In order to celebrate National Packaging Design Day (7th May), we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to give you some insight into what makes some great and innovative packaging designs.
Tiffany & Co’s blue boxes are iconic and probably the most recognisable aspect of the brand, for good reason. Since being founded in 1837, Tiffany & Co made a name for itself by popularising the newer, sleeker designs and “American style” in contrast with the intricate designs in recent decades.
When this shade of aqua blue was chosen for a catalogue in 1845, the shade became instantly synonymous with Tiffany and was trademarked as of 1998. But why is it such a successful colour? Pantone Colour Institute Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman says “It evokes positive thoughts and reactions, and this, combined with the status that Tiffany has assigned to it, makes for perfect packaging” The simplistic yet dramatic appearance of the box is no doubt eye-catching, even if you were to forget all ties it has to Tiffany and general affluence you would probably still feel drawn to it. This is most likely due to the classic, unchanged and now somewhat vintage design of the box. No doubt, the level of exclusivity the box has and the fact you famously can’t buy one separately is part of the reason it has stood the test of time for so long.
Coca Cola is no doubt one of, if not the most recognised brand in the world. When we think of Coca Cola, we think of a few different things. We think of the taste, perhaps the colour red and the classic glass bottle shape.
The most important part however, is the distinctive Coca Cola font. The sweeping, dramatic lines and distinctive swirls was used while Frank M Robinson, a co-founder of Coca Cola, was experimenting in Spencerian script which was a popular style at the time. In fact, the name Coca Cola was only suggested because he felt the two C’s would “look well in advertising” and the logo was eventually trademarked in 1893. An important thing to note about the Coca Cola logo is its consistency throughout the years. Despite its incarnations throughout the years, it has remained more or less the same- especially considering the amount of time Coca Cola has been running. The familiar red and white colour scheme remains a constant and is instantly recognisable to almost anyone worldwide which is truly a testament to how iconic Coca Cola as a brand has become. In recent decades, emphasis on the classic and vintage aspect of buying into the brand has become more evident which is an excellent marketing strategy considering the almost timeless aspect of Coca Cola.
Naoto Fukasawa’s juice peel boxes are striking to say the least. The outer skin of the juice boxes were made out of Sampuru, a kind of imitation plastic already used to create fake fruit and the like. The “skin” was textured to be as similar to fruit peel as possible. Although the designs are unique and impactful, ultimately only one design was used- the banana skin fruit box by Takara in 2005 without the textured skin and was presumably discontinued after.
Fukasawa’s general idea was to replicate the feeling people get from touch and sight when holding fruit, such as the slight fuzz on the surface of a kiwi, the waxiness of a banana and the seeds embedded on the surface of a strawberry- all of which he imitated successfully. Although the sight of a cuboid banana can initially be quite confusing and perhaps even off-putting, it certainly demands attention and sticks in your memory which is half the battle with advertising. Not only do you instantly know the contents of the box, you associate it with fresh fruit and as a result, probably trick yourself into thinking the juice is much healthier than it actually is. Although the juice boxes proved to be ultimately impractical, there is no doubt it was a great idea that did its job effectively.
Nike’s Air Max shoes have become one of the most recognisable shoes in the world. Over the years, there have been many incarnations of shoe boxes- all of which are notable and have gained a sort of cult following along with the actual shoes.
In order to renew their brand image and attract new customers, Nike asked Schloz & Friends, a Berlin-based agency to redesign their packaging. The new packaging is, depending on who you ask, either wonderful and a little bit witty, or lazy and ugly. Yes, it is a literal plastic bag, but it does make sense. There is a Nike Air logo in the corner; due to the transparent plastic, you can easily see the actual trainers inside and there is the obvious connection to the air cushion and the air cushioned effect of the shoes. Additionally, the air cushion prevents any damage while shipping. These points, as well as the innovative nature of the bag (compared to a cardboard shoe box, anyway) helps solidify it in the consumer’s minds as maybe a little absurd, but ultimately pretty smart and practical.
Marmite is quintessentially British, despite the French pot that appears on the label. The point that it really got established as a definitively British brand was in World War 2 where it was put in ration packs for soldiers due to its high vitamin B content.
Over the years, Marmite has never really changed much. There was a special edition ‘Jubilee’ version of Marmite that was on sale in 2012, a champagne infused edition in 2008 amongst others and it was only relatively recently they started using squeezy tubes so all in all Marmite is remarkably consistent in their packaging and their formula. Largely because of how unchanged the packaging is, it is instantly recognisable in a supermarket. They very occasionally change up their packaging for special events or the like and so, it has enough presence to be memorable but not so much that it becomes boring and blends into the background. With these occasional changes in appearance, it sneaks its way back into our consciousness and urges us to remember Marmite when looking for a sandwich spread or the like.
If you have any questions regarding packaging, why not check out our PackProbe tool?
Also, take a look at Kensington's Design Museum for more historic packaging and unique ideas.