Art with a Purpose – By Andrea Gothard

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Many people in the world of packaging would say that, “packaging design is the key to marketing”. Although the four basic functions of packaging are containment, protection, communication and utility the design is what draws the consumer in. The functionality of a package is what makes a loyal customer but it is the design that sells the product initially. It takes a team of excellent designers and engineers to create a great package and label that represents a brand well and sells the product.

Last week I got the opportunity to visit and tour Design Bridge. Design Bridge is an independent company that designs and creates labels, packaging and advertisements. Their goal is to make art with a purpose. While we were there we met with the Executive creative Director David Annetts. David was kind enough to speak with us about Design Bridge and tell us what it is all about and give us a tour. I asked Mr. Annetts what he thought to be the biggest challenge in packaging today was and he said that it was simply cost. He then when on to talk about how packages need to be make efficiently and quickly but also at low cost. This is by far the hardest aspect of packaging to achieve. Packaging speeds can be increased and material costs can be decreased but when this happens quality of the package decreases. This is something that Design Bridge is working on improving as well as many other packaging and design companies. Design Bridge works with a supplier to create a package with excellent functionality and style. The projects they have worked on that are the most popular are Lipton Ice tea, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Tanqueray No. Ten Gin.

Each project is unique in its own way of how the brand wants to portray itself. When Design Bridge creates a package it has to represent the product and brand correctly. Brand identity is so important when designing a label and advertisement. For example, the Tanqueray No. Ten Gin package and design must look elite and bold to draw the attention of the right consumer. The design of the bottle and labeling must represent the Tanqueray brand in the best possible way. This is also shown with the Hellmann’s brand identity. As the packaging develops and changes overtime to create a better functioning mayonnaise jar and package the brand man will always be represented the right way. The blue ribbon and Hellmann’s name represents the quality and the legacy the Hellmann’s family has created.

Branding is so important because it is what creates customer loyalty. In packaging there are “Four moments of Truth”. The first is the “Ah-ha” moment when a customer comes in contact with the package for the first time. The second is when the customer buys the product a second time due to a positive experience. The third is when the customer becomes loyal to the brand name and will try other products with the same brand. The fourth is when the customer shares a positive opinion on social media or with friends.

The design of the label and packaging are also so incredibly important because with the thousands of products on the selves today your product needs to stand out. The design and packaging is what makes a product pop on the shelf. Hellemann’s mayonnaise and Lipton Ice tea both have standard persona label yet the packaging is always changing and developing to keep the consumers attention. With todays changing and emerging market dynamics products have shorter life cycles on the shelves so in order to keep a product on the selves longer.

David Annetts also talked about cultural differences in packaging. Packaging is different around the world to be suitable and to appeal for different cultures. I have noticed this a lot over the past few weeks. For example, Doritos and candy bars have different packaging in the United Kingdom verse the states. The flavors of the Doritos and other chips are different in the U.K to appeal to the liking of the culture here. The candy bar packaging is also different here as well. I have also noticed that the packaging in the U.K is generally more environmentally friendly, while the packaging in the U.S is more focused on convenience for the consumer. For example, re-sealable packages in the U.K have small stickers/tape that closes that package while in the United States there are plastic re-sealable applicators.

Along with cultural references media and advertising come into play. While in London I noticed mass amount of interactive advertising. The biggest thing I saw was a massive fashion show advertisement for Magnum Ice cream. Magnum shut down a huge portion of Oxford street and gave away free ice cream while having fashion shows and various activities to advertise their two new flavors, black expresso and pink strawberry. It was such a cool environment to be apart of. the packaging of the ice cream represents the brand name well and goes a long with the theme of high end ice cream and fashion. There are now Magnum stores where you can design and dress up your own ice cream. I believe interactive advertising and packaging is where the world is headed because as time changes companies need to find a way to gran the consumers attention.

I have noticed several difference and unique packages and designs though out this entire trip through the United Kingdom. Walking down Oxford Circus and through Selfridges Mall I have notice so many culturally unique packages. When I was listening to David Annetts speak so many parts of the last few weeks came to mind. I was able to get in contact with David Annetts after our time at Desig Bridge and ask him a few more questions about the company. I am so thrilled to be have been exposed to the U.K and companies like Design Bridge. I cannot believe my time here has come to an end. I have learned so much about the impact of mass media, advertising and packaging.

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