Designing a New Dew

Afleet of new Mountain Dew flavors will hit store shelves in April, one of which will bear the artwork of Edmond resident Ben Stone. He is one of three winners from the Mountain DEWmocracy Design Challenge, a competition to create new packaging.

He found the Mountain Dew contest on Facebook, which started with a not-so-simple challenge:  redesign the current Mountain Dew can. “Mountain Dew is kind of the original energy drink,” he says. “It was considered an energy drink before they were really big. It had the most caffeine. I like the green, and the black really makes it stand out, so I went with a black can with green lightning coming out of the logo, symbolizing the energy.”

Of the top ten designs, fans voted through Facebook for their three favorite designers who would go on to create cans for the three new flavors. Stone’s design ended up number one. From there, he was assigned to the flavor “Distortion,” while the other two designers were assigned “Typhoon” and
“White Out.”

Stone came up with about ten designs, all while collaborating with Mountain Dew developers and fans via live chats. He was given the “Distortion” name and “Lime Blasted Dew” flavor description during the design process.

He says he tasted about 15 bottles of the product. “It’s pretty good. It adds some extra lime to the Mountain Dew.”
Stone bounced ideas off of his collaborators, trying to get a grasp of what images came to their minds when they heard the word “distortion.” A common image was that of sound waves. His design features a green beam of light coming down through the logo on a black background.

“There were some limitations,” Stone says. “Fine lines tend to blend together when printing on aluminum, and they have to work with distributors across the United States, so they had to go with the lowest common denominator on print quality.” He says there were also restrictions on logo placement and size. “It was definitely a challenge, trying to stay in all the guidelines.”

In the last few months, he has grown Stone Graphic Design to include contract programmers and voiceover talent. “I have three other people who have been helping me with projects and it’s really turning into a full-size company,” Stone says. “I like the simplicity of being on my own schedule. I hesitate to have an office, because then I would have to go to it everyday.”

Stone may work from home, but he puts in an exhaustive amount of hours. He says he currently works about 80 hours
per week, but that business slows significantly in the summertime. “Being freelance, the schedule definitely fluctuates,” he says. “I’m probably doing something different just about every day. I could be doing three things in one day.” He specializes in illustration, 3D models, animation, interactive flash and branding.

These days, he displays much of his work on his Web site, www.stonegraphicdesign.com. “You have to have a Web portfolio. Whether or not you put it together yourself, you need to have it online and put as much good stuff on there as you can and tell everyone you know to go look at it.”

Among all of Stone’s projects, the Mountain Dew packaging design is definitely his most public. “It will be advertised on TV and Facebook, and all over the Internet, and I’m going to have my name on the can,” he says. “I’m definitely excited. I have a little bit of a can collection, so I’m looking forward to adding one of my own.”

Ben Stone can be reached at 880-5661 or by e-mail at ben@stonegraphicdesign.com

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