by McHale Design | 14 Jun 2024

Product Launches


When our friends at Mattel tasked McHale Design to take on the project of creating branding, new packaging, and style guide for WWE’s 2024 action figure line, we enthusiastically embraced the challenge! Our mission? To capture WWE’s electrifying energy and deliver it to fans of all ages.


The Arena Lights Up: Rebranding a Visual Powerbomb


Picture the scene: spotlights blazing, adrenaline rushing, and the crowd roaring. Our approach to WWE branding went beyond packaging; it was about crafting a thrilling, immersive experience for the consumer.


Our research phase began by analyzing WWE’s visual history, previous brand iterations, dynamic video graphics, and promotional campaigns. We wanted to create a brand refresh that would generate excitement for WWE’s newest roster of superstars while also capitalizing on the established popularity of WWE legends.


“Having someone on our team who previously worked on the WWE brand and is a real fan was critical in understanding the nuances of WWE,” says Joe Campos, president of McHale Design.


Successful brand design for consumer goods necessitates a strategic approach. The coordination of brand elements on final packaging is pivotal. Patterns, textures, and backgrounds should be developed with their final intended use in mind. Additionally, the key art and trade dress layout must be visualized and sketched out to ensure optimal communication hierarchy.


Inspired by WWE telecasts and Superstar costuming, we developed a color palette centered on primary colors that integrated techy textures, flashy light patterns, and backgrounds with layered depth.


Bold, angled graphic elements symbolized the electric action of the ring. The provided Superstar photo assets were enhanced to create Key Art that reflected unbound energy and unified all the wrestlers under the WWE brand.


Building Up The Packaging Hierarchy of a Brand


To reinforce the WWE branding mantra that “The Superstars are the Stars,” the visual hierarchy on this packaging design needed to reflect this concept. From the beginning, Mattel stressed the importance of making the Superstars’ image and their name the first read, even more so than the WWE logo.


According to Art Director Mike Hass, Mattel observed an interesting consumer behavior: “when shoppers see packages hanging on a rack, they tend to tilt each one to reveal the face and name until they find the Superstar they’re looking for. To accommodate this behavior, it was crucial to prominently display the Superstar’s image and name on the left side of the packaging. This way, potential consumers could easily spot their favorite Superstar.”


The names and faces of John Cena, The Rock, and The Undertaker are instantly recognizable to fans, even young children who can’t yet read. The WWE logo follows, verifying the product’s authenticity. Subsequently, highlighted feature callouts and secondary segmentation logos such as “The Elite Collection” enhance the product's perceived value and collectability.

Expanding the Brand: Style Guide Ready for the Spotlight!


Although we developed a versatile brand identity that dominated across various packaging types, a successful Style Guide had to ensure the branding would easily adapt to every need of the licensor.


Mike Hass said, “the biggest challenge was to create modular design elements that weren’t restricted to specific areas. For packaging, we placed the Superstar Key Art on the left side, while the WWE logo was positioned on the right. This arrangement accommodated the consumers’ habit of scanning through packaging. However, the Style Guide elements needed to be adaptable for various purposes, including ad templates, product applications, and retail merchandising.”


From the color palette to the design elements, we ensured every brand detail complemented each other and was crafted to function effectively where needed.


Joe Campos added, “Final files should ensure style guide elements are easy to find and use, allowing licensors to retrieve and apply necessary fonts and graphics intuitively.” A successful style guide needs logical organization and a clean file structure. Intuitive visual mock-ups help licensees understand how to consistently apply the branding. Brand guidelines should be written to ensure all elements are used correctly to maintain brand consistency.


The collaborative effort between McHale Design and Mattel has yielded a packaging and branding strategy that electrifies and captivates WWE fans, much like the Superstars themselves. By meticulously integrating dynamic visuals and thoughtful design elements, we crafted a style guide that reflects WWE's high-octane spirit, setting the foundation for consistency and adaptability across all platforms.


This comprehensive approach invites fans of all ages to experience the excitement of the WWE from the moment they watch the content until the moment they see the packaging. The lessons learned and the innovative strategies developed in this project will continue to influence and inspire, ensuring that WWE's brand remains as legendary and powerful as its Superstars!

wwe rebranding case study

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