Artist | Michael Bast

Michael Bast Art of Flavor: Snapea Crisps

Michael Bast Art of Flavor: Snapea Crisps

With an opportunity to reposition and repackage their existing two-SKU line, Calbee North America sought to grow the brand by leveraging their small, but loyal salty-snack / salad topper customer base.

Michael Bast, the Art of Flavor

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Since Michael Bast teamed up with Scott Hull Associate, this down to earth family man has come to be known as “the worlds greatest unknown artist”. He was a pioneer in the early field of digital art by being one of the first to move from a paintbrush to a mouse. His gallery is your refrigerator and pantry. Odds are, you have something he designed sitting on your kitchen counter right now. For being so “unknown”, he is actually very well known in your daily life.

He is on the advisory board for Painter software. Michael's signature style was honored when the industry bestowed the coveted Cleo award for a project he did for Kraft. Other satisfied clients include Proctor and Gamble, SC Johnson, Post, Oscar Mayer, Gerber, Gallo, Kellogg’s, Heinz, Rand McNally, Hidden Valley, Celestial Seasonings, Pepsi, Pampers, Clorox, and Wal-Mart. And these few clients listed are just the tip of his illustration iceberg.

Michael has been a forerunner in mastering digital emulation that honors and enhances traditional media while maintaining the versatility of the digital environment that clients expect. As Michael explains, "I can quickly accommodate a client's changes by making corrections in the same media that was used to paint the original, without compromising expression. The traditional illustrator using oils might require anywhere from several hours to several days to make the same correction." Michael's weighty portfolio is focused on food and product illustration rendered in a variety of styles and techniques, including acrylic, watercolor, woodcut, and technical airbrush. Clients often comment that his work does not have the artificial look of digital illustration but exudes the beauty of natural media. Michael says, "My goal is to draw and paint images that mirror the best of the past."

Winnie Edwards, creative director for Celestial Seasonings, eloquently praises Michael with the following quote: “Once again, it was an amazing experience working with you. Thank you so much for your collaborative spirit, your wonderful imagination, and your attention to detail. We appreciate you!”

What Makes You a Good Art Director?

To help understand the creative process and what it takes to make the collaboration between illustrator and art/creative director more fluid, I thought the answers to this question might be enlightening.

When I say the word illustration what one word comes to mind?

For the last 3 decades I've dedicated myself to the world of visual thinking. You could call it commerical art, illustration, illustration design, or just plain art. Now I'm seeing an opportunity in the creative era to bridge the gap between art and commerce by asking the question, "When I say the word illustration, what one word comes to mind?"

Michael Bast + Landor = New Sour Patch Characters

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Why would you refresh an iconic brand like Sour Patch to remain relevant? That was the question asked to Landor's Dale Doyle. "Some brands do it to combat copycats, others refresh only when introducing a new variant. Sour Patch refreshed its package to avoid look-alikes and breathe new life into the brand. Before starting the project, the team mined the brand’s equities by identifying what was important to stakeholders. They took time to understand how the brand differentiated from the competition and how it didn’t."

What was the Sour Patch brand’s ownable equities? Sour Patch characters. So Landor's team enlisted the help of Scott Hull Associates'food illustrator, Michael Bast to help with the creation of a new cast of Sour Patch characters.

The new realistic animated Sour Patch characters draw the concumer in to the store's shelf.

Making the decision to either slightly refresh your package or to a major overhaul depends on the health of your brand. Dale commented that we often see brands that have been declining over the years, yet are hesitant to implement a packaging redesign. Today brands need to continually advance forward to remain relevant. If you think of your brand’s packaging as the living, breathing way in which your product is brought to life, then continually evolving your package makes ROI sense. .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................