Packaging

Ricola Sore Throat Relief With a Twist

Have a sore throat? Can’t swallow without wincing? Hard to talk, much less sing? The packaging of Ricola Herbal Throat Lozenges understands. The Ricola Music Edition product wrappers, created by Hamburg-based ad agency Jung von Matt, with illustrations by Julian Canaveses, features distressed singers who represent different styles of music, from pop and opera to rap and rock ‘n roll. It’s possible to recognize Luciano Pavarotti and Elvis Presley, but not sure about the others. The tagline “Unwrap Your Voice” implies quick relief. No need to read the small print about what soothing ingredients are inside. One look at the pictures tells consumers that Ricola knows what a sore throat feels like and that relief is just a twist away.

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Packaging

Pasta Packaging with Personality

Russian design studio, Fresh Chicken Agency, developed the brand name, Italian Chef Pietro mascot, and packaging for this premium pasta brand. It’s delightfully understated yet memorable. The simple line drawing of Pietro is printed in one color on what looks like unbleached cardboard, which, in this case, suggests naturalness more than low production budget. The pasta product itself is kept the focal point with the die-cut window peek inside. Most other pasta brands are wrapped in clear cellophane so consumers who don’t remember the difference between radiatori and conchiglie, for instance, will know which is which on sight. Pietro Gala’s approach is more integral to the design and less likely to crush the dry pasta inside.

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Packaging

Traditional Folk Art Meets Pop Culture

Here’s a new twist on an old Japanese folk art – painting kokeshi doll faces on matches. The original kokeshi figures, introduced a couple centuries ago, were inexpensive souvenir items that visitors to the onsen (spa) villages of northern Japan would buy to give to friends back home. (Even in California, we used to have a half dozen kokeshi, along with snow globes from New York, native American trinkets from the Grand Canyon, and seashells from Hawaii – don’t know what happened to any of them.) It’s the kind of gift that would merit a T-shirt that read: “Grandma went to the onsen and all she brought me was this wooden kokeshi.” Kokeshi dolls were distinguished by their simple rectangular torso, lacking arms and legs, and their enlarged round wooden heads, minimally painted to indicate eyes, hair and maybe a mouth or nose. (Think “Hello Kitty,” who is also missing a mouth.)

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Product Design

Pantone Partners With Sephora

The Pantone Color System is nuanced and exact, which is why it is common to see designers agonizing over Pantone swatches to find the precise hue, tone, tint and saturation they want. When Pantone decrees the “Color of the Year,” designers in every industry pay attention. So it is not surprising that the cosmetic giant, Sephora, has teamed with Pantone to turn out a Sephora-Pantone Universe Color of the Year collection. Pantone 17-5641 Emerald is Pantone’s choice for 2013 Color of the Year, and Sephora has issued the color in a limited edition line of products for 2013. If emerald makeup isn’t flattering to you, maybe you can settle for an emerald makeup brush just to be in on the hottest trend.

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Brand Language

7-Eleven Sweden Does Retro Re-Branding

Asked to rebrand the 7-Eleven convenience stores in Sweden, the Stockholm creative agency BVD decided to whole-heartedly embrace the 80-year-old company’s graphic roots. BVD made 7-Eleven’s signature green and orange bolder and brighter, stenciled its old Helvetica typeface, and turned its traditional broad stripes into pinstripes, reversing out the “7” and suggesting “Eleven” with two orange lines. The look is contemporary yet retro, and it doesn’t run away from 7-Eleven’s original concept, which was to provide people with a handy place to go to buy an emergency supply of milk, eggs and other basics late at night. The new Swedish graphic identity refreshes 7-Eleven’s identity without trying to disguise it as something more upscale than it is.

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Packaging

Beer Label Feels the Heat

Wild Winter Ale is the fourth in a limited edition series of seasonal beers released by Danish brewery Mikkeller in 2012. The label, created by Swedish graphic design agency Bedow, features a simple silhouette of a leafy apple tree, printed with thermochromic ink. The ale is meant to be kept refrigerated or at least cold until serving. What makes this label intriquing is that the ink is heat sensitive. As the label gets warm from being held in the drinker’s hand, the tree begins to shed its leaves until only its bare limbs remain.

Thermochromic inks were first popularized in the 1970s, appearing in “mood rings” that changed colors supposedly indicating the wearer’s emotional state. Increasingly, designers are finding creative ways to use heat-sensitive inks in printing.

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Packaging

One in Four Million Bottle Design

As renowned for its creative branding as it is for its premium vodka, Absolut continually tops itself with fantastic new visual expressions. In this case, the Swedish vodka-maker, owned by French company, Pernod Ricard, teamed with Swedish ad agency, Family Business, to give new meaning to the term “limited edition.” The idea was not just to make each Absolut bottle seem unique, but to actually be unique. To do that, Absolut had to reconfigure its bottling production line to recreate artwork with splash guns, 38 colors, and 51 patterns. A complex computerized algorithms program orchestrated these elements in a randomized fashion so that no two bottles were decorated alike. In fact, Absolut estimates that it would take 94 quintrillion bottles before two identical designs resulted. The company is not producing that many, but it did individually number each of the four million bottles in its limited edition line, which it appropriately named “Absolut Unique.”

