Publication: The Dieline

How Design Is Giving American Politics a Brand New Look

January 17, 2018

Design in American politics doesn’t sound like it would be anything special—a little red, white, and blue, some stars and stripes, and you’re set. It’s practically what’s expected, so is there really any need to innovate beyond that?

Well, if 2017 was any indication, the answer is a resounding, “Hell yes.” And NYC brand and design agency CBX truly took this to heart when designing She Should Run, an organization that aims to expand the talent pool of women running for office in the United States.

“They didn’t want to look all the way like a political campaign,” explained Lesley Stordahl, Creative Director at CBX. After all, She Should Run is so much more than that—it goes beyond pushing people to nominate other women to run for office but also encourages, motivates, and inspires women so they themselves feel confident enough to run. It’s no surprise that women are underrepresented at all levels in the 500,000+ elected offices across the country. And without women in these roles, the cycle perpetuates itself, leaving young girls without role models in political office.

So how could CBX design She Should Run to help change the culture of women in politics at its […]

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How Medical Packaging Can Stop Sucking and Start Saving More Lives

January 15, 2018

Belsomra is a hell of a drug.

For an insomnia medication, this was a real breakthrough. The pill is an orexin inhibitor that targets the pathways of the brain which keep us awake, effectively shutting them off and telling the brain to go beddy-bye.

But because of the type of drug it was, it had to be packaged in a blister pack, not just to keep a prying child’s hands away, but because it would ruin the efficacy of the drug. Seems reasonable enough, right?

Now imagine that you haven’t slept since you don’t know when. Maybe you’re worried about losing your job. Maybe you have a couple kids that take up every last minute of your day. Maybe you have a set of nightly rituals and if one goes wrong, you know you won’t sleep tonight. Did you draw a warm bath? That First Rain incense burning? The heightened state of anxiety that plays out is just as routine as the sleepless nights.

“These are people whose lives and health are in jeopardy,” CBX Strategy Director Brian McDonagh says. “So here’s a medication that may solve all of your problems, but best of luck getting it out of the […]

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Designing For Women Without Being a Sexist Jerk

December 11, 2017

Remember all the hoopla over Bic Pens For Her? In one of the great, sexist product misfires of the past decade, Jezebel pointed out the sheer ridiculousness of a writing implement that could—gasp—finally be used by women.

Well, surprisingly enough, it was such a tremendous disaster that they’re still being sold. One quick Amazon search will give you all the proof you need that Bic For Her is alive and well, perhaps driven by the stubbornness of pen executives who refuse to think they were wrong and/or are possibly entertained by the hilarious Amazon comments they still continue to inspire to this day. It’s this particular kind of sexist branding and packaging that relies upon grossly outdated ideas and tired tropes that leaves many creatives asking:

How do we design in a way that will actually speak to what female consumers want?

Depot’s work on Bare skincare

“I think we look and listen to where women are at right now,” says design studio Depot’s founder Angela Spindler. “Things have changed and I feel we are now more than ever in a state of flux. Boundaries are blurring or disappearing. We don’t like being labeled or tidied into convenient categories, so […]

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What does Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Mean for the Future of Grocery Shopping?

June 29, 2017

You’ve probably heard this piece of not-so-little news: Amazon has acquired Whole Foods. And while the prospect of having fresh foods, specialty cheeses, and flax seeds delivered straight to our door sounds pretty amazing, we also wanted to dig a little deeper to learn what this acquisition might mean for the future of grocery shopping. We spoke with retail and branding experts Gregg Lipman and Todd Maute, Partners at CBX to gain more insight on what consumers can expect.


Gregg: Amazon is continuing to expand its reach and ubiquity as a supplier in all aspects of a consumer’s life. They’ll continue to lead with their disruptive model—using and creating progressive technologies to make services and products that will further entrench themselves into a person’s life and transform not only the way people shop but how they live.

Todd: Amazon’s goal is to be the world’s foremost customer centric company. Its muscle has always been its well-oiled logistical operations powered by the most sophisticated of data mining capabilities. With the acquisition of a 430 retail-location strong behemoth that has mastered […]

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Brand Transformation: What Have You Got to Lose?

December 1, 2014

By Satoru Wakeshima

We’ve all seen the movie: ugly duckling struggles to fit in, until one day she takes off her glasses, gets a makeover and presto, she’s transformed into the beautiful swan she was always meant to be. She’s turning heads as she walks down the hallway, and now the cool kid is asking her to the prom (cue music).

BRANDS DON’T HAVE PROMS But like the ugly duckling, many brands could use a transformation. Far too many brands are neglected and left to languish in a perpetual state of blah. Or even worse: their managers continue to invest time, budget and resources in a message that’s taking them down the wrong path.  Before a brand can arrive at the makeover moment, they must overcome a few common pitfalls that lead to being neglected.

OH, HOW YOU’VE CHANGED Most brands started with something unique that made them relevant: a product, a successful advertising campaign, or even a catchy jingle. But that uniqueness has a finite lifespan – brands lose relevancy over time because of changes in market dynamics, human behavior and culture. As the world changes, so must brands.

