh dear god... I have a strict "design contests are sepc-work and thus evil" personal ethic code, however I always had a feeling that one day I would be confronted with a design contest that I would consider some type of exception to my rule and that I would have to do. This, for some reason, is it.
Andrew, please note that this is neither a contest nor spec work. There are no winners or losers or rewards or anything like that. As the article says, we don't even have any official connection to Dr. Bronner's. This is more of an open assignment that we thought people might find as interesting as we did.
Either way, I hope you have fun with it!
I got it, perfect!
Nick, I think (or hope) it's not my lazyness speaking, but I don't see the point of this experiment at all... As you cleverly remark in the post, the identity of this brand resides mainly in its graphic quirkyness, and on the other side the graphic solutions to repair the typographic crimes are obvious: a font suited to small sizes, with an ordenated and restricted progression of bodies, a grid to order and tighten the line lenghts, and to keep the colour scheme. Sorry to be a killjoy, dunno if I'm the only to think this way...
Carlos, perhaps the improvements are obvious, but the true challenge lies in actually making them work in a real layout (not to mention one that maintains some connection to the existing brand aesthetic). As with most typographic problems, the solutions are vastly more easy to explain than they are to bring to a practical reality. Give it a try and you’ll quickly see what I mean :)
The challenge could be real fun! I do think it is funny that the headline of that landing page isn't in Times New Roman or Helvetica. Not showing much team spirit there!
Maybe I'll give it a try. Anyone else gonna do it?
I am on it.
I love the idea of this 'contest'; it's so ridiculous. I wish I had the patience to really sink some time into it.
Mandy, perhaps you should read the label for inspiration. Here's an excerpt about hard work and discipline to get you started :)
I cannot for the life of me find the deadline for this contest. Is there a deadline somewhere that I'm completely overlooking?
Rogue, it's not really a contest so much as a challenge – there are no winners or prizes – so there isn't any official deadline or cutoff date. Knowing how designers can use a deadline for motivation though, maybe we'll invent a deadline for if people want to be included in a follow-up post. In the mean time, I suggest working on it as soon as possible … lightning-like!
I can't find the logo attached … the magic all-one, with the earth and the arms … should it not be featured?
BTW, love your incentive here!!!
I suggest putting a new label over the existing one that says "Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap" and instructs the buyer to peel off the label for further details.
Great post Nick, but I'm surprised to see smack dab in the middle of the bottle typographic cacophony a typeface that wasn't identified in the article. Here's a shout out to Alan Blackman's Galahad. I pointed it out to him recently via email and he wrote back to say "Many thanks for your recognition of "Galahad" on Dr. B's cleansing products--wdn't miss it for the world . . ." Keep up the great work and ps. I'm too chicken to try a redesign, so I put my support behind Michael Norcia's solution.
Dimitri Siegel wrote an essay called 'Message on a Bottle' in Dot Dot Dot about this. Have a read, guys: (PDF).
Rasmus: Interesting, I’m not sure how this was overlooked. I suppose I was focussing more on the text than anything.
Terrence: Good call on the Galahad. Apparently I just totally overlooked that section part of the bottle!
Wei: Yes, I had seen Siegel’s essay … there’s even a quote from it in the post. But thanks for the link.
Hi. Did you ever post any of the design submissions? If so, where can I find them. Thanks.
What happened with this? It’d be great to see the submissions.
Leave well enough alone. Thanks.
I concur that correcting all the typographic shortcomings would dilute the power of the label. It’s a semiotic mess that somehow works beautifully because of its many flaws. Next challenge: PB Power Blaster Penetrating Oil