The Skittles brand refresh is a “nonsensical” nod to the sweet’s nostalgic and absurdist qualities

Elmwood London elevates Skittles’ impact across the physical and digital realm, and it’s nothing but fun.

2 May 2024

Elmwood London has partnered with the Mars Wrigley team to deliver an upbeat brand refresh for Skittles. The packaging boasts a fresh typographic spin, a heightened vibrancy to its signature rainbow and a new layout giving it a flowing visual effect.

The agency aimed to create a greater sense of continuity for the Skittles brand, “on the basis of a fresh, adaptable design language”, as the product is available to purchase across 180 countries, Paul O’Brien, design director at Elmwood tells us. “It was important that the design allowed the rainbow to flex and have fun but remain iconically Skittles across the global market,” he adds.

The typography is kicked up a notch, particularly seen in the slight kick on the ‘K’. This paired with the logo’s now deeper shadow amplifies it among all of the new and peculiar – but undeniably Skittles – characteristics. This does two things: it gives the brand a more amalgamated feel throughout its ranges, be it ‘squishy cloudz’ or ‘wild berry’. It also allows these new and amplified characteristics throughout the different range packaging to run wild, from its more vibrant rainbow to its more spread out and flying lentil-shaped sweets and slogans.


Elmwood London: Skittles (Copyright © Mars Inc, 2024)

With all of the changes it was also important to maintain Skittles’ distinctively lo-fi and quirky tone of voice, which Elmwood captures in what it refers to as ‘nonsensical’. “It’s our way of dialling up the brand’s ability to tell a great story,” says Paul. “Nonsensical elevates the distinctive appeal of the brand and allows it to be deployed in a way that’s super fun and inherently shareable. It’s a tool that can be reinvented over and over again in relation to emerging cultural themes on pack, out of the home and in digital spaces”. This ‘nonsensical’ approach enables the brand to remain an affectionate marker of nostalgia for those who have grown up with the product, while also loudening its presence for the Gen Z audience through its absurdist angle.

As such, Skittles becomes part of an aesthetic that seeks to refresh the past, but in its own eccentric way. It makes for the perfect playback. The refresh features taglines such as “taste the rainbow, refresh the rainbow” and “is it a bird”, pointing to the fact that these lentil-based treats are now descending on – meteorite-style – Stonehenge and The Grand Canyon. We recently saw this trend play out in Snapchat’s Less Social Media campaign, amping up the filter features of the app alongside Facebook album-esque documentations of friends, partners and family. It seeked to display the app as a less anxiety-inducing, sad or distressing space, and more fun, silly and lighthearted. What made it absurd though, was the fusing of these two worlds in such a visually chaotic way, while staying true to Snapchat.

Skittles too has stayed true to the brand. But only this time, we don’t only want to taste the rainbow, we may be up for a ride through the sky on one of the lentils. The brand refresh shows us that there is power in going beyond packaging, tapping into how the brand’s aesthetics are perceived in other realms. In one of the assets for the refresh, there is a window error asking viewers if they wish to ‘escape common sense’ with the option ‘yes plz’. It’s engaging, fun and ever so subtly infuses the rainbow into a nostalgic aesthetic.

GalleryElmwood London: Skittles (Copyright © Mars Inc, 2024)

Hero Header

Elmwood London: Skittles brand refresh (Copyright © Skittles, 2024)

Share Article

About the Author

Yaya Azariah Clarke

Yaya (they/them) joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in June 2023 and became a staff writer in November of the same year. With a particular interest in Black visual culture, they have previously written for publications such as WePresent, alongside work as a researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.