CyctoSport’s New Muscle Milk Protein Bars

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When Cytosport, maker of Mus­cle Milk® pro­tein bars, decided to launch a new series of bars with a new pack­age design, they tried pho­tog­ra­phy first. But to rep­re­sent their prod­uct in the most deli­cious way pos­si­ble, they needed a blend of real­ism and fan­tasy. That was a job for illus­tra­tion. It had to look as good as it tastes.

Cytosport called on me to do super-real illus­tra­tions of the new bars for their pack­ag­ing, say­ing they liked the “bal­ance of real­ism and fan­tasy” in my food work.

They sent me one pro­to­type of each bar that I was to use for ref­er­ence. I did take some of my own pho­tos of these bars to start with, break­ing, cut­ting, slic­ing, and dis­tort­ing them to get a vari­ety of effects. From there, it was time to ven­ture into the more sub­tle areas of emo­tional and gus­ta­tory communication.

Yes, I tasted the pro­to­type bars too.

The final art would be partly an image from the client’s imag­i­na­tion, yet the goal was a very pre­cise look. My job was to add sub­stance to the image in their minds. They would know it when they saw it.









“Real­is­tic”, with an ele­ment of “fan­tasy”, but not “car­toony”. “We want deli­cious­ness,” said the Cytosport mar­ket­ing manager.

We went back and forth with com­ments and new vari­a­tions quite a few times, each one get­ting closer to the client’s mark. “Appeal­ing, moist, tex­tured, yummy, more choco­latey, more caramel, smoother, less grainy inte­rior”. These are some of the terms we bat­ted around  while I made sub­tle vari­a­tions until it looked just right.



Mus­cle Milk bars in their new packages

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