When creating this blog, I decided to save this article for last because sustainability is the most talked about aspect of packaging design in today’s society. Many people today are very environmentally conscious and would like to take steps to reduce their carbon footprints. Additionally, these same people are pressuring companies to reduce the material used in their product’s packages in order to be more “green.” As mentioned in one of the JustEncase articles earlier, less packaging is not always the solution to this problem, however. Because companies need to provide enough packaging to protect their products from damage during shipping, climate, etc, they will need to find a greener material rather than decrease packaging size all together.

To support my hypothesis, I gathered some statistics on company’s predictions for the future of green packaging. According to Experience Festival, “53.5% of industry executives believe that recyclable packaging will be significantly important or the most important ethical packaging innovation over the next 5 years,” and only “37.5% believe reduced packaging will be the most important.”

Due to the increasing consumer demand for green products, many companies are constructing plans to make their products (and the products’ packages) more efficient. In the video below, Steve Kelsey describes the three different types of company responses to this demand.

So what makes a package “sustainable”? According to the Sustainable Packaging Alliance, a product must fulfill four key qualifications in order to be considered green. They are:

1. Effective: The product must provide social and monetary benefits.

2. Efficient: The product must use “materials, energy, and water” as efficiently as possible.

3. Cyclic: The product must be recyclable or reusable through industrial or natural systems.

4. Safe: The product must not be polluting or toxic.

A great example of a product that fulfills all of these four requirements is the new Coca-Cola PlantBottle.  Made from 30% plant material, the bottle is both natural and  100% recyclable. Additionally, Coca-Cola is subsequently creating programs to collect these bottles across the nation in order to encourage consumers to recycle. The bottle continues to function as the previous packages have with its ability to protect the beverage from damage or contamination. The only downside to this innovative design, however, it’s the costly procedures necessary to execute the company’s big plans. In the end, Coca-Cola prides itself on making positive changes in the world while satisfying its loyal consumers. Thus, the company has made it clear that they are dedicated to finding a green solution for all of their products in the near future.

Because the topic of sustainability is so important in today’s society, there are hundreds of suggestions for green materials that have the potential to replace plastic or styrofoam in future package designs. One of these suggestions comes from Eben Bayer, a speaker at a 2010 TED conference. In the video posted below, Eben explains his invention of a product called MycoBond which uses mushrooms to create a foam-like material that can be used to protect fragile objects during shipping.

To have a general overview of sustainable energy and green package design, you can check out the podcast below in which Rose Grabowski explains the benefits that this new trend will provide to both companies and consumers.

Bharat Book Bureau. (2010). Trends Impacting the Ethical and Sustainable Packaging Market. In
     Global Oneness. Retrieved from Global Oneness website: http://www.experiencefestival.com/wp/
Defining Sustainable Packaging. (2005). Sustainable Packaging Alliance. Retrieved from Sustainable
     Packaging Alliance website: http://www.sustainablepack.org/research/subpage.aspx?PageID=10&id=7
PlantBottle. (2011). The Coca-Cola Company. Retrieved from The Coca-Cola Company website:

Throughout the beginning of the 21st century, it became increasingly clear that the internet would provide a whole new lifestyle in a short amount of time. From paying your bills online to chatting with your friends without the use of a telephone, it is apparent that this new era has begun. Not so surprisingly, packaging design was also affected by this change in society’s way of life. Today, there is “clutter” amongst online shelves when shopping for clothes, furniture, or virtually anything on the Internet. In this article, however, I will talk about packaging design for applications and downloadable files that are sold to the public.

When you go onto the iTunes store, you can buy videos, songs, podcasts, movies, and applications for apple devices. Although some of these items are free, there are hundreds of downloads available for purchase. In a society that begs for simplicity in every aspect of their daily routines, the era of the “app” began. Apple cleverly stated that no matter the problem, “there’s an app for that,” and there is. There are thousands and thousands of applications for games, recipes, locators, measurement converters and so much more. But how do marketers allow their version of each idea to stand out amongst the virtual clutter in the App Store?

According to Luke Wroblewski on Digital Web Magazine, there are four aspects to consider when designing an App package.

