On the GO! with Student Awards Judge Matthew Clark

In a cats and dog-eat-dog world

May 5, 2020

On the GO! with Student Awards Judge Matthew Clark

UBC alumni Matthew Clark is Founder & Creative Director of Subplot Design Inc. in Vancouver  

And next month, Matthew will be one of 16 judges reviewing our 2020 Student Awards entries – deadline May 22. He's also currently on Applied Arts advisory committee, and we thought he'd be a perfect choice on our Student Awards jury as not only is Matthew an internationally recognized creative director and designer, he is also an author, mentor and public speaker known for his opinionated (amusingly?) take on branding, design, and the world of marketing and advertising (as evidenced by the clever and insightful industry one-liners on an infinite – almost subliminal – loop on Subpot's homepage). In short, Matthew Clark CGD is a branding expert.

Matthew's work, which focuses on retail branding and packaging, has been recognized with over 200 local, national and international awards; has been published in over 75 articles worldwide; and is part of the permanent collections of the Chicago Athenaeum Museum and the Design Exchange. He is also a drawer, painter, and sword-play-dance-party-pantomime dad and husband.

But all that fun at home and work word-play is really a cover for a very disciplined designer, who stays ahead of the competition by being able to solve challenging problems – like taking a "not sexy" product line with a gazillion variations, and paring it down to one deceptively simple solution. That's the kind of design challenge students must plug through to hone their skills before they can go bat-crazy on fun products with only one pretty package to design. Students take note: it's kinda like the real world in which we work.

Here's one perfect example of that. It's one of Matthew's recent packaging design solutions for pet food. Subplot bills their design sweet spot as "packaging for people". And in the world of pet food, the target audience is actually, most definitely, a person ... in this case, a conscientious (or fussy) pet owner wanting to quickly grab the correct package for their little precious one's dinner from a brand they trust. 



Petcurean Pet Nutrition is a proudly Canadian company that creates premium-quality pet food recipes. Their GO! SOLUTIONS™provides solutions for pets' unique dietary needs. To celebrate its 20th anniversary Petcurean announced the relaunch of its GO! SOLUTIONS™ wet food collection with new recipes for dogs and cats in Tetra Pak®cartons. Once again, Petcurean worked with Subplot Design Inc.not only to overhaul the new wet food packaging, but to breathe new life into the entire GO! SOLUTIONS product range.

“GO! SOLUTIONS wet food recipes are pocket-sized packs of solutions-based nutrition that have been specifically formulated to support pets with unique dietary needs and preferences, including those who thrive on higher levels of meat protein, those with food sensitivities who may benefit from a limited number of ingredients, and those who are simply picky eaters,”explains Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, Nutrition Manager at Petcurean. “In addition, the switch to Tetra Pak cartons offers pet parents a convenient and sustainable packaging option, with improved brand information to help them make the best possible food choices for their pet.”

“We worked very hard with Petcurean to bring a boldness and clarity to the packaging, and really showcase the ‘solution’ of each recipe, whether Wet Food, Kibble or Meal Mixers”, says Matthew Clark. “This simplicity when combined with such a visually appealing product really sets it apart on the shelf”.

"Along with the bold new prominence given to each solution and recipe on the front panel, an icon panel identifies key product attributes such as the premium proteins, protein percentages, special functional ingredients and grain-free recipes."

"Subplot was responsible for all concept, design and production of the packaging, as well as Retail and Trade displays, and an ID system to drive all retail and consumer promotions."



Concept & Design: Subplot Design Inc.

Lead Designer: Matthew Clark

Copywriting: Pete Pallet Writes

Photography: David Ellingsen & Rick Etkin

Printing: WJ Packaging Solutions, Tetra Pak

Client: Petcurean Pet Nutrition