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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In a society that wants to become more “green” in hopes of protecting the environment, packaging and shipping materials have presented a controversial dilemma. Many people criticize companies for using excessive plastic and other materials to protect (or simply contain) their products and ask for greener options, yet many of these same people will complain to a company if their product is damaged or unstable. In this article, I will explore consumers’ wants and needs in terms of packaging through in-depth interviews and secondary research.

I began my research by asking people in the Austin area what they value: durability, environment-friendly options, or both? I interviewed women from four different age groups, but unfortunately the two men I interviewed did not have a strong opinion and were, therefore, left out. These women are as follows: Castine O’Neal (age 17), Misty Kinsinger (age 21), Lori Bajema (age 52), and Molly Rice (age 35).

Have you ever had an experience where you bought a product that was broken due to poor packaging? If so, can you recall what it was?

Castine: I bought eggs at the grocery store, making sure they were not cracked or damaged. By the time we got home (and I’m not a wild driver), one or two eggs were damaged from just bumping into other bags in the backseat. The styrofoam that they were packaged in was not durable enough.

Misty: When I worked at a tanning salon, we would receive shipments of cracked lotion bottles. I remember one time a whole bottle of “Crystal 12,” an 120 dollar value, arrived cracked all the way down the front. That bottle was made of thick plastic, but apparently it was able to be broken.

Lori: I did. When I got a Precious Moments figurine in the mail, it was cracked. Fortunately, the box had instructions for this problem and the company was prompt to send me a new one. They also included a shipping label to return the broken one for free.  

Molly: When I worked at Pluckers, we had problems with alcohol shipments all of the time. The cardboard dividers used to protect the bottles from “clinking” into each other were broken or too thin and some bottles would be cracked.

What is more important, in your opinion: To have a package that is in perfect condition and takes every precaution to keep your product safe, or to cut back on packaging in order to lower plastic usage and protect the environment?

Castine: I would say that it is more important to thoroughly protect the product that I am purchasing. If I am spending money to support their business, they can spend a little more to make sure the product is trustworthy.

Misty: The company that I am buying a product from should make sure it is shipped to me without being damaged. Otherwise, it is unlikely that I will buy from that company again because it was a hassle to complain to the company, return the product and then wait on a new one to be shipped.

Lori: The first one because it is a hassle to have to return it to the post office, or follow other procedures, if you are a working woman.

Molly: To protect the environment, while ensuring that my product is still protected. (laughs) I know that’s not picking a side but I can’t choose. I think companies, today, use too much packaging in many instances. However, they still need to protect the product that they are selling.

In your opinion, what types of products require the most/strongest packaging? What products do you think currently use more packaging than necessary?

Castine: I think shoes use too much packaging. Heavy boxes, many of which use excess material in order to be aesthetically pleasing, AND the inner tissue paper is a little excessive. I guess products that are at risk of being contaminated or have the ability to harm someone’s health would need the most thorough packaging.

Misty: Cellphones, such as iPhones, should use heavy packaging to protect it. Plasma TV’s and other expensive electronics, too. Also, I remember ordering something from HSN that came packaged in boxes within other boxes. Shipping packaging on items that aren’t that fragile, like clothes, could cut back on their supplies.

Lori: Breakable or fragile items require the most packaging. Food will need packaging as well so it does not spoil easily. (ponders)  Books from amazon use excessive packaging. It is highly unlikely that they will break, yet they come wrapped in numerous boxes and bubble wrap.

Molly: DVDs and CDs! They come wrapped in 2 or 3 layers of plastic, plus the stickers and other protectors. I think the box and one plastic covering would be sufficient. As for the products that require a lot of packaging, I guess perishable or breakable items.

