Contributed by Mike Spakowski of St Louis-based Atomicdust.
Rockwood is all-natural lump charcoal made entirely from Missouri hardwood, unlike the charcoal briquettes or match-light charcoal typically seen in stores. People think of charcoal as a commodity product, but because Rockwood is different, Atomicdust had an opportunity to do something fresh that would stand out on the shelf.
Early on, our design team settled on modern, bold typography for the package to contrast with many existing brands that relied on more rustic treatments. We also experimented with different illustration styles and imagery that reflected the product and the process — everything from axes and saw blades (to reflect the charcoal’s wooden roots), to illustrations of the food that the charcoal would eventually be used to cook.
Eventually, we found inspiration in vintage, screen-printed posters, and created big, bold illustrations of the charcoal itself to reflect its purity and power. Rather than coating the entire bag in ink, we let the kraft paper bag color show through as a nod to Rockwood’s all-natural origins. The bag is recyclable, and printed using soy-based inks that won’t produce harmful fumes if burned.
An unofficial tagline — “Smoke the Competition” — positions Rockwood as the brand of choice for barbecue champions or anyone who wants to cook like one.
Rockwood’s new website, designed for viewing across desktops, tablets, and phones, helps potential buyers understand the benefits of premium lump charcoal versus alternative options, and uses in-house photography to show the product’s natural hardwood origins. The website also promotes the noticeable differences customers can see and experience at the grill, like superior temperature control, less smoke, and a more natural aroma.
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