The Best of 2011 Part 2: Packaging design, The Good, The Great, and The Tragic

As part 2 of our 2011 year in review, we are taking at look at some of this years show-stopping, jaw dropping, packaging design hits and misses.

We’ve got to hand it to P&G for doing a stellar job on two much needed revamps…enter Old Spice and Ivory Soap.  Old Spice was struggling with consumer misconception that the fragrances smelled, well, old.  The new package design conveys the refreshed scents in a way that makes them appear youthful and palpably fresh. Top marks for attempting to change consumer perceptions.

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Ivory, was also struggling with perception issues, or lack their of, as their old packaging fell to the background on shelf.  As a means for increasing impact on shelf the brand kept its iconic logo but amped up the brand colors for a necessary pop that didn’t alienate current consumers, but made potential new ones take notice.  Top marks for staying true to the brand and creating a clean and simple design that gets noticed.

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The P&G did a great job in terms of packaging evolution, but it’s this next revolution that caught our eye and scored top marks.  Kohberg, the Danish bread manufacturer that partners with a the The Danish Cancer Society in its fight against breast cancer created this jaw-dropping package to increase brand awareness and channel funds to the cancer society.  The cleverly, tongue-in-cheek, packaged rye bread rolls are both eye catching, clever and beautifully simple.  Top marks to raising awareness for a good cause while giving us a good giggle.

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And speaking of good causes…this packaging from L Condoms is a real game changer.  A far cry from the cheesy packages of big brands, the L Condom is chic, sophisticated and purpose driven.  L Condoms empowers women globally by perpetuating the basic human right to safe sex by distributing condoms in developing countries.   Top marks for game changing packaging that is a vehicle for good.

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Our product designers are always looking at packages and how their functionality can add value for the consumer.  We applaud this sort of thinking, but sometimes, something beautiful is enough to alter the perceived value of a product and make consumers fall in love.  This year, Ramlosa did just that.  With the redesign of their bottle we can practically taste the crisp and refreshing water the new bottle holds.  The angular, icy design is suggesting of where the water hales from.  Oh, and did we mention it reduces cost and waste?! Top marks for making us thirst for this gorgeous bottle.

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And this wouldn’t be a round up if we didn’t consider the most epic package designs, but also design failures.  I think we’ll always remember Gap’s fleeting logo switch that left design critics outraged and consumers scratching their heads.  What started as an alleged “crowdsourcing experiment” turned into an epic social media case study, and left Gap totally embarrassed.  Bottom marks for a complete absence of thought and a total abandonment of the brand standards.

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And then there was JCPenny.  On the heels of their SEO scandal JCP launched a new image to set the stage for a new brand initiative that would usher them in as “America’s favorite shopping destination.”  That’s a big job for a little logo.  The move to all lower case and a uniform red square wasn’t enough to capture our hearts or our dollars.  When your less than kosher online marketing practices are exposed, you’ll need a little more than a new logo to win us over.  Just saying.  Bottom marks for thinking a new logo is a cure-all.

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And because we always like to end on a high note, lets have a round of applause for Guinness Draught for making a good packaging great.  Simplicity was the name of the game when they took their iconic harp and turned it into an emblem for the brand.  The clean, yet irreverent design draws your eye and raises the perceived value of the package.  Top marks for reveling in their heritage, beautifully and simply.

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And though we have had some real winners this year, the true winner, in our minds, is the redesigned Puma package that reduces its carbon footprint, and is a greener solution to an already pretty green process.  Top marks for the sheer ingenuity and thinking outside of the box…pun intended.

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