Product Design

Irresistible Trade Show Treats

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Tokyo-based Nendo creative agency was just awarded “2015 Designer of the Year” at the Maison & Objet (M&O) trade show in Paris. Nendo won for designing a special chocolate lounge and candy named “Chocolatexture.” Instead of basing the names of the Chocolatexture line on the usual attributes – e.g., country of origin, flavor, percentage of cocoa butter content, technique, etc., Nendo based the names on shape. The nine different chocolates are about the same size, but differ in texture. The product names use Japanese colloquial terms to describe the specific shapes. Thus, “Tubu Tubu” implies tiny chunks of chocolate drops; “Goro-Goro means that there are 14 connected points; “Suka-Suka” means a hollow cube with thin walls, etc. The packaging features shape silhouettes as well.

The Nendo chocolate lounge was open for a limited time only during the M&O show in January. The design delegates who attended the event probably wanted to take the well-conceived packaging home to show their staff, but it is questionable how many were actually able to resist the delicious treat.
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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

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

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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Packaging

Olympic Branding Champions

Coca-Cola has just unveiled six limited-edition cans to cheer on Team USA at the London Olympics this summer. San Francisco-based design agency, Turner Duckworth, combined three of the world’s most recognizable icons to communicate the entire story –the stripes of the American flag; the five interlocked rings of the Olympic logo and silhouette of an athlete, and Coca-Cola’s signature red and Spencerian script logotype. The effect is succinct, direct and graphically powerful. Coca-Cola is rotating the can designs throughout the summer, with a new one appearing every two weeks, culminating with a special composite logo timed for the opening of the Olympic Games.

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Visual Merchandising

Shopping Bag Puns

Aside from the fact that we find these shopping bags funny, they show the possibilities when designers literally think outside of the bag. When approaching an assignment, designers typically focus solely within the boundaries of the product itself, whether that is the edges of a page or the shape of a three-dimensional object. But sometimes the cleverest design answer presents itself in the way and in the environment in which the product will be used. What’s terrific about these shopping bag designs is that the user unwittingly is made part of the graphic solution. It takes the user’s participation to complete the visual pun.

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Packaging

Barcodes That Make You Smile

You’ve heard of vanity license plates; now think of vanity barcodes. In the U.S., Vanity Barcodes, a business started by Reuben and Yael Miller of Miller Creative in New Jersey, has turned these boring UPC codes into decorative elements. They have a number of barcode designs in stock or will customize one to your preference.

The idea of disguising this inventory management device into something else is believed to have originated in Japan with Design Barcode in 2004. The agency made the barcodes an integral part of the packaging design, tying it into the brand or cleverly building the stripes and digits into a line drawn picture.

As simple as this concept may seem, it’s not one that designers should try on their own. As both Vanity Barcodes and Design Barcode emphasize every manipulated barcode has to be thoroughly tested to make sure it gives accurate readings when passed through a retail scanner.

Packaging

Making the Product the Package and Vice Versa

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Is it possible to brand a product without creating a printed label? At the Accademia Italiana in Skopje, Macedonia, design student Petar Pavlov was determined to find out. In a Packaging Design class, he was assigned the task of creating a packaging prototype for “something very dear to him.” He chose chocolate, he says, because it is “something that I can’t live without.”

Petar, whose study focuses on graphic design and visual communications, says that his obsession with typography, along with his decision not to use any printing for the packaging, inevitably led him to the idea of turning the chocolate itself into letterforms that spell out the name of the product.

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