General Mills Big Head Cereal Boxes


Cereal boxes are a unique artform. While many of us have fond memories of the colourful mascots of our childhood, few of us, even us designers, realise how bizarre a cereal box can be. In my opinion, it is one of the most noisy and distracted arenas in all of packaging design. Think about it, marketeers and nutrisionistas compete with art directors and cross-promoters. The average cereal box features an over-affected logo, a close-up of the cereal, some cartoon mascot, a few starbursts, some nutritional info, some product info like volume/mass, and all the logos and labels required by the government. It can get quite hairy.

But recently I noticed a refreshing approach to cereal box design. General Mills have redesigned several of their brands to align into what I am calling simply "big head" designs. Most visible are those old standbys Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry. Here, the usual sound and fury of a box front are replaced by an up close and personal look at the well-known mascots. These designs speak to the power of brand mascots and the appropriate association.

More photos after the jump.

Franken Berry

Boo Berry

Count Chocula
General Mills Big Head cereals - artwork via

I give a tip of the hat to these designs. Simple, bold, fun, and original. And compared to the rest of the cereal aisle, these somehow manage not to "scream." I'm not sure if these were designed in-house by General Mills, but kudos to the team behind these.

I've also seen a Trix box in this style with the Rabbit's mug front and center. Alas, I couldn't find a good shot on the Internet. (perhaps I'll remember my camera on my next supermarket trip). Of course, this style lends itself to Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and anything else with a well-known mascot.

However, to be fair, I have to illustrate that General Mills still has plenty of less-than-brilliant designs in their collection. Here are two I found on their site:

Golden Grahams
Golden Grahams: cross-promotion run amock

Trix: a new low in hyperactive over-design. (or should it be 'a new high')