Backbone Branding


Agency: Backbone Branding
Brand Strategist: Matt Bartelsian
Creative Director & Designer: Stepan Azaryan
Illustrator: Mariam Stepanyan
Photos: Backbone Branding & Suren Manvelyan
Location: Armenia
Project Type: Produced
Product Launch Location: Armenia
Packaging Contents: Maasdam Cheese
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Paper
Printing Process: Flexopgraphy

Today’s market offers a very wide array of cheese brands, the majority of which opt to modern designs and contemporary branding styles that are competing to capture the consumers’ attention.

When asked to come up with the packaging for a new brand of Maasdam cheese, the goal was to approach the design in a different – not common way. Our packaging needed to tell a story, to go back to basics and show the strong connection that man has with nature, the way he relies on it, and how he strives to transfer the know-how of his righteous work from one generation to the other.

The environment is essential for the quality of dairy products and this land of this product is famous for its mountainous landscapes, fresh and clean air, rich flora, and cold mountain spring water fountains. So we opted for a black and white, carefully hand-drawn illustration of these landscapes, depicting healthy cows eating fresh grass in the freedom of mountains, in order to produce pure milk from which our cheese is made.

The profile of an old man dominates the right half of the illustration, however when looked at carefully one can notice that the man’s face emerges from the landscape, as if he is a part of it. The elements of nature complete his portrait in ways that make him fuse with his surrounding as he becomes one with it. The ancient mountain curves are reflected on the Old Shepherd’s forehead wrinkles as a nod to years of faithful labor and care for the generations. His deep, kind, and wise eyes witness the path of patience and endurance he has passed in his pursuit. The birds represent the freedom that he has in his own land – the countless days and nights he spent in the hills and mountains – taking close care of his «friends» that provide healthy milk for himself and for others.

This fusion of the old man with nature and the environment are a highlight that the cheese itself is purely natural, and is as less technocrat as the old man is far from modern technologies.

This drawing is man’s homage to Nature, it reminds us that man has always been a non-dissociable part of it, here lies his roots and this is where he will return at the end. We have named the cheese ‘‘The Old Shepherd’’ after this old man, as a gesture of gratitude for his hard work and devotion.