1. Meaningful Shouting

Essentially, this aspect applies to the design of the “front page,” or the first page the user sees when considering the product. Because this is the page that will allow your product to break away from the clutter of its competitors, this is the area to include attention-grabbing techniques, bright or thoughtful colors, and effective fonts. There is a limit to this technique however, as Giles Calver points out

“If every product shouts, the shelf becomes a cacophony. Achieving on-shelf impact is therefore not about making as much noise as possible. If it was, packaging design would probably consist of flashes, starbursts, large bold type, and eye-catching colors. Instead, it’s about creating a meaningful product proposition and communicating it in a manner that has a powerful resonance with consumers.”

Thus, the front page should communicate the central message clearly and embody the brand while attempting to differentiate the product from its competitors. Yes, it is a challenge and this is where creativity is extremely necessary.

2. Back Of Pack

According to Wroblewski, the “back of pack is responsible for outlining the benefits, abbreviated instructions, and features of a product.” He adds that “in many web applications, this role is filled by product tours. The most common product tour is an illustrated page or set of pages that explains what can be done with an application, and shows features in action through representative screen shots.” Recently, however, many marketers have chosen to use videos that display the application in action rather than solely photographs. Personally, I prefer photographs because I don’t have the time to watch an entire video and would rather skim information at my own pace, but all consumers are different, right? Overall, this feature acts like a nutrition label on food packaging and should be crafted very carefully to help sell the consumer on your product.

3. Unpacking A Story

This part of the package includes the registration process and the “how to begin using your app” closing statements. There is not much creativity used in this part of the design, but keep in mind that the registration steps should be as quick and painless as possible, and the brand identity should be executed throughout.

4. The Right Package

This final aspect to the packaging design process asks what type of package is right for the product? Similar to the process used to create an advertising strategy, “The Right Package” requires the designer to consider the product, the product’s competitors, and the target market. Without taking all three of these questions into consideration, the package will not be effective in increasing sales.

Please note that all of the following images are from my own computer. 

Wroblewski, L. (2006, December 4). Packaging Design for Web-Based Products. In Digital Web Magazine.
     Retrieved from Digital Web Magazine website: http://www.digital-web.com/articles/
Many businesses today distribute their products in multiple countries and must, therefore, take into consideration the effect that other cultures will have on their packaging design. Aside from the obvious barrier, language, there are other factors that have an impact on the success of a package’s design when being distributed in more than one country.
In order to begin thinking about the importance of “globalization” in packaging design, I researched some amusing translation errors in advertising during the last century.
Wanting to know more about packaging trends in other countries, I began my research online. Although most of the information I was able to find applied to Asian marketing, I did find some other interesting facts.
According to International Fare, a project constructed from The Global Intelligence Agency in Chicago,  French consumers prefer “disruption.” Packages that are upside down or completely novel to the industry are most appealing to the French because of their mass product clutter. Conversely, Japanese consumers “love attention to detail.” International Fare gave the example of a juice box that included a straw and resealable opening in order to save the drink for later. Interestingly, Japanese marketers spend three times more on packaging than marketers in the United States. The article did not say if the costs were spent on preparation or packaging material.  Not surprisingly, it was noted that the Italians value sophistication and elegance in packaging design, especially in food products. The article mentioned a cracker package that was popular for its simple font and elegant photographs. In a different article, Melinda Creswick points out that in “EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), [packaging] trends [include]…reduced copy and an attempt to communicate things more iconically, so that language translations are less necessary from region to region.”
Because of all of this, there is a heated debate among American marketers. Many agree that a universal brand is desirable, but there are numerous marketers that argue that it is not realistic. Scott Lucas, executive director at Packaging Interbrand, recommends that “brands remain as consistent as possible internationally with some unique local elements built-in to their brand,” in order to find an effective balance. “Companies must understand a consumer’s entire experience with a product and how it differs in each area of the world,” adds executive creative director of Landor, Richard Westendorf.
Coca Cola is a great example of a successful balance between consistency and localization in brand packaging. First, in order to sustain their consistent branding image, the company uses the iconic red color, Spencerian script, and contour shapes in all of its packaging. The company then sends several versions of each package to regional design groups, allowing each culture to essentially choose the most appropriate package design.
In the midst of my research, I found an intriguing podcast entitled “Off The Shelf” on packagingworld.com. In the particular ‘episode’ included below, Dave Newcom discusses various Asian packaging designs found in Chinatown. To learn more about the differences between American and Asian packaging preferences, take a minute to listen to the podcast. As I mentioned before, Packaging World does require a username to view any content, but enrollment is free and easy.
OFF THE SHELF: More colorful Asian packs | Video | Packaging World
Also, if you are interested in gathering more research about package design and its effectiveness around the globe, become a member at Global Intelligence (www.gio.com).
Zentrale Intelligenz Agentur. (n.d.). Consumption & Packaging & Design Trends 2004 [PowerPointslides].
Retrieved from http://www.zentrale-intelligenz-agentur.de/docs/archiv/packaging.pdf
Ford, J. (2009, January 13). Global Design: Who’s Leading the Way? In Brand Packaging. Retrieved
     from BNP Media website: http://www.brandpackaging.com/Articles/Feature_Articles/
Global Branding: Achieving Balance. (2008, November 10). Brand Packaging. Retrieved from BNP Media
     website: http://www.brandpackaging.com/Articles/Cover_Story/