Overall, my interviews revealed that many women in the Austin area value the protection of their products over the protection of the environment, despite their ages. Although the interviewees seemed to have some awareness of the environmental crises we face today, it was clear that they were more troubled by their experiences with damaged purchases. There are several factors that could have affected their opinions other than age, however. The first factor is location. Had I been able to interview a consumer in California (a state known for its desire to protect the environment), they might have responded differently. The second factor is gender because I was unable to discover how any males feel about this topic.

Because my in-depth interviews could not provide a substantial conclusion, I looked to the internet for more thorough data. Based on data provided by an abstract entitled “Market Segmentation Through Packaging,” it was revealed that many consumers value durability and convenience above any other factors. It is mentioned, though, that consumers would like to see more environmentally friendly packaging.

A more tangible example of consumers’  needs can be explained through Folger’s revolutionary change in packaging..

Before

After

In 2003, Procter & Gamble created the first plastic container for coffee grinds. The new AromaSeal high density polyethylene container represented a perfect example of a company listening to its consumers in order to fulfill their wants and needs.

Before the change, Folgers packaged their coffee in a 39 ounce steel can. Company spokesperson, Tonia Hyatt, explained that “consumers wanted ease of handling, something without sharp edges, and product that stays fresh day after day after it is opened.” In response, the new canister uses four panels to allow for an easier grip, and has a top that enables the container to be stacked on top of others. Most importantly, the canister uses a seal membrane to keep the coffee fresh and aromatic. Although the plastic container costs Folgers more money to produce, Hyatt explained that the needs of consumers were of greater concern.

Today, Folgers is one of the leading distributors in the coffee industry. The plastic container is used for all of their products due to positive responses from consumers. In my opinion, more companies should follow Folgers’ example and listen to their consumers’ wants and needs in order to increase customer satisfaction and promote brand loyalty.

 To learn more about the extensive processes used to test packaging durability, check out the video below. In this video, Krones Water Bottles reveals the many steps necessary to create a water bottle that meets regulations, can withstand shipping and other damaging situations, and increases sales for the company.

 

Market Segmentation Through Packaging (Monograph). (n.d.). Abstract retrieved from http://www.docstoc.com/docs/18502682/market-segmentation-through-packaging

Butschli, J. (2003, September). P&G Switches to Plastics for Folgers. Retrieved from http://www.packworld.com/package-16451

Packaging must function, inform, respect legal constraints, foster brand synergy, and connect emotionally – sometimes all within a two-inch space.

-Capsule.us

As you begin to create a package design, there are rules and regulations that must be considered. For instance, did you know every label must put required information (such as the product’s name and quantity) in boldface type? The following article will cover the general information needed to create an effective design. Admittedly, this article will begin to sound like a textbook. The following information is fundamental to learn about packaging, however, and therefore must be noted.

There are two main components to every package design:

a) Its ability to protect the product from damage

b) Its ability to attract the consumer

Referring to this combination as “the product mix,” Robert D. Hisrich identified eight basic functions of a package design. According to Hisrich, a package must promote or sell the item, increase the product’s density, protect the product, be adaptable to production-line speeds, help the consumer use the product, provide reusable value to the user, satisfy legal requirements, and keep packaging-related expenses low. These functions are merely a summary, however, of the thought process that goes into the design because within each category lie numerous subcategories with even more considerations. In order to remain consistent with the title of this article, I will only cover the subjects related to sales and marketing. For more information about the legal constraints to consider when designing a package, you can visit http://www.packagingconsultancy.com/design-requirements.html.

The following four qualities should be taken into consideration when designing a package that aims to increase sales. In order for the design to be successful, however, it should embody all four traits.

1. Apparent Size

This means that the package should make the product look as large as possible, without being misleading, in order to help the consumer to believe they are getting the most out of their money. In the examples below, Arm&Hammer uses large and bold text as well as an elongated box to lead consumers to believe they are getting large amounts of baking soda in one unit. In a more obvious example, Dean’s Sundae Cones utilize a photograph that warps the product and makes the cone look larger than it really is. Additionally, the wide shape of the box and large text add to this extensive portrayal.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, it is imperative that your packaging does not mislead the consumer into thinking they are buying something much larger than the product actually is. It is much more expensive to deal with lawsuits or  to lose customers due to trust issues than it is to keep your design realistic, even if the product really isn’t that big.

