Like most people I hate doing the shopping, wandering round the aisles of a large soul-less white walled stack ‘em high supermarket with the all important trolley with one dodgy wheel.
Actually that’s a lie. I really quite enjoy it.
Not the act of walking up and down with a list looking lost and getting angry at the price of ham, I leave that to my fiancé. I enjoy walking up and down up the aisles hunched over the trolley in a trance like state scanning the shelves for the packaging, the typefaces, the colours, the styles, the illustrations, the informational graphics – everything – the good, the bad, the ugly and the gluten free. I’ve bought things before based on the first impressions I got when I saw them on the shelves. I once bought a box of something I wasn’t sure of because I loved the black and white photography and use of clean typography on the packaging. I found out at the till it was a box of Kotex sanitary towels…
The cereal aisle is my favourite, once you get past the hairy and scary characters of the sugar filled boxes the real packaging design is there waiting, the muesli. The stand out name in these healthy green little boxes are Dorset Cereals. Uncoated stock, foil blocked identity, toned and rich colour choices, simple but unconventional typeface, beautiful die cuts and elegant and simple illustrations. They do it right, and they know it. The first time I saw one I immediately bought it, obsessed by the silver foil (on a cereal box???), I’ve still got it today, unopened, sitting on a shelf.
They get it right, mainly because they are well branded. In my eyes a great brand. It’s a confident piece of design that is true to itself – the 5 or 6 little leaf shaped die cuts show you what’s on the inside is as tasty as the outside. The use clean space and don’t over complicate things – three colours at most sitting nicely next to a regal silver foil name that gives you the consumer a sense of importance. They know their brand, they know their audience (designers aside) they aim at the health conscious and well off who go for green credentials and recyclability along with taste and product satisfaction. They don’t advertise on children’s television, or sponsor a fancy sports team in fact they don’t advertise at all.
Mainly because the don’t have to, theirs is a brand that consumers have a relationship with. Dorset Cereals stays true to what they are and they don’t try to be anything else, they’ve grown and evolved into more cereal related products, but their packaging design has remained constant.Familiarity with products is often a key reason why consumers choose a product, and the packaging plays a huge part – now more than ever, consumers (and pedantic designers) scan the shelves before picking up and purchasing. Even in the current less than favourable economic situation if a product doesn’t show its value and assets to the customer through the packaging (they do say the average consumer scans the shelf in less than seconds).
Well designed and ‘on brand’ packaging designing has the ability and style to tap into the consumer mindset to choose that product over the competition, time and time again, but only when it’s done right.
Now where did I leave the spoons???