Q&A with FIDM Grad Mark Wood: Graphic Designer for World Champion Boxer Manny Pacquiao

Imagine being hired for someone who is idolized around the world to design the look of their logo and branding. What color scheme would you choose? What logo would you develop to appropriately capture your client’s public persona? Mark Wood, a Graphic Design Alumnus from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is familiar with the excitement, hard work and even the stress involved in this process as the packaging designer behind the MP8: Scent of the Champion men’s cologne developed by world-class boxing champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao.

[Above: Packaging Design Tips from Manny Pacquiao’s Graphic Designer, Mark Wood from FIDMDigitalarts]

Working in collaboration with Neal Harris of Harris Fragrances and Chris Buccellato of Custom Essence, Pacquiao developed the men’s cologne incorporating “bergamot and lemon, middle notes of lavender, vetiver, nutmeg and sage, and base notes of sweet musk, vanilla, amber and cedar.” The name of the cologne represents the initials of the boxer, and his unprecedented eight world boxing titles in eight different weight divisions to-date.

As the graphic designer for the MP8 fragrance line, Wood has been working for more than a year designing the packaging, label art, and other graphics for Pacquiao’s fragrance line, as well as other products being developed under the boxer’s brand. Integrating Pacquiao’s existing fist logo, Wood developed the MP8 logotype, and the packaging and labels. For the packaging, Wood designed a custom die for the embossed artwork, pressed out from a silver foil on heavy card stock to give the design dimension. An image of Pacquiao is foil pressed on the back of the packaging, and the bottle graphics were created using satin and ink processes to reinforce the sleek look.

World-Champion Boxer Manny Pacquiao's "MP8: Scent of the Champion" Men's Cologne

World-champion boxer Manny Pacquiao’s “MP8: Scent of the Champion” men’s cologne, packaging designed by FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood. Photo by Mani O’Brien.

“I wanted the package to be like a collector’s piece, something you wouldn’t think about disposing after you purchased it,” says Wood. “Hopefully someone will want to have Manny autograph the packaging, or keep as a novelty collector’s item.”

Wood was hired as a freelance graphic designer for Pacquiao’s MP8 fragrance line while he was still attending FIDM, and admits that he felt a “little star-struck at first.” Wood says that despite Pacquiao’s busy schedule (Pacquiao is also an active sitting member of the Congress of the Philippines, representing his home province of Sarangani), the boxer was very involved in the development of the MP8 brand, providing first-hand feedback throughout the design process.

FIDMDigitalarts.com joined Wood at a private launch party at RONROBINSON | Fred Segal in Los Angeles on April 30 for the official release of the MP8 cologne where owner Ron Robinson and Pacquiao were present. The fragrance will be carried exclusively at RONROBINSON | Fred Segal for the next month. Wood shared the following interview with FIDMDigitalarts.com:

FIDMDigitalarts: How did you get involved in this project for Manny Pacquiao?
(Wood) “For as long as my girlfriend Katrina Florendo  (a FIDM Beauty Industry Alumna) can remember, the majority of her family and life has been heavily involved within the cosmetic industry. Her mother approached me during my fourth quarter at FIDM. She had been working with Manny Pacquiao’s associates and had begun putting together a team of people who could produce and develop the fragrance/products and someone to design the POP (point of purchase), packaging, and overall identity. That is where I came in.”


World-champion boxer, Manny Pacquiao arriving at the launch of his men's cologne MP8 at RON ROBINSON I Fred Segals.



What type of work have you done as a graphic designer for Manny Pacquiao?
“As a graphic designer, I have done a number of different things throughout the process of this project and honestly there is still more to come. First, I started with developing the identity such as the logos, the names, and color schemes. I then created illustrated comps/samples in Illustrator and eventually hand-constructed numerous amounts of mock-ups to present to Manny each time we met (usually more than 50 different designs).

So far I have designed packaging for Manny’s cologne, label art and additional packaging for an athletic skin care line that we hope to develop, as well as playing cards, car fresheners, lampshades, and apparel merchandise. Although we have only released the first cologne and hand sanitizer, it was definitely a great learning experience. Part of my job was to not only design, but to overlook the process of production. I met with a good amount of printers and had to figure out cost and production time. I had to think about paper type, quality, and how I wanted it to be printed. I must say, what I learned in the Pre-Press Production class I took at FIDM really came in handy during production.”

How did you come up with the inspiration for the graphics?
“My inspiration for the graphics was generally all about Manny Pacquiao’s life and career not only as a boxer but someone who is versatile in anything that he challenged himself to do. I wanted to create graphics and packaging that is timeless. What I mean by that is, Manny will forever be known for all of his accomplishments.”

What has been the most rewarding part about this experience? It must be exciting to be attending this event and seeing your graphics on the bottles, labels and T-Shirts.
“The most rewarding part of this experience was to just be on this project. I was already an avid fan of Manny Pacquaio and to do work for him was rewarding enough. During the event of the cologne launch it was still surreal to me to see my work literally everywhere. It is definitely something I will never forget.”

How did your education and experience at FIDM help you in your role as a graphic designer?
“My education and experience at FIDM definitely helped me as a designer. FIDM has helped me better the use of my tools, my knowledge, my presentation and I now visually and aesthetically understand the elements of design.”


FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood with the packaging he designed for Manny Pacquiao's fragrance, MP8: Scent of The Champion.

FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood with the packaging he designed for Manny Pacquiao’s fragrance, MP8: Scent of The Champion. Photo by Mani O’Brien.

World-champion boxer Manny Pacquiao's "MP8: Scent of the Champion" men's cologne, designed by FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood.

World-champion boxer Manny Pacquiao’s “MP8: Scent of the Champion” men’s cologne, designed by FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood. Photo by Mani O’Brien.

Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao holding his new men's cologne, MP8.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao holding his new men’s cologne, MP8. Photo by Mani O’Brien.

From Left: FIDM Alumna Katrina Florendo, FIDM Alumnus and packaging designer Mark Wood, world-champion boxer Manny Pacquiao and Ron Robinson. Photo by Mani O’Brien.

MP8 fragrance, packaging designed by FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood. Photo by MP8.

MP8 Scent of the Champion cologne, packaging designed by FIDM Alumnus Mark Wood. Photo by MP8.

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FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising isn’t just a recognized leader in the study of design and creative business– we’re a training ground for the exciting career in graphic design you’ve always dreamed of pursuing. No other graphic design program has the same unique focus on the fashion and entertainment industries, teaching creative expression in all aspects of print media, logo development, corporate identity, product branding, packaging, apparel graphics and more.


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Creative careers begin here.

With four California campuses located in the heart of the fashion and entertainment industries, FIDM is a leading, accredited college offering specialized Associate of Arts and Bachelor’s of Arts degrees. FIDM has been educating students with creative and leadership skills for the global industries of fashion, visual arts, interior design, and entertainment for more than 45 years. Learn more at www.fidm.edu.

The FIDM Digital Arts Blog is dedicated to professional and aspiring graphic designers and filmmakers, illustrating the range of career opportunities within these fields written by FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. See more at www.fidmdigitalarts.com.

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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