2. Attention Drawing Power

This trait is used to make a product stand out amongst its competitors and help with product parity. Using this concept, the package will be able to embody a tone or mood in order to communicate the message the brand is trying to send to the consumer. Thus, certain fonts, colors, shapes, photographs or other techniques can be used to attract the consumer’s eye to your brand instead of the others on the shelf. The package for Vilpuri bread uses innovation and ‘oddvertising’ to attract the consumer’s eye to its product. In this specific example, it is likely that a child will be attracted to their bread rather than its competitors because of its fun and unusual design. The Crayola box uses bright colors and chunky fonts to grab its target market’s attention.

It is very important to make sure that the techniques used to make the product grab the consumer’s attention do not appear cheap or unsophisticated. The impression of quality, as described in more detail below, is just as important because if the consumer notices the product, but does not want to buy it, the attention grabbing techniques were useless.

3. Quality Impression

Perfectly stated in the Advameg article, the appearance of quality in packaging design is crucial because “items that are perceived to be of low quality are assumed to be a poor value, regardless of the price.” Consumers want to feel as if they are purchasing the premium choice for each product they want or need, even if they are price conscious shoppers. The two packages below are just a few of the thousands of brands that take this approach in their packaging designs. In the Dove example, the design uses simplicity in the font and composition to convey elegance and indulgence. Although you cannot see it in the picture, the glossy material of the bag also adds to the rich mood of the brand. In the Crest 3D Whitestrips example, the color palette and package material are the most obvious factors to its appearance of quality. The clean and relaxing connotation of the royal blue box, along with the white accents, add to its sophistication. Similiarly to the Dove bag, the Crest box uses a glossy and sleek material.

Keep in mind that if the package looks elegant and sophisticated, the target market should want an elegant product. For instance, if the product is a cereal aimed towards children ages 5-10, this factor should not be a heavy influence on the package design.

4. Readability

This factor mainly affects font selection and the size of type in the package design, but can also apply to the length of the copy and the overall composition. The goal is to make a connection with the consumer and, by using too much copy or an illegible font, the connection can be very difficult to achieve. The cereal boxes below utilize their own unique (but legible) fonts for the brand names and only include a few, short, necessary messages underneath. The brand names are larger than any other copy in order to promote brand loyalty and recognition. The same tactics were used to creat the Peter Pan package. Again, the brand name is larger than anything else and there are few other words in order to keep the design simple. Don’t let this rule hinder your creativity, though. In some cases, more copy is necessary to get the message across. Also, keep in mind that pictures are often needed to display the product and should be included with the copy.

[Scroll over an image for its source]

Packaging. (n.d.). Reference for Business. Retrieved 2011, from Advameg website:  http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/small/Op-Qu/Packaging.html

In the past few months, there has been a surprising amount of controversy surrounding Starbucks’s decision to change the logo on its coffee cup. Although the company has changed the unforgettable Siren four times throughout history, the most recent change seems to anger the company’s enthusiasts. What about the logo is disappointing? How will this affect the company’s sales? Could this expose the importance of packaging design to brand loyalty?

[Starbucks New Logo Unvailed] [Photograph]. (2010, January). Retrieved from http://www.citystatetimes.com/4467/starbucks-new-logo-unveiled/

Since the logo’s reveal, over 500 people have left angry comments on the company’s blog. In response, CEO Howard Schultz posted a video that presented a history of the brand’s logo in order to explain the reasoning behind the change. You can view this video below:

As I researched this debate, I wanted to understand more about consumer concerns. Why did these loyal customers care about the logo? What about the logo angered them?

