Archive for April 2013

Letter from America

As the spiritual home of both branding and the supermarket (‘the natural habitat of the package’), it’s been a lot of fun to check out the state of play in American packaging design. Design in general tends to reflect both cultural norms and emerging trends, but the balance varies markedly across product categories. For packaged…

Read More

Trust, personified

Quaker Oat Porridge on Shelf

Great to see the very first packaged brand, launched by William Henry Crowell in 1860, still going strong. The portrait of the un-named gentleman has never looked better, hanging centrally over a very straightforward and restrained design system based on square colour blocks. If I’m being picky this information panel doesn’t feel very integrated and…

Read More

Kool and Colorful

Kool Aid is another American icon, though from a slightly more recent period of history when convenience and technology triumphed over any concerns about unhealthy additives. Now available in original powder, concentrated liquid and this ready to drink format, it’s managed to stay relevant to consumers through innovation. Wherever you see it in-store it’s colourful,…

Read More

Multiple choice

Several Pepsi Packages on Shelf

America wouldn’t be America without the arms race between Coke and Pepsi, fought with advertising dollars and shelf-space domination. In this store they faced off on either side of the same aisle, so consumer choice wasn’t so much between the brands as between variants within your chosen brand. Apart from the classic and diet options,…

Read More

Conformity rules

Juices crystal bottles on a supermarket shelf

The ambient juice fixture in Whole Foods offers a dizzying choice of mostly undifferentiated small town brands, each with a long family history and commitment to natural ingredients and processing. With label designs straight from the Yankee candle school of twee homeliness, they all appear to be aimed at grandparents, or as they’re called over…

Read More

Tortilla heaven

Non GMO Snacks on a Supermarket Shelf

The #1 brand of natural and organic tortilla chips, Garden of Eatin’ has the kind of name that clearly works here in the USA, linking food, nature and possibly even religion, all in a range of dipping chips. Say what you like about the pun-laden branding, these packs manage to look tasty, natural and joyful…

Read More

Making the product work

Why would you bother showing the product on a pack when it looks just like everyone else’s? Surely it’s the brand people are interested in? Yes and No. Consumer needs are met by products and categories, the brand’s job is to suggest it provides the best solution, by telling the best story. The product can…

Read More

Now you see me…

Pepperidge Farm Biscuits range on a supermarket shelf

Pepperidge Farm made a corner of the consumer’s mind all their own when they first launched white paper-feel bags to imitate corner-shop bakers. Whilst the conviction of the original packs seems to have been watered down judging by the right side of this display, at least they’re getting it right with Kids’ sub-brand Goldfish. The…

Read More

Pile it high, mix it up

Despite the un-seasonally cold weather Diageo’s promotional calendar says it’s time for a barbecue, and here’s the drinks menu. It certainly looks like the whole street’s invited, because everything here comes in large. And whilst the display itself is literally unmissable, it could try a bit harder to make me feel like I’m going outside…

Read More

And for the morning after…

Non alcoholic drinks

Whilst the usual suspects in soft drinks dominate the shelf space, there’s a growing trend towards ‘better for you’ drinks based on fewer and more natural ingredients. Izze is one of the better known ‘new sodas’, aided by a no frills glass bottle and a simple but meaningful fruity icon. But if your body needs…

Read More