It's okay to be nostalgic about certain things: an influential time in your life or music that prompts an old memory. And, yes, the shoulder pads. They really did look good on you. One thing I don't feel nostalgic about is consumer goods packaging. While retro designs may appeal to some people, they seem disconnected from the current product to me.
When Pepsi re-introduced a limited-edition line of sodas containing real sugar (not corn syrup) they resurrected their previous packaging. Does this confuse the consumer?
With an overwhelming number of choices available for products like shampoo, cereal, deodorant, soda, laundry detergent, you name it, is retro packaging really going to inspire in me thoughts about the good old days and compel me to buy the product? Not likely. For me it just confuses the issue. Package design should represent product attributes, business goals, the retail environment and target audience and function for the long-term. Over time, shoppers come to trust certain brands and associate them with their distinguishing visual characteristics.
It's easy to identify Tide's bright orange color, and everyone is familiar with the Quaker of Quaker Oats. Brands and packaging should evolve to reflect, participate in and contribute to current trends and tastes. Below are examples of big brands we think have done a great job maintaining their original equity while evolving to accommodate contemporary shoppers.
Liska Designer Katie Schweitzer contributed to this post.
If your 2011 resolution was to eat the very best cookies, then keep this is mind: Good things come in good packaging.
At Liska, we consider ourselves both packaging and cookie experts. So, we thought it would be fun to share our favorite cookie packaging designs – the boxes/bags that entice us again and again. If you too are a cookie expert, please take the poll at the end of this post.
Jules Destrooper This simple design respects the 125-history of this amazing cookie company. If you have not had a taste, know that these cookies live up to their "a little bite of happiness" tagline.
Design by: Jules Destrooper staff
Sarabeth's Kitchen These hand-made cookies come packaged in an clear, re-usable plastic jar. The design is a simple, but effective, combination of elegant type and illustration.
Design by: Louise Fili
DeSeo Cantuccini Strong photography set against a white background reveals the cross section of a cookie on this elegant packaging. The top of the box showcases each ingredient and shows the company's pride in ingredient choice and selection.
Design by: DeSeo staff
Donna Hay The packaging for this line of sweets from Australian food stylist Donna Hay stays true to her 'special-made-simple' philosophy. Uncluttered design, refined font choice and delicate colors – including Donna’s signature blue – combine with illustrative photography for packaging that is tidy without being too fussy.
Design by: Frost Design
Tank Goodness A pyramid shaped box reflects a sophisticated product while the cardboard material and warm colors evokes the qualities of a homemade cookie.
Designed by Spunk Design
Dancing Deer A cheerful palette of yellow and orange, playful animal illustrations and compelling photography accurately represents this cookie company's passion for delicious food, all-natural ingredients, the environment and giving back to the community.
Design by: Slover and Company
We don't know much about who designed this packaging or what it contains, but we do know that it's very cool looking. [polldaddy poll=4353007]
Not only was our site design (left) copied, but the photography we used to display past projects was altered and reworked.
Yesterday we discovered that our website had been copied and repurposed by another graphic design firm. It was our site, it contained our code, and many of the projects they purported to be their own were our designs with a new company name and logo Photoshopped in. The similarities were so blatant it was laughable.
I threatened to get lawyers involved and to call up all the copycat's clients. Their site came down. Their twitter feed disappeared. The woman in charge changed her name on LinkedIn. Then she called me. "I had no idea, I am so sorry," she claimed. She must have "misremembered" Photoshopping the life out of our work. I forgive her.
There is little financial incentive to rip off a graphic designer, so it rarely happens. But, it does happen. I keep a file of all the times people have "paid homage" to Liska's work to remind me how the business of creativity can be so misguided at times. This fiasco makes me feel for the architects, product developers, musicians, fashion designers and all others who strive to have an original voice and are copied immediately by counterfeiters, Forever 21, drug store brands, Vanilla Ice, misguided authors, greasy marketers, etc.
We are all influenced by the world around us, we all repurpose. Everything has been done. Nothing is new. But, we have to keep on trying to improve, add quality, depth and delight. Just don't steal. I learned that when I was four years old.
Coffee bean packaging comes in modern, retro, and charmingly simple packaging. The following designs attract our attention, provoke our emotions, and are much more envirosensitive than the old Maxwell House can.
1. Intelligentsia Chicago’s hometown favorite coffee’s retro red and blue (decaf) bags look great on the shelf. The logo depicts a coffee cup with wings to represent the elevated quality of intelligentsia’s beans. Design: Planet Propaganda
4. Artemis Coffee: Minimal Art Deco packaging. Looks cool and contemporary. Love to have this in my kitchen. Design: Watts Design
5. Blue Bottle This simple, hand-printed paper packaging reflects the hands-on approach to roasting that Blue Bottle takes to roasting coffee. Blue Bottle stamps the name of the blend on each bag. Some fans have tried to collect them all. Designer: Oksana Divina
6. Rio Coffee Established in 1964, Australian roasters Rio Coffee based the 64 blend on the company's first brew. Typography, color and packaging material (tin) evoke the spirit of the 1960s and represent the longevity of the company. Very groovy.Design: Voice
7. Alternativa 3 The simplicity of Alternativa 3 coffee bean packaging design captures the clarity of the company's mission — to spread the word about free trade principles. Design: Nestor Urdanpilleta
My wife brought home a very nice little tin of Starbucks© Cinnamon Mints. “Honey*, why does it say NOT A LOW-CALORIE FOOD on this tin?” she asked. “Is it a food, or just high in calories?”
Is a mint the size of an aspirin considered a food? If these mints are not low in calories (they are sugar-free!), should we assume that they are high in calories? Is Starbucks© getting calls from people claiming malnourishment after eating the three-mint serving size?
Not all labeling requirements are stupid. Over the years, we’ve designed a lot of packaging for the beauty, health and fashion industries which all have their guidelines for labeling. But unlike the ambiguous mint labeling, these standards are developed to inform how to use a product, dispose of packaging and promote safety.
Slapping regulatory labels on any product that we could put in our mouths will not help the consumer. Labeling regulations must have a value or they lose their meaning and effectiveness (think of all the products claiming to be all natural!)
* 100% organic, not a low-calorie food, no bees were harmed for this blog.