American Package Design Award Winners

Deskey Proves Packaging Means Business (June 2013)

If you doubt the power of product packaging, take a look at Mikesell’s potato chips.

Their new packaging won a National Package Design Award for its brand agency, Deskey (April 2013, It also increased sales by up to 30% for some sku’s (stock keeping units) – without media support.

Mikesell’s is proof that package design still matters.  Mikesell’s chips are made in limited batches with premium oils, and the company stands behind the quality of every chip it makes. In order to protect that quality and guarantee freshness, Mikesell’s limits distribution to within 300 miles of where they’re made. This is an amazing advantage in the age of artisanal snack foods. But how to communicate such a fresh new idea from a hundred year-old snack food company?
Mikesell’s turned to branding and design pioneer Deskey to help re-introduce their brand to a new generation of snack lovers. Deskey’s mission was to maintain the proud tradition of an amazing snack brand while increasing shelf presence and appetite appeal. A tall order for any brand. A critical one for the snack aisle.

Deskey loves a challenge, especially from a passionate underdog like Mikesell’s. They got right to work, focusing on the snack customer. It turned out, Mikesell’s loyalists associate the brand with fond memories they have from their childhood, but were also excited about the prospect of new flavors. They were ready for a change. Using that knowledge, Deskey transformed Mikesell’s from a nostalgia brand into one that represented quality products and a strong family tradition.

Deskey embraced both Mikesell’s strong history and points of difference, designing the package to reflect its handcrafted heritage. They refreshed the package to lead with appetite appeal, supported by elements of tradition. They switched the package from foil to matte to communicate the handcrafted, premium nature of what comes inside.

Fresh copy and iconography allowed consumers to form a deeper, emotional connection with the brand beyond the actual chip. For example, Deskey celebrated the heritage with a seal featuring the founder, D.W. Mikesell, and his legacy promise: guaranteed fresh.

Finally, Deskey developed a clear, simple package architecture, so customers could easily identify and experiment with their favorite flavors. “A lot of people may look at a brand change as an opportunity to correct weaknesses, but for us, we look at it as an opportunity to build on the strengths that we have,” says Chuck Shive, president and CEO of Mikesell’s. “That’s a more proactive than reactive approach to take to it.”

From there, Deskey created an updated package design that would stand out in a crowded aisle. The new packaging incorporates high-quality photography and ingredient images and a new, deeper color palette.

The launch began this past summer in retail locations across the company’s four-state distribution region, beginning with the launch of two new flavors.

“Mikesell’s approach to this project was very progressive,” said Doug Sovonick, chief creative officer at Deskey. “They had a good idea, wanted it executed quickly, found a branding firm they could trust and got the whole project done in a few short months. We are very proud of our association with Mikesell’s. In fact, you’re making me hungry for a fresh bag of chips.”

About Deskey

Deskey is a brand agency whose strategies and designs have delivered a competitive edge for clients consistently since 1929. Founded by American design icon Donald Deskey, the firm's client roster includes Allergan, Intuit, Bush Beans, Starbuck's, and a 50-year relationship with Procter & Gamble. Independent and creatively-led, Deskey is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. More information is available at

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