While so many factors influence how consumers shop, and how a product is marketed or distributed, the importance of the product “package” remains. On shelf or online, there will always be a need for a physical structure to deliver the product to its destination – and that structure needs to present a system of visual communication that conveys and reinforces your brand experience – drawing in and inspiring consumers to purchase.
I recently came across an end cap display of pre-packaged shelf ready trays filled with DOVE® Chocolate, which impressed me with its superior visual impact. The packaging featured a new structural and visual design based on a super clean, uncluttered format using an abundance of white space, which served to isolate and “frame” the DOVE logo. By creating and using a uniform design grid for all packaging, the grid presented a consistent, united visual communications system across the full product line while allowing for ease in differentiating a wide variety of flavor options. A secondary asset of the grid design is the powerful billboard effect of the products in their trays, with the trays placed side by side – resulting in a smooth flowing design visual that is naturally supportive of the promise of Silky Smooth Promises®.
I have always appreciated the use of white (or quiet) space in packaging. When done well, it gives the brand breathability, especially when displayed in a visually agitated retail environment. White space provides visual calm for a brand to communicate from rather than compete with. In this case, DOVE literally created a graphic design grid incorporating a large, white swath across the center region of the package that houses and highlights its logo. This band was flanked top and bottom by a secondary color band to emphasize the flavor variant, whereas, in previous packaging, the color band was filled with bold copy that stated product flavor. Additionally, when placed side by side, the new visual design system created a billboard effect – a unified “whole” from a series of smaller packages – maximizing its shelf impact. It turned a single product on shelf literally into a billboard size presentation of the brand identity.
Dove resized and reorganized the flavor variant copy in the design grid to consistently hit the center of the package, supporting rather than competing with its logo. The brand carried over colors associated with flavor variations from its previous packaging with the addition of a subtle decorative background pattern, which also appears on the candies’ individual foil wrappers, extending and reinforcing a comprehensive brand look. Dove updated every aspect of the packaging, and used the opportunity to visually “speak” to the consumer – this was further demonstrated by how it adapted the visual design system to the trays the packages rest in. Not only is the package designed to align horizontally with each other, but the same curve that creates the secondary color band from the package was replicated in the die cut for the display tray, allowing for the adaptation of packaging graphics to the trays, naturally “extending” the packaging.
The important benefit of this approach is the replication of the lower portion of the bag design, which additionally reinforces a billboard effect when one or more products stand side by side. If packages fall over or become messed up in the display, the tray acts independently as a secondary face panel communicating brand identity; and because the trays are printed on uncoated stock, there is no chance of glare from overhead lighting to obscure package copy. It doesn’t sound like anything extraordinary, but this is a well thought out plan to ensure all elements of the packaged product continuously work together to reinforce the brand experience.
If I could change anything, I would better coordinate and differentiate product flavor color variations and more effectively align variant colors with product composition. Consumers already associated their favorite flavor with a color, but it appears new flavors added to the product line required an expansion of their color palette. Variety is good – but when color doesn’t stand up to the print process, it’s a good idea to give thought to selecting colors with enough saturation for copy and/or patterns to reverse out of. The yellow package, which contains dark chocolate and peanut butter flavored candy, loses all definition within the secondary color band. The pattern that reads well on darker color packages becomes totally lost as yellow and white lack contrast with each other. There is additional confusion with the individual candy being wrapped in a black wrapper – which is not part of the color-coding. The result – the yellow package has no variant consistency. This simply needs more thought to sustain the impressive visual design standards.
When you embark on a packaging design, think about your whole packaging system and how it will look once it’s displayed. This will ensure maximum brand consistency and impact.
If you are exploring a new visual design system, contact us at 920-886-7727 or [email protected] Throughout our 60 plus years of supporting customers with consumer brands large and small, we apply our experience and expertise to the entire process to create efficient and effective solutions.
The purpose of our “findings” blog is to spotlight packaging that displays thinking that breaks the mold, delivers something new or chancy – or at the very least, highlights packaging that catches your eye in the retail environment.