How do containers of body wash, shampoo, perfume, and lotion look alike? In order to build recognition and establish an overall concept for a brand, it is imperative that each product is displayed using a similar (but not identical) design. A packaging designer must be able to translate a theme across different mediums, just as an art director must create an ad campaign that will work in TV, radio, and print. In this article, we will examine examples of successful packaging campaigns in order to understand how this technique can help increase sales and promote brand loyalty.

The Bath and Body Works product line is one example of an extremely successful packaging campaign. Not only are the designs across different scents cohesive, but the products that utilize each scent (such as body wash, lotion, and perfume) embody a unified theme as well. To begin, let’s take a look at some of their products.

The key to this consistency is obviously color. Every scent has its own unique color that is used in each of the scent’s products. For example, B&BW’s famous scent, “Warm Vanilla Sugar,” uses a khaki color for the product itself and a complimentary darker brown for the label. The company’s second most popular smell, “Sweet Pea,” uses light pink in all of its products.

This helps promote what I call “scent loyalty,” in which a consumer establishes a connection with the scent that best represents their personality. Because there are so many options to choose from, the consumer feels as if the scent they use is personalized to their lifestyle. Thus, this consumer will continue to buy lotions, perfumes, body washes, etc in their particular smell because they feel attached to it. The package design simply enhances this feeling by giving the consumer a color and label to identify with in addition to the smell, itself. In other words, the B&BW packaging creates a brand personality for each individual scent.

Apple’s designs are another great example of consistency in packaging. When asked what comes to mind when they hear the word “Apple,” many people think of the Apple Inc. logo or the color white. Why? Its simple. Everything Apple creates is either silver, black or white, and nearly all of the packaging for the products is the latter color. Senior Engineer Manager at Apple, Michael Lopp, examined the reasons behind Apple’s success at a 2008 South By Southwest presentation. The most important reason, he stated, was that Apple’s packaging reduced all ambiguity. The company’s packaging is clean, sleek, simple, and timeless. Additionally, it is extremely recognizable. This is why Apple uses the same design for all of its products. Pictures of Apple packaging for various products are below.

I stumbled across an interesting YouTube video that satirically imagines how an iPod box would look if Microsoft had designed the package. Check it out below:

When I needed new lotion and body spray, I headed to B&BW to check out the packaging in person. Here is the only picture that I could take inside the store before an employee told me that photographs are not allowed.

[Scroll over any image to view its source]

Before and After: Bath and Body Works [Photographs]. (2011). Retrieved from Dieline Media, LLC. website: http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2009/3/31/before-and-after-bath-and-body-works.html

Walters, H. (2008, March 8). Apple’s Design Process. Business Week. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2008/03/apples_design_process.html

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