Ernie Ball Accessory Packaging


Ernie Ball launched his line of guitar strings called “Slinky” in Tarzana, California, in 1962. Soon after, his custom gauge strings became a favorite among influential guitar players like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, and Buddy Guy. When first launching his line, Ernie designed the packaging using Day-Glo colors, differentiating the string gauges and making his products stand out on the shelves. As time passed, the strings and accessories created by Ernie would sell in more than 5,500 stores and be exported to more than 70 countries around the globe. Today the “Slinky” line is the top-selling guitar string worldwide, and Ernie’s brand is still fresh and appealing to guitar players of all levels and musical styles.

The challenge: Ernie Ball’s accessory packaging was visually fragmented, lacking a system.

The approach: My team and I created and implemented a cohesive packaging design system as part of the overall brand refresh process Ernie Ball was going through at the time.

The execution: We implemented a palette based on Slinky’s Day-Glo designs using two primary colors: neon green and pink, Ernie’s two most popular gauges. A dark purple/teal gradient was added to create contrast and vibrancy with the primary colors. We removed unnecessary elements and maximized the logo and product names with simplicity in mind. The visual direction and materials such as metal foil, soft-touch coating, and spot UV gave Ernie Ball’s packaging line a contemporary feel, still paying homage to the brand’s heritage.

Ernie Ball flextune-packaging
Ernie Ball flextune-packaging

The challenge: Ernie Ball’s accessory packaging was visually fragmented, lacking a system.

The approach: My team and I created and implemented a cohesive packaging design system as part of the overall brand refresh process Ernie Ball was going through at the time.

The execution: We implemented a palette based on Slinky’s Day-Glo designs using two primary colors: neon green and pink, Ernie’s two most popular gauges. A dark purple/teal gradient was added to create contrast and vibrancy with the primary colors. We removed unnecessary elements and maximized the logo and product names with simplicity in mind. The visual direction and materials such as metal foil, soft-touch coating, and spot UV gave Ernie Ball’s packaging line a contemporary feel, still paying homage to the brand’s heritage.