The first project for our packaging class was to create and design the packaging for a food or drink product targeting one of the school’s employees. I had the pleasure of designing for the executive director of the school whose sophistication and knowledge of advertising seem endless. He loves to read, travel and learn as much as he can about everything. Nuts, cereal and cheese are among his favorite things to eat. We had a lengthy discussion about his childhood, career path and general passions. As a kid, he and his buddies collected baseball cards and used the knowledge of the players as a type of social currency. This really resonated with me and I started thinking about how the knowledge of cheese, like the knowledge of wine or cigars, is a type of social currency.
Discussing the nuances of wine makes great dinner conversation, but knowing about cheese can make great conversation as well. Making cheese shares the complexities of making wines and there is a lot to learn about the process, the country of origin, its historical and current uses.
I designed Gallus Reserve Aged Artisan Cheeses, a set of three cheeses and complementary crackers. The set I produced is of Italian cheeses, but if this was the real deal, there would be additional sets of cheeses from other countries. By purchasing this set, you can become a scholar of Italian cheese! You lucky duck! I wanted the feel of the package to reflect my target’s refined demeanor and I included a variety of things to keep him interested.
The package opens like a book; on the left side, there is a wood-burned cutting board, a small cheese knife and a pamphlet that includes the history of cheese in Italy, detailed information about the three cheeses included in this set and facts about over a dozen other Italian cheeses. On the right side, three small cheese wheels are wrapped in a lightweight paper and sit adjacent to their complementary crackers.
The back of the cracker boxes include facts about the history of crackers or one of the primary ingredients in that flavor so that the consumer is constantly learning about the product. The inside of the boxes are lined with a navy plaid and include an additional fact. The inside of a package is so often a lost opportunity, so I lined the entire box with plaid as well. I do love a pattern, you know.
My friend and talented copywriter Haley Gardner also wrote a great brand story for the back of the package:
The story of Gallus Reserve began with a one-way ticket to Parma, Italy. Martin Gallus had never given much thought to a life outside of the United States, or even a life outside the walls of his home. As a college professor, Martin spent his days teaching European history to listless students and his evenings catching up on research and favorite novels. A chance opportunity to teach in one of the oldest colleges in the world, The University of Parma, redirected Martin’s attention and he took the job without a moment’s hesitation.
Upon his arrival, Martin did all he could to dive head first into the deep-rooted cultural traditions of the Italian people. He drank wine. He saw beautiful art. He met interesting people and did interesting things. He re-discovered passion, himself and an obsession with something that he never saw coming. Italy may have been his newfound love, but cheese was quickly becoming his mistress. As a town known for its creation of Parmigiano-Reggiano, Martin had direct access to world-class cheeses and enjoyed learning how the Italians combined and complemented the rich flavors. And so the story of the Gallus Reserve was born, right in the town where Martin finally started living.
Today, Gallus Reserve is Martin’s effort to give everyone the opportunity to learn the riches of cheese, and life, the way he did. Just as his favorite author, Charles Dickens, once said, “Parma is one of those places you should go, but probably won’t have time for.” Gallus Reserve brings the flavors of Italy, France and America to you with these carefully curated box sets of artisan cheeses. Navigate the nuances of Pecorino, Asiago and Fontina and complementary crackers while you read about the history of these cheeses. For anyone who has a desire for knowledge of worldlier matters, there’s a perfect cheese out there to help jumpstart your journey.
The construction of this box was kind of hilarious. I knew I wanted to make it out of wood, but we don’t have a table saw or a jigsaw (for the closing strap hole). I was able to rent them from Home Depot, but the table saw wouldn’t fit in my tiny car, so I had to rent a truck just to get the tools back to our place! My handy husband and I cut and jigsawed the wood within a few hours. Phew.
A huge thanks to Tiffany Hudgins for shooting this for me!