Insight
May 14, 2012
The evolution and adaptation of package structure and design creates a simple yet obvious way to differentiate a brand from its competitors.

Upside Down for Easy Innovation

Structural innovation doesn't always have to be complicated. Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective.

Today, every CPG brand is struggling to stand out on shelf, to break through the noise of the thousands of products vying for shoppers' ever-dividing attention. As designers, we know that package structure can be an obvious way to differentiate. Look what it's done for Method, Apple or Jawbone... structure can be a telegraphic signal that a company is unique, innovative and knows the consumer better.

The thing is, elaborate structure design explorations, creation of unique structures, and implementation of new production equipment can be prohibitive. For brands with limited resources, these types of innovation might not be in the cards, at least in the short term. This doesn't mean they need to get left in the dust. 

Often, innovation is simple and its simplicity can make it all the more striking. Case in point: we love seeing brands take readily available structures and do something unexpected with them. When we created Essn, it was long before the mini-can had become popular, and this eye-catching structure gave the brand a serious leg-up in market. And when CB'a Paris revolutionized the Daddy Sugar brand, they were able to leverage a series of existing structures and bring a new face to the brand. 

Today we're looking at just a few brands who are capitalizing on some of this structural low hanging fruit by taking existing structures and simply turning them on their heads:

Heinz took a functional issue (the last of the ketchup getting stuck in the bottom of the bottle) and used gravity in their favor... creating a new iconic bottle profile in the process. Head & Shoulders created a harmonious pair with their shampoo and conditioner. Nutzo peanut butter embraced the fact that consumers often store natural peanut butter upside down before mixing to incorporate the naturally separating oils. And Wonka channeled their playful personality to package ice cream upside down, thus standing out in a crowded freezer.

We see so many products every day, and we tune out most of them. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle difference, a delightful surprise, to get our attention.

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