An arid desert landscape. A woman with a television as a head. Slim fingers brandishing glossy lacquered red nails. Highly recognizable and completely eye grabbing, the imagery on R+Co products certainly captivates—and the brainchild behind both the brand’s iconography and names, R+Co creative director Amanda Wall, is equally captivating. Here, she shares how a mountain range set the wheels in motion for R+Co’s brand aesthetic and how Alice in Wonderland and an obsession with tea fueled the newest launch, TEACUP Peacholine + Kombucha Detox Rinse.
How did you come to design R+Co’s iconic package imagery?
Amanda Wall: When I first started at R+Co, I was coming into the brand as a fashion stylist for photography. A design firm had done a rough design of the R+Co packaging. I'd never done packaging before or any type of professional graphic design. I knew that I obviously had an aesthetic that was strong and I knew that I was a bit of a stylist tastemaker. I had confidence in my aesthetic and my ability to create an image. I just felt like that firm’s initial design for R+Co was good but it didn't speak to me as a consumer.
Were you invited to the table to redesign it?
Amanda Wall: No, because no one knew I designed anything. I didn't even know I designed things yet. I was working as a stylist, an art director, a casting director—not a graphic artist for products. But I was brought into a meeting, and I kept putting my hand up and saying, "I don't think this is right”; the look of the brand isn’t what I would respond to—and I was R+Co’s target demographic.
Later, I was back home in Los Angeles, and I saw mountains as I was driving. It just occurred to me, "Oh my God, an image should be on the packaging to go with the names." Plus, this was at the beginning of Instagram—this idea of sharing images was kind of interesting to me. So that's really where the brand’s visual concept came from.
Once you had this idea, what did you do?
Amanda Wall: I started to patch things together in Photoshop because I didn't really know how to use design programs that well. I looked online for photos that I could comp up to present to R+Co. I had a lot of box- and round-shaped bottles in my house, so I was just printing out labels on my computer and taping them together. Give me an inch …. The idea was so compelling to me. I was so excited by the idea that I was just like: This is it. This is what has to be the brand. And when I presented it, they loved it.
What is your process like?
Amanda Wall: Names are harder. I have more images than I have names. If I’m struggling, I read a lot and I have a lot of books in my apartment, so I'll just open up a book and skim through writers that I like. A lot of times there are names that I might have wanted more but we couldn't get, and it becomes a process to change the identity of what I’m already married to in my mind. Even when I'm looking for the images, I'll try at least like 20, 30 images for each bottle. The one I decide is really always the right one. It's a serious process.
As the creative director, you’ve dreamt up so many images and names for the products—the latest being TEACUP Peacholine + Kombucha Detox Rinse. How did you come up with it?
Amanda Wall: I was given the secondary names and the function: Its got Kombucha and Peacholine, and it is a detox. It’s this wellness cleanse kind of thing. Whenever I'm feeling sick and want to feel better, I like to drink tea—I drink a lot of tea. I like the idea of a teacup with an Alice in Wonderland surreal feel. That's what I think of when I think of a teacup—the teacup ride at Disneyland, the Mad Hatter Tea Party, all of that. I think it's fun.
Amanda Wall: Oh, please. Give me my moon landing. I need it!
Listen to the full conversation on R+Co Talk Radio or click below to learn more.