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Gatorade Fruit Punch Bottle

— One —

Function Cries Uncle

Do Your F-Holes Articulate Form or that Other Thing?

What a thing does should pretty much govern what it looks like. And feels like. And acts like. This maxim’s been deeply ingrained into just about every fledgling designer’s psyche. The sole principle that deters them from adorning every project with glossy pink hearts. Purity of function–that’s what imbues any design with an irrevocable, enduring beauty.

umbrella sketch toothbrush sketch
So … let’s grab the wheel
and yank left.

We’ll imagine I’m living the dream, an admired, in-demand luthier. More specifically, I design signature six-string scepters for rock royalty.

Four acclaimed guitar ninjas appear in the doorway of my studio. Each wants a new axe. Something exclusive. Considered. Nonpareil. My designer cortex kicks in, reminds me, “Ideal functionality must dictate the form’s aesthetics. A refined purity of purpose shall override any gratuitous nod to flash.”

Meanwhile, one shredder tells me, “I want a guitar that sounds like cape buffaloes mating.” A second grumbles, “Bloody Strats, they make me look short.” The third opines, “These new polycarb soundboards are a bitch to set fire.” While the final strummer simply states, “I want to sell a gazillion on eBay.”

cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch

Should I ask the archetypal guitar, “What exactly do you want? What aesthetic form would most effectively help you fulfill your raison d’être?”

A completely misguided question. Poetic musings aside, guitars want zilch. They’re tactical bundles of wood and wire existing sans intent until some lanky wanker wields one to craft a beatific solo. Express a lethal emotion. Seduce a flight attendant. Or persuade some desperate wannabe to shell out for a signature model.

Does this diversity of intent on the part of each guitarist bastardize the instrument’s essential function? Or does it indicate a broader, more pragmatic palette of purpose, one driven by infinite potential rather than functional purity?

ninja star sketch ninja star sketch
Hmmm … insert lengthy rhetorical pause … I choose “both of the above.”

The time has come to rethink design’s intellectual propensity to honor pure function as the sole mother of form, prioritized over every other ancillary consideration. In this pragmatic, shifting world of mongrel axeboys, the ideal has become a figment.

Our most solid design choices must be driven by a holistic combination of forces, not the least being user intent. Otherwise our best efforts are doomed to become exercises in irrelevance.

Good Design Tells an
Intentional Story

One driven less by an idealized functionality,
and more by our reckless dreams.

fhole sketch fhole sketch
nautilus sketch sandal sketch banana sketch bicycle sketch chair sketch silverware sketch toothbrush sketch umbrella sketch watch sketch
cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch cloud sketch
ninja star sketch ninja star sketch
fhole sketch fhole sketch

— Two —

Gatorade G Series

Accommodating Athletic Intent

With the launch of a single product, Gatorade created a whole new industry. Way back when.

raspberry sketch lemon sketch cross out raspberry cross out lemon

Then, as so often happens, various ‘me-too’ offerings began to encroach on the territory they had first staked out, each promising some beneficial additive or unique flavor profile.

And suddenly they realized—Raspberry Lemonade wasn’t really an innovation strategy.
gatorade thumbnails

When the Gatorade team challenged us to envision a future that could authentically redefine and expand their brand, we rolled up our sleeves—and we started crafting a story. A story that mixed all the swagger of Gatorade’s authentic sports past with the advances in nutritional science and innovation. A story built around athletic intention—and the real gear it requires.

gatorade thumbnails gatorade thumbnails gatorade thumbnails
gatorade thumbnails gatorade thumbnails
gatorade thumbnails
gatorade thumbnails

The Hierarchy of Intention

Communicating Intent Via Package & Label Design

Brand: Gatorade

Authenticates a trusted heritage of sports innovation and effective hydration delivery during athletic performance. Reaffirms the brand’s established relationship with the consumer, a bond that gives G Series products a distinct advantage over competitors with less stellar legacies.

Family: G Series

Identifies each product as a unique element within a larger functional system.

Fit Performance Pro

Identifies the target athlete based on training objectives and intensity. Differentiated by name, colorway, and overall visual cues, these distinct platforms are offered in specialized retail channels relevant to their specific targets.

the complete Gatorade line the complete Gatorade line

Prime Perform Recover

Segmentation by intention clearly defines the specific performance benefit for which each unique offering within the system has been formulated.

the core Gatorade line the core Gatorade line G Series Prime G Series Perform G Series Recover

Label Taxonomy

Gatorade Label Taxonomy Fruit Punch Gatorade Label Taxonomy Fruit Punch
Flavor Window

The soul of the brand, expressed through the active shape and the transparent bolt, provides a flavor-reinforcing window to the product.


Nutritional benefits reinforce the genuine science behind the athletic swagger, all delivered in a voice relevant to the athlete.

Flavor Name

Secondary flavor indicator.

Intention Name

Gatorade occasion name enhances consumer understanding of product intention and identifies its role within the series.

Intention Number

Bold occasion number reiterates the intended use and role within the larger series.

The design of the Gatorade cooler makes dunking easier.

It’s 10 gallons of pure passion that’s now as physically evolved as the athletes it serves. A lot goes into a Gatorade cooler (not just Gatorade). There’s physics, polymer selection, design aesthetics, 3D renderings, color mapping and delivery theory, to name a few.

