Case Study

8 months ago
Branding Typography DESN2011 Kinetic Type

Gemma Workum

Interviewer / Author

Chloe Brock


A good quality surf wax is an essential item for every surfer, providing them with the perfect amount of grip to ensure that they are able ride every wave with ease.

Designer, Gemma Workum, understands this importance so they set out to create a surf wax packaging design that breathes new life into an age-old product. Taking inspiration from surf culture to create a product that appeals to all Aussie surfers.


Wax on Wax off is a packaging design project that presents a refreshing new direction for surf wax. Workum has created a simplistic design, giving the packaging a modern appearance, allowing it to stand out against other brands on the shelf. The colour palette used is refreshing and the various shades of blue and white used give it an oceanic aesthetic, relating the packaging to the beach and the ocean.

The wax has been designed to be used in three different water temps. The darkest colour packaging symbolises warm, middle blue colour symbolises mild, and the lightest colour symbolises cool.

This use of colour ensures that Workums’ audience can easily identify the correct product for them whilst also creating visual difference between the packaging.

The colour blocked packaging style further accentuates the modern, simplistic design and the clean lines and simple palette create perfect contrast when paired with the loud, eye-catching typography style.

"Keep your surfboard fresher than ever. Any time of the year, we're here to wax off your old layer and wax on a fresh one." - Gemma Workum


Workum takes inspiration from the font ‘Herb’ for the main elements and usesHelvetica Neue’ for the supporting elements.

These two fonts differ in style, creating visual contrast with the busier serif font ‘herb’ being edited with a hand-made typographic style to breathe new life into the font.

A sense of movement, somewhat like a surfer riding a tall wave, is created with the use of vertically squished and stretched kinetic type on the words ‘wax on, wax off’. By using this stylised kinetic-type method, the packaging is elevated, allowing simple text to become loud and eye-catching, acting as the main design element.

Using this kinetic type method, Workum has shaped the main type into a rectangular profile. This creates a perfect synergy with other design elements, such as the much simpler 'Helvetica Neue' surrounding text. With this design choice, every element on the box exists with a strong sense of purpose, living in cohesive harmony with intentional spacing and fitting beautifully on the packaging.

The type treatment is also somewhat jagged and organic feeling, playing the organic shapes of the coastline, such as rockfaces and choppy waves. This feeling is created by Workum dissecting the font 'herb' and adding new elements, to create a hand-made look. This results in a typography style consisting of letters made of irregular shapes and scale, with no two letters being identical. This look is further accentuated by the distorted kinetic type treatment in which certain letters are stretched, squished and chopped.

This creates a packaging design that is wholly unique, encompassing the 'carefree' & 'fun' elements of surf culture. This allows it to immediately appeal to the brands target audience of Aussie surfers as the product looks like it is right at home when it is sitting on the beach.


By using the top half of the letter 'W' and the bottom half of the letter 'X', Workum creates a uniquely shaped logo that embodies the Wax on Wax off identity.

It is a perfect addition to the packaging design as the logo is etched into the puck-shaped wax to allow it to be easily identified by users, as well as acting as a main design element on the top, bottom and back of the packaging.

Wax on Wax off is a successful packaging design project that presents a refreshing and modern take on surf wax. It embodies the organic shapes of the coastline and care free elements of surf culture. Its modern and laid back appearance presents a future-proof design direction, appealing to Aussie surfers today and for generations to come.