The story:

In 2011, lawyer Justin Woolverton made a career change and started ice cream brand Halo Top Creamery. Prior to, Woolverton had been making the frozen dessert at home casually, working to perfect a clean and healthy recipe to satisfy the desires of those wanting to fuel their bodies instead of sabotage them. The finished product hit store shelves mid-2012. Decadent Halo Top ice cream is unique: low calorie — an entire pint is less than 300 — but all natural. The brand is proud to say the treat is protein-rich and sugar-poor, as well as real and substantial tasting because of the top-shelf ingredients used.

The challenge:

“Halo Top exists to give people a healthy food option that actually tastes good and doesn’t feel like sacrifice,” says Woolverton. “We’re not going to defeat the obesity crisis by getting people to eat less; Americans, at least, aren’t hardwired that way. Instead, we need smarter food options. Take ice cream, for example. A serving of ice cream is a half cup — a mere quarter of a pint. Who really eats just a quarter of a pint of ice cream? I think a lot of people eat the entire pint in one sitting (I certainly do). Halo Top allows you to take down the entire pint for the same calorie count, or even lower, than a meager quarter pint of the regular stuff.”

The brand recently redesigned the packaging to better reflect the messaging of healthy as well as to greater stand out on shelf.

“Halo Top’s brand primarily lives and breathes in carton form on an already busy ice cream shelf,” says Woolverton. “We knew the success of the brand and design started and ended there. The brand needed to remain fun, fresh and youthful while capitalizing on the healthful characteristics of the product. Not to mention, this stuff is truly tasty. There was a lot to communicate in the 4-inch-tall carton.”

A major challenge was how to communicate the good and delicious ingredients but not fall prey to the conventions of the category.

“Probably the biggest challenge, however, was determining which benefits of Halo Top would take center stage — a good problem to have, but getting that message across quickly and with impact was key,” says Woolverton. “Halo Top is low calorie and high protein, two major selling points when it comes to health-conscious consumers. Ultimately, the low-calorie benefits won out. That number was just too strong of a point, and it also allowed us to show a per-pint serving instead of a per-half cup serving. This way, you can save a bowl. Just grab the whole pint and your favorite spoon.”

The solution:

“Our goal in developing the brand identity was to balance the three major characteristics of Halo Top ice cream. First, it is ice cream that’s good for you. Second, we use all-natural ingredients that are unparalleled in this category. Finally, the flavor is so good, it will make you question whether you are buying this for health benefits or just because it’s so tasty.”

Vibrant, clean graphics and text grace the new package.

“We used bright colors and simple patterns to keep the packaging fresh,” says Woolverton. “Tying it all together, the gold edge of the lid naturally serves as a recognizable and appropriate halo for the product.

“Halo Top is in a category (natural, ice cream) where brands often show a picture of the product or ingredients on the label. Halo Top is different. We also didn’t want to make the consumer spend an excessive amount of time in the grocery aisle reading the label. We knew we would have to showcase the ingredients in a new, simpler way.

“One way we accomplished that was through the use of illustration, particularly on the ingredients. By doing so, we were able to further develop the personality of the brand and give a peek at what’s inside.”

The brand continues the uncomplicated, smooth information communication on the reverse side of the cartons.

“On the back of the packaging, you’ll notice the key ingredients and the distinguishing elements of Halo Top called out very clearly in bold letters,” says Woolverton. “Consumers can easily read why Halo Top is the best option for their health and indulgence.

“Halo Top is serious about making a delicious and healthy alternative to the other guys, but at the end of the day, this is all about our love for ice cream,” he finishes. “We had to keep that aspect of fun front and center in the packaging.” 


Halo Top

  1. The calorie count of the entire carton is prominently featured in the design. A half-cup serving of Halo Top contains     only 60 calories; competing brands run in the 100 to 300 range for the same amount.
  2. Cheerful patterns decorate the packages of several flavors, revealing the composition of the ice cream inside.
  3. The gold edge of the lid represents the brand name and gives the line an aura on shelf.