For both established brands and young ventures, elegance can be a difficult tone to project without seeming stuffy, or worse, unhip. Here are ten designs, from brands young and old, we think walk the line well.
Iliada’s design manages to bridge two seemingly opposed aesthetics – the elegant and the utilitarian. The minimalist beauty of its finely-polished aluminum exterior brings a touch of rough-hewn class to a product that’s usually packaged either in metal cylinders for wholesale industry use, or glass for in-home consumers. The package’s playful use of graphics – a slight bit of rich oil made to look as if it’s bursting from the seams, with infused produce adding another touch of color – and its sleek typography work in concert to catch eyes on every grocery aisle.
Vizir, known for its minimalist contemporary designs (and great wine, of course), goes the extra mile with this bottle by reining things in (pun intended). The rich olive tint of the glass – which compliments the wine’s natural color wonderfully – is a great platform for the brand’s stark, evocative image use. Less is more: particularly when it foregrounds such a graceful silhouette.
Selfridges’ color palette – nothing short of astounding – is amplified ten-fold by the line’s overall minimalism. A bold use of contemporary typography, and the brand’s ubiquitous use of black, are a strong statement that makes one of any number of their products stand out individually, while also suggesting the strength of the whole. This design overlap also encourages pairings, which in turn underscores the elegance, and the quality, of the line.
Motor oil doesn’t exactly spring to mind when someone starts talking about elegant products. Mathe’s approach? Appeal to the vintage roadster-lover in all of us, and by turns, to the past – a great way to project legitimacy in an industry that doesn’t see too many high-end, sophisticated ventures.
By rethinking what products are traditionally worthy of sleek packaging, Linn Gustafsson has drawn out the natural beauty of an everyday, familiar object – reimagining its potential beyond the low-fi, low-budget cellophane bag of most produce sections.
This warm, understated makeover of a highly visible classic pulls off bold without throwing the brand’s weight around. The designs’ limited color palette is also, by now, distinctly Old Spice, while the box lid’s cheeky copy adds a welcome lightness of tone, making, on the whole, for an incredibly well-balanced combination of legitimacy, approachability, and reliability.
Marmite’s design team has the particular challenge of peddling a product that’s known only regionally (Britain) and even among that demographic, is loved by a select group of breakfast fanatics (those who prefer salty-savory spreads on their morning toast to jam). The bottle’s bold design takes advantage of the product’s natural color, while its typography and design mimic the constructs of certain mainstream condiments, but manage to convey an interesting combination of tones: presence, reliability, and humor.
Body Bistro’s frosted packaging and palette of rich creams speak to the sensuality, and the efficacy, of their product itself, while its sophisticated typography and graphic design generate a distinguished elegance.
Jack Daniels has been around long enough that they can shamelessly – if tastefully – appeal to their rich history. That doesn’t preclude them, however, from offering bold offshoots of their classic line. The “Sinatra Select” is both of these things – the iconic singer was a notorious lover of JD – while the design team walked a wonderful line between contemporary, bold, retro, and refined. Bonus points for the color scheme reflects the whiskey’s natural, rich amber.
Brooklyn fare scores big with this simple but effective use of bold color and flat design, with witty copy that speaks to the grocer’s core, local, value proposition.
Lesson to be learned? 21st century elegance has entirely different connotations than its predecessors. Playfulness, even roguishness, and grace often go hand-in-hand in contemporary marketing and design. Many companies’ campaigns – from a varied range of personalities and an even wider spectrum of marketing demographics – are becoming more daring, and, paradoxically, more homogenous.