To begin my research, I visited the Starbucks website to learn more about the company’s perspective on the new logo. I learned that the logo was created in order to celebrate the brand’s 40th anniversary. Thus, the logo was intended to “be innovative and still represent the heritage and values of [the] company.” The word “coffee” was removed from the design “to eliminate ambiguity in [the] non-coffee products.” Although the reasons for the alterations seemed to be valid, consumers were still angered. I had to uncover the truth.

Beneath Howard Schultz’s video (seen above) on the Starbucks Website, lies a space in which users can submit comments. I chose to look at these comments because I knew that these were the users that held strong opinions, positive and negative. Below is a sample of the hundreds of comments available on starbucks.com/blog.

cmolling

4:44 PM on 3/8/2011

The new logo is……*****….I guess that would be the best to describe it. It certainly is not even close to comparison to Nike or Puma or the like. As the Siren is a Mythological icon, Starbucks has taken the Siren that was “theirs” are now made it to be generic, just another form of a mythological icon. Nike icon, is Nike. Puma is Puma. There is not several Nikes or Pumas, but here are several mythological icons and no the siren (the new Starbucks logo) is just as generic as all

FireYourGraphicDesigner

6:17 PM on 3/9/2011

Obviously the new logo and corporate “identity” bothers me enough to cause me to waste my time just to create an account to be able to leave a comment. I think the logo is a poor decision, and when people identify with something, they have feelings, history, and expectations that they associate with it. Poor decision. “If it ‘aint broke…..”

gjwilcox

10:14 AM on 3/9/2011

I have no problem with the new logo but one question for Starbucks: WHERE’S THE NAME? I’m not convinced the siren is strong enough on its own with the name. Perhaps you should have just redesigned the logo and dropped coffee to indicate a broader product offering. Let’s hope you review your decision…soon.

iamkiki

3:33 PM on 3/12/2011

While I am excited about the future of the company, I really hate the new Logo. I will think twice before buying any more logo items from Starbucks.

So there you have it. Actual concerns from avid Starbucks drinkers. In my opinion? Many consumers, such as iamkiki, are just overreacting when they threaten to stop purchasing coffee from Starbucks because of a logo. Yes, the new design does have its flaws; The removal of the name does make the logo ‘trendy’ and ‘commercialized’, and the logo is very simplistic and somewhat boring. But when you step back and look at the big picture, it is just a logo. The brand is not betraying its customers or even changing the product in any way. If one considers themselves a loyal customer to Starbucks, they need to be just that: loyal.

In the end, the package does make a huge impact on the product’s ability to sell. This concern is especially important with a brand as established as Starbucks. I suppose the lesson learned is that people become attached to brands and any alterations to the product or the way in which it is presented will please some and anger others. Only time will tell if the new Starbucks logo, making its debut this month, affects sales.

A few weeks after writing my first draft of this article, I had my first encounter with controversial logo. I was sitting at my desk, working diligently while drinking my daily coffee. Being a loyal Starbucks consumer myself, I didn’t even think to examine the design of my cup because it is a part of my everyday routine. After throwing it away, I realized that it could have been a “new” cup. Sure enough, there was the new logo. Below is my first “new cup” and its new sleeve.

Oxley, D. (2011, January 7). Starbucks New Logo Brewing Up Controversy [Web log post]. Retrieved
     from Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/career-advice-in-new-york/starbucks-new-logo-brewing-up-controversy

Let’s begin this blog with inspiration. These are examples of creative, thoughtful designs that will likely be effective in multiplying sales. More importantly, they are super interesting.

(in no particular order)

10. Naoto Fukasawa: Fruit Boxes

These juiceboxes look, feel, and even smell like the fruit they are representing. Colorful and highly realistic, this example of packaging leaves us craving the product.

9. Weird Clothing: Meat Shorts

Branding the consumer as “a piece of meat,” these innovative shorts come in a realistic meat package. Not only is the product unique in itself, but the package stays consistent with the theme and will definitely capture the consumer’s interest.

