Sunday, September 6, 2015

Project FEESH: Product Research Development.

When we were told to design food-related products, the first thing I thought of (undeniably) was pizza, because those were the only things I thought had designs that matter when it came to logos and design in general.

That being said, I knew I was in no condition to constantly look at and/or eat pizza, as it would mess with my already unhealthy diet, so I had to think of other things I wouldn't mind stuffing myself with as I went on with the project...

That's when the lightning bulb lit up,

"Why don't I create a product out of something I love but HAVEN'T eaten in a while?"

That way, it would take a bit longer for me to get sick of whatever product I chose, plus I can get the satisfaction of nostalgia while I'm going at it. So, I narrowed it down to three, and had to choose between;


After consulting with our lecturer, I've decided to go on with my ultimate breakfast choice as a child, the breakfast cereal.


Cereals usually come in those typical rectangular boxes that were always too far up for me to reach as a kid. They were initially created as food to provide people with fiber, as they only had fatty meat for breakfast in the 19th century. Before cereal came to the rescue, a lot of people had to go through seriously horrible stomach aches, and although the cereal fad wasn't as famous back when it was first introduced, big-name Kellogg brothers managed to make the food easier to make, eat and highly marketable.

Speaking of Kellogg (which is probably a familiar name), I've also found that Nestle is it's only rival in Malaysia. There are many other cereal companies out there, but none as notable and as influential as these two, aside from Quaker, who's famous for oats and healthy granola bars. Most well known cereal products however, are arguably Koko Krunch, Honey Stars and Frosties, two of which belong to Nestle, who has established themselves in Malaysia with more than just cereal, so they managed to gain a lot of trust from other products as well, securing their customers with much more ease compared to Kellogg's cereals.

As for me, I was one of those kids who generally had no taste for my own mother country's cultural cuisine. I don't enjoy nasi lemak, and it took me a while to get used to teh tarik meet-ups with my dad. What usually greeted my tummy in the mornings were cereal, namely Koko Krunch and Honey Stars, and I feel like this project would be my dedication to their respective owners (for making sure I was well-fed in my adolescence). I wanted to bring something that could be considered Western-tasting to our very own kids, and share them bits and pieces of my own childhood. Maybe I could create a blur in between cultures, or something of that degree.

For my research, I had to make a couple of trips along the way, the first being my:-


Seeing as I no longer had the love for cereal as I once did, I had to go back to my place to steal one of my little nephew's Koko Krunch as research material. Here, I managed to study the cereal box's design and its contents, which have been broken down as in the image below. Most, if not all, of cereal packaging have these basic contents. The bigger-sized packaging may have even more space for fun facts and games for children to play on the back of the boxes.

Excuse the tiny font, I've been told my writing is as slim as I am.


Along with my two other friends from this class, Nek and Elyna, the search for research materials continued on at Cold Storage in Subang Parade. Yes, we could have gone to some place closer, but we thought Cold Storage would have a bigger variety of products ranging from local to international, and here includes some of the finds we managed to dig up. Some cereal boxes had odd punches and shapes to them, too.

The Coco Pops boxes, for example, had odd punches to indicate different types of openings.

Granola's Honey Nut packaging makes it look like a carton of milk.

Going through my loot, I realized that the cereal boxes all had slight similarities among their differences. And this fact ranges from the packaging to the target audience.

Packaging include those in...

Some of the loot I've bought from Cold Storage.

  1. Standard sized boxes (170g), huge boxes (340g), and mini boxes (25g), differing depending on the company and type of cereal.
  2. Plastic packages.
  3. Granola-bar packages.
  4. Bowls.

Some similarities included the fact that;

  1. All cereal targeted to children had mascots, bright colors, simple easy-to-pronounce-or-read names and games/freebies.
  2. All cereal targeted to older audiences did not necessarily have mascots, have much more minimalist and sophisticated designs, and focused on the nutritional values more.
Upon further inspection, however, I found out that I am now much more attracted to the latter than the former, and had to choose...

Do I want to make this cereal for the younger, child-version of me, or the me of now?

I wanted to do all the fun stuff like designing mascots and practice with my colors, but at the same time, I wanted to make something that fits my taste, that of a person in their late teens. Wanting to do both may not be a bad thing, but it will cause me problems later in production...

The choice wasn't hard, though, as I've always dreamed of being a kid again.

I've decided to make my cereal for children, and make them my main target audience. Knowing that, now I'll have to seriously get cracking on mascot designs and concepts. That's when I decided to see things on a "deep end" scale. Get it? Deepened, deep end? Deep-end? Heh.


I love animals. Period. 

I've tried to brainstorm for a subject matter to put into this product that would be lovable and cute, but nothing seemed to catch my interest as much. Almost everything I had in mind had already been made, and nothing seemed at home enough for me to get myself motivated. Kelloggs' Brothers had their tiger, and Nestle's had their koala, but what can I use that's never been thought of before?

After thinking and grumbling, I found the solution.

I've always loved how weird aquatic creatures were, and have always thought that they were like aliens that lived in a galaxy that's under us, as compared to the ones living in the vast one above our heads. Now, imagine those adorable fishes swimming in milk. The moment that image came up in my mind, I knew I had to make it happen. But what do I know about fish aside from the fact that they can't breathe above water? Nothing. I knew nothing.

That's why I dragged my pals on a research trip to Aquaria, where I (hopefully) had all the information I needed in one fun educational theme park. It wasn't actually a theme park as it was a large aquarium, but it still had loads of fun activities for us to discover and fiddle with.

Here we can see a photo of a very satisfied Radhi who managed to drag her friends around KL on her whim.

We tried to be as hipster as we could be. Keyword: TRIED.

Beautiful shot by Farah Aqilah, my friend from KTJ.

More shots by Farah.

The catfish was saying "hello."

Assilah, my other friend, took a photo of me freaking out over the giant stingray swimming above my head.

During this trip, I took notes of all the different creatures, including possible themes and elements I could use in my designs. Such as anchors, seaweed, corals, shipwrecks, divers, etc. I also managed to note all the different colors the underwater world had in store, which was much more than the stereotypical blue (notice how each photo of the animals posted above had different color schemes? Amazing, right?). As I jotted down my notes, I noticed that everything had a huge sense of life and vigor in them, and it's my job to project that into my design.

There, I learnt about different types of aquatic life, their habitats, mannerisms, diets and lifestyles, but one section of the aquarium struck the chords in my heart the most, and it was the local freshwater life section.

The tank shot from the staircase.

Little bits of information I gathered on the creatures.

What struck me was the fact that NO ONE paid attention to those tanks. NO ONE stayed to take photos of the fishes in that area. NO ONE lingered long enough to notice that among the words written on the wall included "endangered," and as a result, it seemed like no one cared...

Sure, nothing can beat the iconic Great White or the manta rays, but I believed in the value of all of these animals. Plus, the very fact that we have our own Borneo River Shark and Giant Freshwater Stingray to be proud of made me feel like more kids should be exposed to them, and I've decided to do my best to put them in my project.


I have decided to go forth with designing two types of packaging, which include the large box, and the bowl. Aside from that, I am also adamant on including the shark and the stingray in my design, as token characters.

Hopefully, everything will turn out alright. Godspeed!

Posted by:
Nurul Radhiah Ibrahim.

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