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Sapadilla Soap Co.

Sapadilla Soap Co. is dedicated to creating ethical products using high quality ingredients and the freshest blends of pure essential oils that are great for the environment.

From brand strategy to identity to the development of a fully integrated brand program, Exhibit A: Design Group helped Sapadilla Soap Co. create its entire consumer experience across multiple channels and within various retail environments.

Established in 2007, Sapadilla Soap Co. is the brainchild of an advertising copywriter and an environmental science graduate with a shared passion for creating cleaning products that make peoples’ lives better, and the planet healthier. The company’s complete line of products are all plant-based and biodegradable, made with nontoxic ingredients and scented using 100% pure essential oil aromas.

Exhibit A: Design Group’s first contact with Sapadilla Soap Co. was an inquiry for production to complete label artwork initiated by its own freelance designer. Sapadilla Soap Co.’s owners lacked confidence in their initial creative direction and were intrigued by our studio’s strategic approach, creative process and successful track record.

After a lengthy discussion in which we openly discussed change occurring within the category (such as the decommoditization of household cleaning products), the client decided to follow its gut instinct. Although ‘pretty,’ it was evident the original design direction was not suitable for the selected target market consumer, nor did it contest well to forecasted market growth.

Additionally, the original logomark had problems with memorability, legibility, and flexibility, limiting future potential for successful product applications. After detailed discussion that included Sapadilla Soap Co.’s long and short term business plans, we were all in agreement to start over implementing our brand development process.

Exhibit A: Design Group identified the need for a brand strategy that appeals to an evolving target market: current eco-conscious consumers and, as ‘green’ products continue to gain momentum, more mainstream purchasers. We aimed to create a brand platform that expressed both style and sustainability and made the consumer feel good about their lifestyle choices.

During our research phase we discovered a key market trend: due to shrinking living spaces consumers are increasingly looking for products that allow them to accessorize or ‘counterscape’ their homes—especially in high-density cities like Vancouver. The new demand is for distinct and visually appealing products that also offer real truth in character and corporate ideology.

Sapadilla Soap Co.’s brand design had to be stylish, simple and informative, expressing the company’s unique personality while also demonstrating distinct product benefits.

Our client’s copywriting background initiated the creative direction and set the overall tone. The typographic solution discloses the product benefits while furthering the overall brand narrative. A hierarchical system is patterned with the brandmark, product type and aromas contrasting other copy that helps define the brand’s personality, ideology, and culture. The text treatment is intellectual and emotional while creating dimension and texture. The colour system differentiates distinct essential oil blends. The overall brand design is simple, logical and cost effective, and is easily extended to future applications.

As an extension of the original brand platform, Exhibit A: Design Group was tasked with the packaging design for a line of liquid hand soap made with the same plant-based, biodegradable ingredients and 100% pure essential oil aromas. The positioning challenge was that the hand soap had to feel more like bath and beauty products, rather than home-cleaning products, and fit under Sapadilla Soap Co.’s already established brand design. The final design solution appeals to both men and women, and blend into any bathroom, modern or traditional, no matter which essential oil blend (colour) the consumer chose. The simple yet vibrant aesthetic communicates a fresh, pure and high-quality product, reflecting the product’s ingredients.

Sapadilla Soup Co.’s product launch has more than exceeded expectations. Within the first year, the product line emerged as a leading local brand challenging more established products in the competitive home cleaning category at retail stores with discerning clientele, including Vancouver’s Whole Foods locations. Even during the economic downturn, sales continued to exceed projections. Today, Sapadilla Soap Co.’s products are available at both well-established grocery chains and specialty retail stores across Canada and throughout the Western US.

Sapadilla Soup Co.’s products have been featured in Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Chatelaine, Canadian Family and others, as well as selected by natural product advocate Alicia Silverstone for her celebrity-curated, social shopping site OpenSky.

GDUSA American Package Design Awards: Winner, (Hand Soap) , 2014
GDUSA American Graphic Design Awards: Packaging – Winner, (Hand Soap) , 2013
Design Exchange Awards: Visual Communications – Silver, 2007

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