Taylor Knox #2 – Energy Drink Label Design | Episode #117

Taylor Knox (NutraMedia): Energy Drink Label Design on the PricePlow Podcast

Taylor Knox is back on the PricePlow Podcast to talk about what NutraMedia has learned in making better energy drink labels that are more affordable for brands and manufacturers!

Taylor Knox of NutraMedia is back for his second installment of the PricePlow Podcast. This time, we met early in the morning before SupplySide West 2023, where we had a great conversation about energy drink labels.

Taylor already explained their label design process and “brand therapy” on Episode #087, but this episode is almost entirely about energy drink design and the business surrounding it.

If you want an epic energy drink label — nearly on par with what the geniuses at GHOST have been able to do — but don’t want to pay the extreme amounts of money it takes to make it, then TK and his team at NutraMedia are your team.

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Show Notes: Going to Brand Therapy with Taylor Knox

Taylor Knox - NutraMedia

Don’t miss the original episode #087 with Taylor! NutraMedia is well-known for epic label designs, but also realize that they help with branding in general, taking companies to “brand therapy”

  • 0:00 – (Re-)Introductions

    Mike and Ben welcome back Taylor Knox from NutraMedia on Episode #117 of the PricePlow Podcast. Ben discusses his recent activities in Las Vegas, where he’s been since Saturday for a work event and has been attending industry meetings and looking forward to podcasts, including this one with NutraMedia. Taylor talks about the impact of a previous podcast (Episode #087) on their strategies and growth, mentioning their work at their respective headquarters. They also discuss the Arnold Expo, their businesses, and the collaborative nature of their work.

  • 6:30 – Can Design

    Taylor discusses his experiences at industry events, focusing on NutraMedia’s work with cans and sleeves in the beverage industry. He highlights the challenges and intricacies of can design, particularly when it comes to features like texture and gloss.

    Taylor shares his experience with MacroCap, an emerging energy drink company, and the complexities of producing sleeves with specific embellishments. They delve into the technical aspects of sleeve production, including the difficulties of achieving the right balance of texture and shrink-fit on cans, and how GHOST has mastered these challenges through extensive testing and innovation.

  • 16:30 – Manufacturing Costs

    Taylor talks about the complexity and high costs involved in printing, emphasizing the difficulty of balancing quality with economical production. He shares his experiences with Supply Side West and the challenges of getting printed materials ready for the event. He talks about how major brands like GHOST have set high standards in the industry with their intricate printing and design techniques, and he expresses his goal to make similar quality printing more accessible and affordable for smaller brands.

    Ben highlights the high barriers to entry in the industry, even for basic private labeling, and Taylor explains his efforts to streamline the process and reduce costs, making high-quality, technically advanced printing more feasible for various clients.

  • 22:45 – On Imitation

    Ghost Energy Strawbango Margarita

    The incredible labeling on Ghost Energy Drink is a bit focus of this podcast

    Taylor expresses frustration with clients who push for imitation of successful brands, stressing the importance of creating authentic branding based on unique value systems and strategies. They also delve into the practical aspects of packaging production, where showing examples often misleads clients into thinking they are being encouraged to copy.

    The conversation further touches on the challenges of educating clients about the time and investment required for high-quality branding and product development, contrasting those who want quick turnarounds with brands that invest significantly in research and development.

  • 32:00 – Regulatory Landscape

    Taylor highlights the difficulties in balancing client expectations, technical limitations, and legal requirements, often finding himself in a consultant role for regulatory matters. They also touch on the variability in compliance and interpretation of FDA guidelines across different manufacturers and consultants.

    Ben adds his perspective, noting how some brands are either ignorant or negligent in label compliance, and Mike emphasizes the need for accuracy and legal responsibility in labeling.

  • 49:45 – The Complexity of Design

    Mike notes that adding another person to the design process can disrupt the creative flow and lead to operational complexities. Taylor illustrates this with an example of how changes in label design can affect multiple layers and files, requiring extensive file management and potentially leading to mistakes.

    Ben emphasizes the need for clients to respect the time and effort that goes into such work. He also points out the frustration of clients who are reluctant to pay fair prices for services yet make substantial profits from the work provided. They all agree on the importance of working with clients who understand and value their services. Taylor and Ben also discuss the importance of supporting their teams and the responsibility of ensuring fair compensation for their work.

  • 1:04:15 – Texture and Effects

    Taylor explains the process of creating texture and effects on beverage cans and labels, mentioning techniques like knockout, which refers to the base substrate color showing through, and the use of clear coats for tactile effects. They delve into the different steps involved in printing labels, starting with the choice of substrate (like metallic, rainbow, or white), then adding a white plate layer for color saturation, followed by the artwork layer, and finally, a laminate for protection and texture. Taylor also touches on the complexities of creating effects like sheen and vibrancy by varying the underlying white layer.

  • 1:11:30 – Intricate Details

    Taylor notes the importance of precise design to ensure proper stretching and adherence during the manufacturing process, especially for intricate details near the can’s seams. They also touch on the technical challenges and costs associated with custom can designs, highlighting the need for large production volumes to make such endeavors economically viable.

  • 1:19:45 – Expansion

    Taylor emphasizes his aspiration to expand beyond the current market, acknowledging that the budgets and timelines in larger, more established food expos are significantly bigger, which requires more extensive due diligence and preparation. They both agree on the importance of developing thorough protocols and processes now, so they are well-equipped for future challenges in new markets. Ben suggests formalizing their partnership to tackle these new ventures.

    Taylor also shares his excitement about upcoming projects that have the potential to make a global impact, changing the trajectory of his business. They touch upon the importance of being well-prepared for major trade shows like Expo West and discuss the complexities of website development as part of branding, highlighting the extensive effort and resources required for such projects.

  • 1:23:00 – The Branding Future of PricePlow

    Taylor Knox (NutraMedia): Energy Drink Label Design on the PricePlow Podcast

    Ben and Taylor discuss the potential for a rebrand of PricePlow. While there’s some consideration of a rename, they seem more inclined towards evolving the current brand, particularly refining its image rather than a complete overhaul. Mike suggests recording their first ‘brand therapy’ session, where they can delve into the branding process, potentially censoring sensitive parts for confidentiality.

    Mike and Ben acknowledge the value of the skull logo in their branding, representing their connection to sports nutrition and the edginess it brings to the brand. Taylor suggests that it might be time for the brand to adopt a more professional image, reflecting its growth and evolution. Mike and Ben see value in the idea, with Mike considering the potential benefits of showcasing the process to their audience, demonstrating how brand therapy works and its impact.

Where to follow Taylor and NutraMedia

Thank you TK for coming to our incredible BNB in Vegas before heading to the SSW Expo.

As always, subscribe to the PricePlow Podcast and leave us a 5-star review on your platform of choice!

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public. Mike is currently experimenting with a low Vitamin A diet.

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