Acrylicize Brings All 57 Heinz Varieties to Life
Brands are not just about products. They tell a story. As a brand grows and develops, it finds its way into peoples’ lives and takes up residence through finding ways to integrate. But over those years, the brands also live. Through the people that own and operate the brand, through the expansion of products in reaction to the culture around it, and through the way the brand speaks to their customers.
The Heinz R&D headquarters in Nijmegan, Holland needed a way to introduce people to the brand, while inviting them into the building in a way that was both welcoming and educational. “What we wanted to do was create something that people would find intriguing, informative, and inspiring,” says Mark Atkins, Vice President of R&D at Europe HJ Heinz. “We didn’t want a monument, we didn’t want corporate propaganda. I think we were less clear with what we did want. And I think Acrylicize really helped us answer that question.” Atkins is mentioning Acrylicize, the experiential design studio out of London, and new addition to B&A’s roster.
When Acrylicize got the call, they knew they had to get a deeper understanding of Heinz to tell the story in a vivid and authentic way. “It was really exciting because we flew out to meet Heinz and there was a real chance to just absorb their world,” says Sean Bendell-Whittaker from Acrylicize. “It was amazing to get under the skin.” Acrylicize genuinely got under the brand’s skin and used everything they learned to design and construct the wall that ultimately found itself in the lobby of the Heinz HQ.
In 1896 Heinz adopted the “57 Varieties” slogan to use in their contemporaneous marketing, but the reason Henry J Heinz picked that number is still in contention to this day. The number 57 still features prominently on their products, and Acrylicize used the number as a central theme for the wall. The design features 57 separate windows, or boxes, each telling a different story or highlighting a different moment. Looking at the five key pillars of Heinz’ innovation, packaging, production and distribution, philosophy, marketing and products and recipes they were able to root the design in the story of the brand. They took direct color and design direction from Heinz products (like painting with ketchup and mustard as a study), and even created a portrait of HJ Heinz out of seeds. Each element has multiple layers, playing off different components central to the Heinz mission.
At the end of the day, the project was so immersive and collaborative that it left a huge mark on Heinz, not just as a physical marker, but as a creative benchmark. Atkins spoke up again towards the end of their work together and said, “I’ve really had the feeling that this is a once in a lifetime project. I’m sure not me, or anyone else who’s worked on it will do anything quite like this again.”