Ensuring pack stand-out: cartoon genius from Tom Fishburne

The latest bit of cartoon genius from Tom Fishburne covers pack design, and the tendency of companies to create bland not brand-led packaging.

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Many brands still copy the codes of the market, fill the pack with multiple messages
and try to appeal to everyone. Then wonder why the pack doesn't stand
out. Check out these four brands of face cleanser for example. And if you have time, have a laugh at this piss-take video showing what the iPod pack design would be like if Microsoft did it.

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Brand charisma

Creating packaging stand-out is a topic we've covered in several posts before. Andy Knowles at JKR has a great terms for this that he calls "brand charisma", that I posted on here. The idea is to identify and then amplify the visual "essence" of your brand. What are the unique visual properties that help shoppers identify your brand? And how can you make these even stronger.

Keep your consumers

This is an important step before you start actually designing. Without it, the risk is that you will create a pack that looks different, but that throws away too much equity, and so confuses consumers. If they can't find your brand, they get pissed off, and may buy another brand. And, if they like it, they may not come back. I posted on the problems Tropicana got into by making this mistake here, with the packs below, old (left) and new (right).

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Amplify the visual essence

In my work with SAB Miller I came across a good example of amplifying your visual essence, on Castle Lager. The new pack (right) is not that different from the old pack (left). But, it updates the brand and makes it more appealing, by polishing and enhancing the key visual equities. The red central band is more 3-d and brighter. The medals stand out more. The castle symbol has been polished, and the signature of the master brewer added.

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In conclusion, pack design is perhaps the best illutration of the key principle "less is more". You just need to ensure that the "less" you focus on is the right bit, by identifying first the visual essence of your brand before you start creative work.