With ubiquitous technological advances in today’s society, it is no surprise that the advertising industry will be able to spread messages through new mediums in the future. How does this affect packaging? What changes will be made to our knowledge of package design today? Some innovations are already making their debut in today’s marketing strategies such as new “scanner applications” for smart phones.

Scanner Apps are downloadable programs for smart phones, such as the iPhone or Android, that allow consumers to scan barcodes through their phone’s camera. Once scanned, the phone is able to direct the consumer to the product’s website, reviews, prices and price comparisons, and much more. How does this affect packaging? Although the package design would not be affected, the application would allow companies to enhance interaction between the brand and the consumer. Below are several of the dozens of opportunities created by scanner apps.


Owned by eBay, this free application for the iPhone allows its users to scan a product and then instantly receive a list of retail prices for the product. Hence, the consumer is able to see the lowest price for the product they wish to purchase and then find a convenient store location with the offer.


This application costs five dollars and is only available to iPhone users, but is well worth the price. With this tool, each scan reveals calorie counters, updates your personal “food diary,” and provides a list of products that might not have a barcode at the grocery store. Marketed as a weight-loss application, FoodScanner is just one of many innovative ways this new technology can be used to connect the consumer with a package.


An app created by Google exclusively for the Android smartphone, Shopper allows users to compare prices, keep a history of the products they are interested in, and share their purchases with others. The best part about this application? It’s free of charge.

The possibilities don’t stop there, however. Scanner Applications are also a beneficial opportunity for corporations. With this new technology, each scan can be tracked in order to provide invaluable information to marketers such as what products are popular, the type of consumer that expresses interest in the product, and cities/locations where the product is viewed the most. Equally surprising is the fact that many different demographics can be tracked using these applications. David Javitch, from Scanbury Inc, shared with Packaging world that “seventy percent of the scans are done by people from 18 to 45 years old, and they are all split pretty evenly. It’s really something that anyone can use.”

The podcast below reveals much more information about scanner applications and the opportunities they present to the future of packaging. Additionally, the podcast contains a fascinating conversation about couponing and gaming possibilities. You must have a Packaging World username to view the podcast, but membership is free and (from my experience) does not send a lot of spam e-mails.

Electronic-enabled packaging: beyond the label | Podcast | Packaging World.

Chan, C., & Herrman, J. (n.d.). The Best Barcode Scanner Apps. In Gizmodo. Retrieved from http://gizmodo.com/#!5713768/the-best-barcode-scanner-apps



Because consumers are exposed to hundreds of advertisements each day, it is hard to name just one package that is memorable. In this article, I will list advertising, marketing, and design agencies that created the packages of products most consumers have seen at one point in their lives. These agencies are located around the globe, but each has an extremely impressive portfolio and has worked with well-known companies to help increase sales through packaging design.

Brand Engine

Located in California, Brand Engine helps brand companies and design effective packaging. The company was founded by Will Burke and, under his leadership, has received awards from Package Design Magazine and The Dieline. All types of brands across numerous industries have recruited Brand Engine’s help such as Williams-Sonoma, Clorox, and Motorola. Some of their work is pictured below.

Turner Duckworth

Best known for their success with the redesigned Coca Cola can, this company’s employees are the masterminds behind ubiquitous packages such as the Amazon shipping box and all of rock band Metallica’s merchandise. The company has two offices in San Fransisco and London and has received over 30 awards for their designs.


