In a culture increasingly plagued by matters of health and well being, there are a plethora of new brands that are looking to help consumers optimize their health. Perceptions of the body are shifting and steering new directions for brands and culture as a whole. As these brands proliferate, we’re noticing two different fields of thought when it comes to brand design. Some brands are sticking with an age-old earnest visual language, while others are setting the pace by talking about health and wellness in new ways. (This is especially true in the land of organic.) So which field of thought is more effective?

Recently, we’ve been working heavily in the area of health and wellness. Drawing on our own experience in this sector, we have found that good living and good food no longer has just one aesthetic. Instead, we’ve noticed that the brands that are succeeding in the increasingly crowded space and successfully standing out have something in common, no matter whether they hold close to the tried and true aesthetic of health, or whether they venture into less-charted territory.

Brands in this sector often begin as challenger brands: brands that are shifting current paradigms; changing the way we think and eat. But now that health is becoming a buzz worthy topic, the big dogs like Target, Wal-Mart and Kraft have climbed aboard too. So what do successful brands in the realm of health have in common? They know who they are and they design for it. While that may seem obvious, all resilient brands understand what it is that consumers love about them, and they nurture that. Our job as designers is to help bring these brand truths to life, creating new and innovative languages for health, or reinventing old languages to express health in new ways.

We’ve watched the healthy landscape change significantly in the past 10 years. Now, a healthy diet can be happy, vibrant, and full of life. And design is changing to reflect that. Simply Balanced is a new brand from Target that seeks to share a healthier future with consumers. Though the products themselves are amazing, Target has always been a strong advocate for design and Simply Balanced is no exception. We helped Target elevate their food offering into a vibrant and expressive brand using a striking photographic style that celebrates good food, is appetizing and exciting, and stands out on shelf from the normal cues of the health food sector.

On the other end of the spectrum, GoMacro is a small Macrobiotic brand that was having trouble conveying the benefits of Macrobiotics to their consumer. The brand’s approach differs from Simply Balanced in that it still uses many of the tried and true cues of the organic sector. That said, it certainly doesn’t lean on those alone. Consumers are now looking for the do-it-all brands; brands that not only look better, but can also help us live better lives and GoMacro fits the bill; a brand that is accessible, celebratory, and wholesome. These days, with a new look and revitalized brand strategy, GoMacro is sharing the amazing world of Macrobiotics with a growing consumer base on a much larger scale.

Another brand we’ve had the good fortune to work with is an excellent lesson in compromise. As in, don’t. Shazi Visram started Happy Family in an effort to bring healthy, organic superfoods into families’ lives, fueling up a healthier future for our kids. The brand has done amazingly well, and was recently acquired by Danone. But despite the rapid expansion, Happy Family has not compromised their standards, their perspective on healthy food, their business practices, or their commitment to design. Despite changes in their ownership, the brand essence and product quality is just as reflective of its values today as they were when Shazi started the company in 2006.

While these are all brands that we have been fortunate enough to work with, the same design truths apply to the broader brand landscape and we feel that they’re indicative of a monumental shift in consumer desire. Whether you’re a challenger brand or an icon, when it comes to health, consumers no longer want to feel restricted. Instead, healthy eating is becoming a part of a celebratory lifestyle. As products and innovations in health grow, this sector will continue to expand and designers have a huge opportunity to affect change on the future of what healthy eating will look like. Using design we are able to help nurture brands big and small to redefine the language of health, revamp the classics, and help brands hold tight to their roots, creating a brighter, healthier, and more beautiful food future for us all.

Originally published on The Dieline