Brace Your Dog Bowls

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Back in October, while I scrambled to adjust to life with our new puppy, I got wind of a fresh new startup named Ollie — an online food subscription service for dogs.  And with a brand and packaging as nice as this one, I needed to test it out. 

Here’s the pitch: for about $3/day, every two weeks Ollie delivers tailor-made food from human-grade ingredients straight to your door, formulated and portioned just for your pup, requiring no additional cooking or preparation.  

I was intrigued.


 

But my interest, admittedly, had less to do with the idea of mail-order dog food, and more to do with their positively lovely brand work, done by NY-based Communal Creative.

 

In their own words:

After researching competitors in the pet food space, we realized that the market is saturated with the same type of brand language—organic textures and colors, promises of natural ingredients, and constant comparisons to wolves. We knew that personality would be a key differentiator in the visual identity, pairing it with transparency and a new point-of-view. Partnering with the Ollie team, we created a custom wordmark that evoked the warm, friendly vibe that is identifiable at the company’s core, pairing it with a modern, graphic visual language. We then set to work implementing these bold and vibrant elements over numerous touchpoints, from digital experiences to packaging executions.

The centerpiece of it all is, obviously, the logo — which I find incredibly charming. It’s as round and playful as my new puppy, yet simple and sophisticated enough to be taken seriously in a highly competitive space like pet food (and at $40 a shipment, that sophistication was necessary.) The orange felt vibrant and different, while the curves created a lovely rhythm with the harder edges found in each letter.

I won’t say I subscribed entirely based on their branding, but between their ingredient list and a 50% off starter promo, I felt like I needed to at least give them a try. By the time I opened the first package, though, I was hooked.

 

The shipments come packed in a refrigerated box (think: Blue Apron) with each week’s food wrapped individually. They also include a little welcome guide, a written letter with specific instructions for your dog,  a washable rubber lid to keep open containers fresh, and a little plastic scoop to measure out each serving perfectly. In the weeks that followed, the boxes came with little gifts for my dog, such as bandanas, eating mats and doggy bags— all sporting the signature orange and logo. The mark looks really great embossed on the merch, and stands out confidently in a space filled with green plastic bags & brown paper. Overall, Ollie’s done well to make itself feel like a premium service.

 

But nothing’s perfect.

I have to mention: the only snag I hit along the way is that Finn (my dog) didn’t seem to take to the first batch of food (we ordered the beef,) but after a quick exchange with a lovely rep named Whitney, we were on our way to chicken-filled bliss.

Well, that, and these darn illustrations just don’t *quite* seem to fit in with the rest of the brand. They felt a little delicate, and possibly artifacts from a previous iteration. It’s little noticeable, but hey, it’s not a dealbreaker.

Overall, 9/10. Would buy again.  

Mostly because of the branding. But not entirely.

Written by

Brett Pollack

Brett is a designer at Google over in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's an SVA alum, whose work's been featured on Product Hunt, Awwwards, the Cannes Lions, Graphis, and more. 

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