Jan 27, 2012

Is beige the new black?

Consumers are increasingly seeking the ‘authentic’ in many markets, driven by a combination of factors such as marketing skepticism and the widespread availability of what used to be called ‘niche’ brands. All-conquering social media channels and the radical transparency that goes with them only accelerates this trend, to the point where being a big, mass-market brand can seem rather last century.

This can lead to some fascinating design mind-games, such as these Tesco Finest wines, trying very hard to look as if design is the last thing on their mind. It’s all about the product, we wouldn’t waste effort and money on trying to persuade people to buy a nice label… but we’ll invest plenty trying to persuade people to buy an ugly one.

Moving down several price points, Black Tower sports one of the best-produced designs to be seen anywhere in the supermarket – half-sleeved, base-labelled, gold-foiled and sporting a fabulous image of an exotic holiday promotion. Yours for a fiver, and when you think about it, possibly more transparently authentic than the uber-dowdy wines three shelves higher up.

Takeout: Authenticity has developed a language of its own, but true authenticity is simply being and showing yourself.