In our continuing work with venerable hatmaker Goorin Bros. we were asked to create a concept and product packaging for the launch of The Official Heisenberg porkpie hat as worn by beloved cancer patient turned drug kingpin Walter White on Breaking Bad. As huge fans of the show, we were honored and a bit daunted by this proposition.
The initial concept for the campaign came from just talking with friends about the collaboration. We would say “hey, you know the hat the guy on Breaking Bad wears? That’s a Goorin!” This evolved into the “That’s A Goorin” campaign – a message we knew would resonate well beyond this campaign – it could be extended to friends, other characters and celebrities who embodied the Goorin Bros. spirit and aesthetic.
Ultimately, we saw this campaign as being about transformation. The transformation that Walter White undergoes and the transformation that takes place when you put on just the right hat.
Working on a collaboration in the entertainment industry has it’s challenges. You can’t just come up with a design you like, you need to to then get that design approved, probably tweaked and approved again. For a show with this kind of rabid fan base and buzz, these challenges are magnified. Working closely with the teams at Sony Pictures, Goorin Bros. and AMC, we were able to come up with a campaign and designs that embodied both the spirit of the show and the Goorin Bros. brand.
We came up with the concept of doing a limited “Collector’s Edition” set that would include the signature porkpie hat, a hand-screened poster, a custom hat box with custom wrapping paper and a “Certificate of Authenticity”. All of the elements needed to reflect the aesthetic of the show and the Goorin Bros. brand. No easy task.
The obvious place to start was with the Walter White character; this mild-mannered guy who undergoes this incredible transformation into Heisenberg – a menacing and calculating drug lord. So I worked with the amazing illustrator Justin Lucas from Baltimore, MD to create an illustration of Walter White in Heisenberg mode. We kicked around several ideas until we came up with something that worked. We then moved on to designing the other elements.
Creating the wrapping paper was another really neat element of this campaign and an interesting design challenge. The concept was to use ads from the fictitious businesses on the show and display them like in an old-style newspaper. Being a fan of the show made this process a lot easier and more fun. From the obvious to the obscure I tried to create something that super-fans and casual watchers alike would enjoy. I worked with the graphic design team at Goorin Bros. to finalize the designs.