Tracey Thompson

Product Design Leader, SF Bay Area

Fire Arts Fuel Packaging

How can design address the needs of a reluctant niche market?

Working Sketches
Brand X

Niche markets can present an exciting challenge. While some niche markets value premium products directed at their demographic, other niche markets are more cautious. For example, Fire Arts communities like Interpretive Arson tend to value a “do-it-yourself” attitude. Communities like this often either reject branding perceived to be too commercial or find ways to “hack” existing products to meet their specific needs.

For Brand X fire fuels I set out to understand how a commercial product like fuel might be directed at a fire artists specific needs while retaining the do-it-yourself feel of fire art. I also wanted to address the dichotomy between the elements of grace, strength and beauty associated with this form of expression and the sense of danger associated with the act of playing with fire.

My design suggests strength and gracefulness through a simplified flame logo and bold colors. This design also plays up the sense of danger by devoting significant back and side panel real estate to extensive warning labels about both the fuel type and general fire arts safety. I also addressed the product’s “hackability” by creating a design for empty contains that would be made available for artists to create their own custom mixes.