Once upon a time, Twinkies were packed in […]

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The Great Lemonation Imagination Collaboration

September 10, 2014

Brand agency CBX collaborated with 826NYC, an organization that helps under-resourced students in New York, to create design and packaging for a tropical oasis-style lemonade stand in New York City. The project was part of a special collaboration to support 826NYC’s project-based learning format.

For two months, students and agency creatives developed concept and design for the ‘Sweet ‘n Sour Chillville’ lemonade stand. The goal of the project was to spread the word about 826NYC’s mission while giving children of the program, who range in age from nine to 12, the chance to work side-by-side with the CBX creative team on everything from the naming of the business to the design of the logo, stand, signage, product packaging, and uniforms.

The stand was unveiled at Manhattan’s Flatiron Plaza on August 20, and 11 students from the organization interacted with the public, collecting donations and sharing the organization’s mission with their customers. The effort raised nearly $3,000 for the Brooklyn-based organization.

Under the students’ vision, the  10-ft. by 20-ft. installation was designed to resemble “a tropical oasis hidden in the heart of New York City’s steamy concrete jungle,” complete with a treasure chest cooler for the product, palm trees, […]

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Before & After: Terra Chips

March 31, 2014

TERRA® CHIPS INTRODUCES NEW LOOK FOR ITS ICONIC BLACK BAG New Packaging Design to Spotlight Unique Root Vegetables in Every Bag

Lake Success, NY, March 4, 2014—The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN), a leading organic and natural products company providing consumers with A Healthier Way of Life™, today announced a packaging refresh for its TERRA® brand root vegetable chips. The new look, designed by brand agency CBX, puts a modern spin on the brand’s classic black bag with dramatic food photography and a crisp architectural structure. Beyond the stylistic changes, the package refresh also highlights the real root vegetables in each blend through the use of icons at the bottom of every bag.

For more than two decades, TERRA® snacks have provided consumers with delicious vegetable chips made from a diverse set of root vegetables – including taro, kabocha squash, parsnip and beets – in a variety of vibrant colors and sophisticated blends. The new packaging gives consumers a more distinctive view of the vegetable experience that awaits them inside.

“The root vegetables that go into TERRA® set it apart from ordinary chips,” said Sam Garfinkel, Sr. Brand Manager of TERRA Chips. “Our packaging refresh puts these vegetables center […]

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Ten Years, Ten Lessons in Design

November 19, 2013

Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of CBX, has over ten years experience working in the creative industry. In this article, he describes the ten lessons he has learned over ten years in design. I have two young daughters, and every year at their birthday parties, as they lean in to blow out the candles on their cakes, I find myself reflecting back on every single year of their lives. So you might imagine that I’m also feeling sentimental about the tenth anniversary of CBX, the brand agency I helped found with some colleagues back in 2003. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the branding game over the course of a decade, and I’ve seen even more changes within our own company. My staff, my clients and my fellow partners have all taught me valuable lessons – at least one per year for the last ten years. And let me tell you: They’re not at all what you’d expect. Along the way, we’ve made Fem Care cool, drug stores chic and learned the hard way to “Keep it simple, stupid” (what I say to myself, not to my staff). So here are some of the most significant things […]

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A Client is a Client is a Client

August 15, 2013

By Rick Barrack

At the end of the day, we’re in the interpretation business. In many cases, good design is a sign of how well a client and agency work together. I can almost envision the behind-the-scenes interactions that went on to land at the end results. And I’m willing to bet my girls’ college tuitions that the most successful designs are the result of the agency and the client knowing exactly where each other stands. Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer and Founder of CBX, plays out a scenario for you on his personal life experience with clients and gives you five tips in how to avoid the “WTF” moments. Okay, here’s the scenario: Wife wants to redecorate the bedroom, complete with hardwood floors, wallpaper and furniture. Thinking of summer camp tuition for my two girls (not to mention their eventual college tuitions), I quote the immortal Tom Waits: “Let’s put a new coat of paint on this lonesome old town.” Bickering ensues, we call a truce, and I ring the contractor. Explain the general vibe we’re going for. Ask him to bring us some paint samples. So I’m all “WTF?” when he shows up a few days later with […]

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I Brand, Take Thee…

May 16, 2013

By Rick Barrack

You can learn about branding and brand loyalty from the unlikeliest places.

Take “The Newlywed Game.” (Bet you didn’t see that one coming – but I did say ‘unlikeliEST’!) Specifically the original version that premiered in 1966, with the eternally young Bob Eubanks as host.

I happened to catch a re-run of it on the Game Show Network recently, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, the premise is as simple as it is effective: recently married couples are split apart in two rooms and asked questions to determine how well they know their spouse. They are then each put in front of a live studio audience and asked to guess their spouse’s answers.   Hilarity, as well as full-on yelling matches and actual divorces, ensues. It’s not only terrific entertainment, but a show that contains some fascinating things that the astute observer can pick up on and still relate to today. Namely, how HARD it is to remember little details about your spouse! Especially in the hyper-branded world we live in.   For example, my wife is working out five days a week now—she’s an absolute machine, and the results are simply […]

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