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Packaging

Sense of Place as Brand Identity

When Icelandic Glacial Water rebranded itself, it shifted the focus from the generic word “glacial” and placed the emphasis on “Icelandic.” That made all the difference. Designed by Los Angeles-based Team One, the new logo, bottle and packaging establish a sense of place for the brand. The frosted label features the geographic shape of Iceland with a black logotype that looks like it was hacked out of shards of Arctic ice. Instead of a predominant mineral cobalt blue color, the new label is a translucent sapphire blue that evokes the pristine purity of Iceland’s famous natural resource. The back panel, printed in contrasting varnishes, reveals the tagline “Source of the Epic Life” as if visible through a veneer of frosty ice. The new design positions Icelandic Glacial Water as a premium brand – so much so that you wonder if it contains expensive vodka.

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Pop Culture

Soup as Art; Art as Soup

To mark the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s famed “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” painting, the soup company has just released a limited run of pop art soup cans in select Target stores around the country. The commemorative packaging is a collaboration of the Campbell’s Global Design team and the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Warhol, who died in 1987, had an eye for what was iconic in American culture, albeit a soup can, Brillo box, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, or Mao Tse Tung. The founder of the Pop Art Movement, Warhol began his career as a commercial illustrator, then manipulated our view of everyday objects so we could appreciate them as high art.

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Packaging

Eco-Friendly Vodka Packaging

As vodka products go, Good Ol Sailor Vodka deserves a prize for all-around eco-friendliness. Designed by Swedish agency, Division, the Good Ol Sailor brand is the first vodka in Sweden sold in recyclable PET plastic bottles – a material with significantly lower environmental impact than glass. Good Ol Sailor vodka is also made from organically grown, Swedish barley that has been distilled four times to assure a clean and fruity nose. The graphics, too, by Swedish tattoo artist Mattias Broden, appear right on the surface of the bottle to integrate the packaging design with the container itself. This is a branding program that strives to tread lightly on the earth. That deserves a toast!

Packaging

All-Natural Meals in a Can

Querida Carmen, pre-cooked traditional foods from Spain, suggests its all-natural ingredients and clean, distinct flavors through the uncontrived look of its packaging. Barcelona-based design agency, Grafica, developed the name, identity and packaging for the brand. In addition to its appealing graphics, the packaging cleverly keeps the “wet” ingredients separate from the dry ones by placing a metal can within a cardboard carton. Everything is pre-measured, pre-chopped and pre-cooked, and all the home cook has to do is bring the ingredients in the can to a boil and then add the rice or noodles a few minutes before serving. Dinner is served.

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Packaging

Packaging That Doubles as Home Decor

For packaging designers, retail shelf presence is the primary consideration. Does the brand stand out from the competition? Does it make shoppers think it is better, more innovative, easier to use? Does it make them want to buy it? Bravo, if it does all that. What’s often missing, however, is considering how some types of packaging will look when the consumer gets it home. This is often true of products like liquid soaps, dish detergents and hand lotions where the package serves as the dispenser. The product may be easy to spot on a drugstore shelf, but it looks too functional in a bad way when placed on your bathroom counter next to your color coordinated towels and elegant perfume bottles. So,it is delightful to see that Method, known for its eco-friendly cleaning products, has released limited edition packaging by Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely. Her patterns look botanically natural, fresh and contemporary, with fragrances like pear ginger, vanilla chai, bay leaf and primrose to match. The bottle shapes are equally charming. Even if it is Method dish soap or all-purpose cleaner, people will want to leave the bottle out to enjoy as part of the décor.

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Packaging

A Nutty Approach to Brand Design

The product used to be called NutsOnline and its packaging identity was totally generic and forgettable. So, when the New Jersey-based online retailer secured the domain name “Nuts.com,” it set out to change its image by hiring a powerhouse team to design a new logo and packaging. The result is an identity that looks like it was created by precocious third-graders – but in a good way. The letters were hand-drawn by Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and digitized by type designer Jeremy Mickel. Illustrator Christoph Niemann made line-drawings of the gang of playful nuts. The effect is fresh and charming, and unconventionally nutty. As breezily executed as this design looks, it takes skill to make it appear spontaneous and carefree and not amateurish and crudely done. A closer looks shows there is a hierarchy to the information on the box and an organization to the design. Even the see-through nut personalities give consumers a glimpse of the product inside. This is sophisticated design made to look naïve.

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Packaging

Alternative Organic Packaging

Sydney-based design agency, The Creative Method, says “give us a great story and we’ll give you a great brand.” So when Alternative Organic Wine asked them to design the packaging for a premium limited edition of its organic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, they focused on the product’s naturalness and not on the traditional way that luxury wines are presented. Creative Method explains that the “concept shows a vine, from the leaves to the bark to the wine.” Every aspect of the packaging was natural, from the outer wrapping paper with the grape leaf pattern printed using organic inks, to the laser-cut balsa wood label, to the string and the wax seal used to affix the label. Just by looking at the packaging, it communicates unique and organic.

Packaging

With Mic’s Chilli, the Devil Is in the Details

Irish chili may sound like an oxymoron, but Mic’s Chilli, made in Kilcoole, County Wicklow in Ireland, has the authentic look of a product that comes from “South of the Border” – and we don’t mean Tipperary.

Dublin-based illustrator Steve Simpson has done all of the branding and packaging work for Mic’s Chilli since it launched its first products at the end of 2010. Using Latin American patterns and iconography, the Inferno packaging features Day of the Dead skeleton figures, with “talk bubbles” showing chillis to indicate degrees of hotness — one chilli for mild; four chillis for on fire.

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