McLean Design

Although this California-based firm brands a variety of products, it is best known for the creation of the Monster Energy Drink can. In fact, the design was so successful in raising awareness of the beverage that McLean Design provides an in-depth case study of the design process on their website (shown at the bottom of this article). Ian McLean, owner and chief strategist, and his employees have worked with clients from Chevron to Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Some of their work is displayed below.


Flood Creative

Since 2002, Flood Creative has rebranded well-known companies such as Slimfast, Gilette, Fuze, Speedo, Oral-B, Suave, and Bath and Body Works. The New York based company has been recognized by The Dieline and other package design publications. To see their innovative website and view more of their work, you can visit the link at the bottom of this article.


The Thompson Design Group 

Another agency located in California, this company is best known for its food packaging designs. From Drumstick ice cream to Marie Callender’s frozen dinners, Pam to Hagen Daas, this design agency has designed dozens of packages for familiar brands. For more than 25 years, The Thompson Design Group has created brands, designed packages, and even named products.

Product Ventures

This small firm from Connecticut has created big names in the household product and food industries. This company goes above and beyond by conducting its own research studies and creating the functional aspects of each of its designs. The widely recognized Heinz ketchup bottle and Febreeze fabric freshener bottle were both conceived by Product Ventures, amongst many other brands. You can check out the rest of their impressive portfolio at the link given at the bottom of this article.


Unlike some of the previously mentioned agencies, Swerve is better known for its electronic product designs. In 2008, the agency won the Gold International Packaging Pentaward for their Windows Vista packaging design. Also, the famous bright orange Arm & Hammer box was created by their employees. This agency is also located in New York City.  







What colors on a shelf of products draw the consumer’s eye in first? What colors do consumers respond to? What colors aggravate the consumer? As one would assume, color plays a huge role in advertising. But what colors work best and which hues should you avoid?

The following statistics display survey results that confirm color’s importance in consumers’ purchasing thought processes. The three data were obtained from designerscouch.com.

It is also important to note that color has the potential to increase brand recognition. Examples of this are Tiffany & Co’s signature blue or Coca Cola’s timeless red. If a consumer is given a card with only the color of either of these brands on it, it is very likely that he/she would be able to name the brand that it associates with.

So how does a company without a previously established signature shade choose a color for its packaging?

The first thing to understand about each color is the connotation it brings to a product and how it can be used in marketing. Below are two charts that explain each basic color’s understood meaning and the industries that frequently use them to their advantage. The first chart was created from my own experience, and the second is from an outside source.

Colors can also be used in combinations, or palettes, to attract a certain type of consumer. Designercouch.com provided the following palettes and their typical uses.

Colors can have three different effects on the consumer. A basic explanation and examples for each are as follows:

1. Psychological Effects:

Colors can have psychological effects on the consumer when they are literally or abstractly related to the product. For example, an article from Color Matters notes that “green is frequently used in packaging of organic, healthy and natural products because of the association with trees, grass and nature.”

2. Aesthetic Effects

Aesthetic effects occur when the color or combination of colors used is pleasing to the consumer’s eye. An example of this can be seen in many beauty products, such a shampoos or cosmetics. The color combination can also effect the perception of size and weight by using black, for example, to make a product look more slender or lightweight.

3. Visual Effects

This concept is rather simple. As discussed in previous entries, colors can be attention-grabbing, receding, or chaotic. Additionally, this effect applies to the legibility of the copy on a package because some color combinations risk making the text illegible. On the other hand, there are a few instances in which your brand may benefit from colors that clash or communicate chaos.

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is the most commonly used color system in the world. Because it is way too complex and scientific to include in this article, I will simply leave a link to a brief description. To learn more about the steps designers take to create a finite color, visit http://www.designbig.com/news.php?page=1&colormatchingsystems-4

[Scroll over an image for its source]

Color Matching Systems. (2011). Retrieved from Big Design, Inc. website: http://www.designbig.com/news.php?page=1&colormatchingsystems-4

Infographic of the Day: How Color Affects Purchases. (2010, September 3). Designers Couch. Retrieved 2010, from Designers Couch website: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/ASoUbq/designerscouch.org/view-log/infographic-of-the-day-how-color-affect-purchase-1484

Morton, J. (2008). Who Owns Hues? In Color Matters. Retrieved from J.L. Morton website: http://www.colormatters.com/color_trademark.html

The common hand soap dispenser can fill an entire aisle with variety. How does the consumer choose one? It is rare that a consumer has any loyalty to a brand of soap or that he/she uses brand recognition to decide between Softsoap and Germ-X.

