IT WAS ONE HOT DAY IN 1928 at San Francisco’s Playland-at-the-Beach, and ice cream seller George Whitney had an idea. He put a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two oatmeal cookies, squashed it down, and dipped it all in dark chocolate. He didn’t know what to call it, so he just said “It’s it”. But he had made food history with the first ice-cream sandwich.
The IT’S-IT is still sold locally in simple clear plastic wrappers. It had become so famous among local ice cream lovers that it almost needed no advertising. Until last year when the company decided to expand their market. They called illustrator Paul Mirocha to do their package art.
To start out, Paul got a case of IT’S-IT ice cream sandwiches in dry ice in the mail. The first thing he did was unwrap and eat one. Those IT’S-IT sandwiches were the best ice cream products he had ever tasted. But they didn’t photograph well. It was going to be better than realistic–he was going to paint what it tasted like in the imagination of the customer biting into one.
Paul still has 23 versions of that digital painting. That’s what it took to flesh out visually what the IT’S-IT tastes like. And whenever Paul needed inspiration, he just went to his freezer and unwrapped another IT’S-IT. Until finally, his art director friend said, “That’s it!”
When it was all done, Paul could no longer fit into his pants. But he joined a gym and is now healthier than ever.