As one of Malta’s most popular savoury snacks, a rebranding of Twistees was always going to be controversial. But the temporary packaging launched to mark Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture, is getting hate from almost every designer on the island.
Now, one graphic designer has taken to Facebook to prove that anybody could have done a better job.
“Twistees Malta, take notes,” Yanov Cutajar said on Facebook yesterday as he shared his designs. The packet design attached bears some recognisable features, like the famous font and the popular Twistees chef. Other than that, however, the packaging looks remarkably different; cleaner and more minimalistic. A few hours later, another photo followed… this time including a simple graphic of Valletta’s skyline and the Valletta 2018 logo.
The design quickly gained traction online, with people expressing how much they prefer the fan-made design.
“This was me trying to practice on packaging design,” Yanov told Lovin Malta. “I wanted to steer away from my usual everyday design work and I wanted to try this because I absolutely love Twistees.” In fact, Yanov explained how, while some people seemed to believe he was hating on Twistees, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The hardest bit was finding a high-resolution image of the Twistees logo,” the young designer said. “I eventually ended up recreating it by tracing it. While I was at it, I contemplated on whether the little guy should get a remake of his own, but I think he’s way too iconic to change, so I left him as is.”
Even though Yanov clearly tried to breathe new life into the classic packet, he constantly stressed out just how much he wanted to respect the roots of the old snack. In fact, when one person pointed out that he should’ve kept the original brown and yellow design, Yanov elaborated with, “I tried to keep as much from the older design. I don’t think the original colours are actually brown and yellow, but purple and yellow. The brown might’ve actually been a misprint or might look like that because of printing on packets!”
Twistees’ original packaging, the newly unveiled 2018 edition, and Yanov’s suggested design
Inevitably, Yanov’s design made it to the popular Facebook group The Salott, where the discussion waged on. And this being the tiny island of Malta where word travels at the speed of light, it didn’t take long for Mr. Calleja, the owner of Strand Palace Agencies Ltd himself (the company behind the production of Twistees), to reply.
“He obviously defended the new packaging, but specified that it’s not a redesign,” Yanov said. “We are not seeking to redesign the original packaging,” Mr. Calleja explained. “These are an addition.”
The graphic designer took the rare opportunity to speak to one of the brand’s higher-ups, quickly reaffirming, “My point is, the limited edition designs are shit,” to which the owner simply replied, “That’s your opinion and it’s noted with thanks”.
Yanov did apologise for his harsh comments, but added that, “design matters big time, and the limited addition came across in a very negative way to your Average Joe, let alone the design community.” He even offered his design free of charge, asking just for a lifetime supply of Twistees in return.
Mr. Calleja, however, would not have it. “Thanks, but as I said, we are not seeking to redesign the packaging. If we were to consider a redesign, we would first ask our loyal clients or maybe make a competition.”
So there you have it guys; the new Twistees packaging is not going anywhere, so maybe it’s good to focus on the taste of some of the newer flavours instead… equally controversial, yet surprisingly tasty.
In the meantime, here’s hoping Yanov still manages to make some sort of headway with his proposition. “The offer really stands,” Yanov told Lovin Malta. “No money. Just a lifetime supply of Twistees. Please?”