The answer is packaging. Color, shape, novelty, and scent are all factors that help us to choose a product, such as hand soap, that suffers from product parity. In this article, we will explore various hand soap packages and evaluate the strategies used to grab the consumer’s eye and ultimately increase sales. In a larger sense, we will gain better understanding of the consumer’s thought process when choosing a brand with many competitors (but little difference in the actual product) and subsequently, how marketers can design their packages to influence the consumers’ decisions.

The story of Method Hand Soap is an excellent place to begin. Before 2001, all handsoaps looked the same. They all had the same pump and bottle design, and typically only varied in color or labels. When Method enlisted the help of designer Karim Rashid, and sold their products to 70 Target retail locations, the soap aisle would forever change.

Method U.S.A. is a company that prides itself on green innovation within the household product industry. As the chart from the Method website reveals, every aspect of the soap and its packaging is extremely environmentally friendly. What’s more important, however, is the unique shape of the original Method dish soap package because this is the tool used to grab the consumer’s attention and get him/her to read about the company. Within seven months of its release, the dish soap was distributed in Target stores nationwide. In the years that followed, Method introduced a hand soap in yet another remarkable package, began to distribute in Canada and the United Kingdom, and was named the seventh fastest growing private company in America by Inc. 500.

Essentially, Method contributed to the assertion that the package is everything. If the original product looked like any other dish soap of its time, it would have been treated like its competitors: solely purchased because of price or an attractive scent. With a package that demanded attention because of its novelty, the brand was able to spread its message and dramatically increase brand recognition. It is very likely that consumers will continue to purchase this brand, as well, because of its leadership in sustainable energy, a quality that appeals to many consumers today.

Kleenex also used attention-grabbing techniques to allow its brand to stand out among competitors. In the summer of 2010, Kleenex released tissue boxes in the shapes of watermelons, limes, and oranges in hopes of increasing sales during the slowest sales season. Kleenex brand director, Craig Smith, explained to the The New York Times that the package would keep tissues relevant during the summer. He added that even “people who were not engaged by the facial tissue category were pulled in,” due to the product’s uniqueness. Smith also provided insight into the Kimberly-Clark team’s design process. According to the article, the team first decided on a watermelon pattern because it represents the fun and happiness that people experience during the summer, and “the idea for the wedged-shaped box, and for other fruits, followed.” Brilliantly designed, this concept fulfills the consumer’s desire for removal of unnecessary information about the tissue’s material and allows the consumer to use a Kleenex box as home decor.

On a more serious note, these same attention-grabbing techniques can also be used to promote dangerous, or even unethical, products. For example, Australia passed legislation in 2010 to prohibit the use of brand names, logos, and the use of color on cigarette boxes to attract consumers. The Australian government believes that this will eliminate “one of the last remaining frontiers for cigarette advertising.” The New York Times explains that, if passed by the Australian Parliament, only health warnings and pictures of possible diseases caused by tobacco will be allowed on cigarette packs. If an entire government believes that packaging design is so powerful that increased rules and regulations will make a negative impact on the tobacco industry, than maybe Australia will be able to set a precedent for the rest of the world. These laws will take effect in 2012, and only time will tell if the government’s hypotheses are accurate. If this tactic works, we might be able to decrease sales of other harmful products that are currently marketed to children in the future.


Method Firsts. (2010). Method. Retrieved from method website: http://www.methodhome.com/methodology/our-story/method-firsts

Lowry, A. (2010). Behind the Bottle. In Method. Retrieved from Method website:

Newman, A. (2010, July 8). A Sharp Focus on Design When the Package Is Part of the Product. The NewYork Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/business/media/09adco.html?_r=1

Wassener, B. (2010, April 30). Australia Fights Tobacco With Taxes and Plain Packs. The New York Times, p. B9. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/business/global30tobacco.html?_r=1&scp=6&sq=packaging&st=cse