Tilted Internal Structure

No more Gatorade lolly-gagging around the bottom of the cooler. This nifty design tactic streamlines Gatorade product straight into cup after ever-ready cup.

The High-Flow Valve

When not in dunk mode, the cooler’s primary job is dispensing Gatorade product quickly. Notice the evolution of the quick-release hydration valve for just such a feat.

Dunking Handles

Integral to the cooler evolution, these handy additions make for maximum “dunkability.” The two-handed approach spreads out the payload while optimizing aim and steering.

Evolving The Dunk

Jim Burt and Harry Carson doused Parcells in ’84. Chicago Bears’ defensive tackle Dan Hampton claims he dumped it on Ditka in ’84 first. Whatever you believe, the phenomenon gained national attention after the Giants’ 17 game winning season that ended with them winning Super Bowl XXI.

Elements of a Successful Dunk

  • Gatorade Dunk Cooler Illustration
    Cooler with Gatorade
  • Gatorade Dunk Players Illustration
  • Gatorade Dunk Coach Illustration
  • Gatorade Dunk Trophy Illustration
    Sweet, Sweet Victory

The Unofficial Guide to Dunking Techniques

Known around the world as the Gatorade Dunk (also the victory shower or the winners bath), this peculiar ritual has turned into as finely a tuned science as the storied electrolyte-laden elixir itself. This iconic christening of champions now ranks among the most coveted and photographed ceremonial gestures in all of sports.

  • Classic Dunk Coach Classic Dunk Splash Classic Dunk Players

    The Classic


    Also referred to as‚ “Your Basic.” Two dunkers hold the cooler on either side via the dunk-friendly handles. Dunkers approach unsuspecting victim and empty contents over his/her head.

  • Mob Dunk Team Mob Dunk Player

    The Mob


    Primarily reserved for championship events or international competition due to the high probability of added airtime for the athletes. Dunk requires four or more dunkers, plus an additional player to create a diversion. Also referred to as “The Hairy Mob.”

  • Vesuvius Dunk Team
    Vesuvius Dunk Coach

    The Vesuvius


    Virtually unused due to logistical pre-planning involved. Two sets of dunkers carry identical coolers, converging on the target from off-setting 45-degree angles. Bonus points awarded if dunks occur simultaneously. Deluge has been known to knock victim off his/her feet.

  • Reverse Dunk Music Reverse Dunk Player Reverse Dunk Coach

    The Reverse


    On very rare occasions, the tables turn in favor of the potential target—sensing an impending dunk, the target surprises the dunker(s) before they can get “Locked & Loaded,” takes the cooler away, showers them with Gatorade, and proceeds to do the victory dance unscathed.

  • Sub Zero Dunk Coach Sub Zero Dunk Headset Sub Zero Dunk Ice

    The Sub Zero


    Usually reserved for coaches who rely on negative reinforcement as learning techniques (ie: wind-sprints, stairs, extra push-ups, etc.) Dunkers mix 85% ice, 10% Gatorade, 5% pure spite and stir lightly. Bonus points for catching victim’s “Shock Face” on camera. (Caution: Do not attempt in situations under 22°F.)

  • Hercules Dunk Splash Hercules Dunk Player

    The Hercules


    Reserved for the mightiest athletes, this technique requires the trifecta—strength, stamina and accuracy. Dunker hoists cooler on one shoulder, lumbers towards target, and “shot-puts” the contents onto the unsuspecting victim. Not recommended for novices or athletes of non-contact sports.

Tether Poll

What non-athletic occasions should be celebrated with a Gatorade Dunk?
Make your voice heard. Vote below.

— Three —

Calamitous Black
and Polonium Blue

Sometimes Design Tells an Unintentional Story

Should a logo be self-explanatory? It is only by association with a product, a service, a business, or a corporation that a logo takes on any real meaning. It derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolizes.

Paul Rand

With all due respect to the venerable guru of brand design, Paul Rand is not 100% correct about logos. Even without context, a heart says caring. Greek pillars stand for tradition and authority, a sunrise for a new beginning.

Drawing on these ideograms, designers telegraph a lot of meaning and emotion: love, hope, trust—or perhaps utter, creeping dread.

pantone swatches

Take the logo for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency: a black bat superimposed over a midnight blue globe. While the Chinese associate bats with longevity and happiness, most of the world takes the bat as a symbol of evil, disease, and death. Spreading its wings across the world, the GRU bat tells a story of villainy ripped from the pages of a James Bond novel.

You can’t help but wonder what the creative brief might have said: “The new GRU identity must capture our brand personality traits: nocturnal, omnipresent, sinister, and supernaturally powerful. It should reflect our positioning as a global leader in espionage and assassination. Further, it should differentiate us from the competition by avoiding the stodgy, institutional, or respectable. And finally, it should make use of our new brand colors, Calamitous Black and Polonium Blue.”

Maybe this is unfair to the dedicated civil servants of the GRU, who, as far as we know, work honestly and diligently to safeguard their fellow citizens. But logos tell a story, not just about what we can expect from an organization, but about how these organizations want to be seen. And this logo screams, “People of the world: Fear us. We are everywhere.

And we will come for you in blackest night.”



Our secret sauce for
crafting stories that

  • know where you live.
  • fear no screen.
  • make you say “aaaah.”
  • crack the norm.
  • know who your friends are.
  • respond to no vaccine.
  • refuse to pipe down.
  • tether us together.


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