8. Julien De Repentign: Milk Carton

Designed in the United Kingdom, this example represents the simplest form of packaging design, both in color and concept. The carton even holds exactly 2 liters of liquid!

 

7. Soon Mo Kang: T-Shirt Tea

Available in different colors for each brew, these tea bags are innovative in their design and functionality. The bags can easily be hung on the edge of a mug, and the play on words between “Tea” and “Tee” is extremely cute.

6. Pearlfisher: Candy Bags

Released only in the UK and Irish markets, this design is youthful and eye-catching. The consumer can visualize the product in their mouth, and it is obvious that children will be drawn to this product instantly because of its colors and playfulness.

5. Mother Eleganza: Salami CD



SHIDLAS’s album, named SALIAMI POSTMODERN, represents another example of a meaty advertisement.  Not only is this design eye-catching amongst its generic competitors, but it is also humorous once the consumer is able to make the connection between the name of the album and the design of the CD.

4. Dolop: Doorstopper

Designed and distributed in Australia, this unique take on a doorstopper is humorous, fashionable (it is available in four colors), and modern. Its packaging only accentuates the theme by helping the man to look strained.  There is no question that consumers will choose this design over its traditional (and boring) competition.

3. Stop n’ Grow: Shopping Bag

This bag makes its brand memorable. Period. It is comical, colorful, and innovative. The best part? Everyone that walks by this consumer on the street is exposed to the advertisement.

 

 

 

2. ChappsMalina: Travel Size Pills

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar to the milk carton design, these packages use simplicity to their advantage. Each package uses color to promote variety, allows the consumer to easily  find which pill will help their symptoms, and uses a compact design. This design also possesses a clean and trustworthy tone.

1. Ogilvy Frankfurt: Wool

 

 

When shopping for household products, many products look nearly identical and the consumer will likely pick randomly. This design, however, will instantly stand out because it is extremely humorous and ironic. People will remember this product’s package and possibly even show it to their friends.

10. Alexlon. (n.d.). Creative Juice Packages, For More Color. In Design Crave. Retrieved from uCrave website: http://designcrave.com/2009-04-06/creative-juice-packages-for-more-color/

9. Weird packaging for Weird Clothing. (2009, February 10). Popsop. Retrieved from Popsop Ltd website: http://popsop.com/6498

8. 20 Unusual and Creative Packaging Designs. (2009, April 4). Toxel.com. Retrieved from Toxel.com website: http://toxel.com/inspiration/2009/04/04/20-unusual-and-creative-packaging-designs/

7. It’s a Tea Time with Style. (2010). Syahdiar.org. Retrieved from Syahdiar Daily Picks Design website: http://www.syahdiar.org/its-a-tea-time-with-style-hanger-tea-by-soon-mo-kang.html

6. The Natural Confectionary Company. (2010). The Dieline. Retrieved from Dieline Media, LLC website: http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2011/2/23/the-natural-confectionery-company.html

5. Salami CD. (2010). The Dieline. Retrieved from The Dieline Media, LLC website: http://thedieline.com/blog/2010/12/21/salami-cd.html

4. Doorstop. (2010). The Dieline. Retrieved from The Dieline Media, LLC website:  http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2010/12/10/doorstop.html

3. 60+ Really Creative Advertisements- Pure Inspiration for Designers. (n.d.). WebAir Blog. Retrieved  from http://blog.webair.it/2009/05/22/60-really-creative-advertisements-pure-inspirtion-for-designers/

2. Medical Packaging Design: Help Remedies. (2009, July 21). AntiLogic. Retrieved from AntiLogic-Design website: http://www.antilogic.co.za/design/medical-packaging-design-help-remedies/

1. Packaging “in faces”. (2011). Popsop. Retrieved from Popsop Ltd website: http://popsop.com/29167