Mmmazing Packaging, Design for M&M’s Global Brand

Designworks the design studio at New York City’s BBDO advertising agency, recently worked with Mars develop a comprehensive global brand book for M&M’s, a printed piece that merges five marketing components of the company (identity, packaging, communications, tone of voice and characters) into one package. What Designworks did was produce a fun, beautifully designed piece for use by M&M’s global marketing directors and creatives for branding purposes.

The packaged set is composed of five separate books or guides, each with a colored cover of M&M’s candies, provides insight into an individual marketing program and is accompanied by additional resources on DVD. All five books fit neatly in a bookshelf box with a die cut allowing dozens of M&M’s to peek through.

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A Delicious New Package Design for Häagen Dazs

Old Packaging

New Packaging

Undergoing its first packaging redesign in a number of years, Häagen Dazs recently teamed up with the brand strategy and design gurus at Sterling Brands to create new packaging with the purpose of improving the ice-cream brands’ shelf appeal.

Consumer research indicated there was no need to refresh the brand’s current logo or color scheme, so designers created a new interpretation of the brand’s recognizable features, ultimately developing packaging that is arguably more attractive, contemporary and appealing.

“We want to make sure that we maintain our positioning as the super premium ice cream,”
(Jason Merideth, associate brand manager, Häagen Dazs).

Significant design changes include replacing the outgoing burgundy background with a light gold one, which not only makes the text on each carton easier to read, but really lightens up the appearance of each carton. The banner graphic was also tweaked, wrapping it horizontally around the carton.

A ‘tasting notes’ section, much like one you might find on a bottle of wine, has been added on the back of each carton and describes the taste experience of each individual flavor. Typographical changes include implementing a sans-serif font in place of the italicized serif font listing the product flavor and making the brand’s all-natural benefit more prominent by placing the “all-natural ice cream” promise directly underneath the flavor name.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable changes is the emphasis on photography, which is not only designed to reflect the quality of the ice cream, but to further increase the appeal of each product.

Apparently, the redesign has been successful. Since it’s launch in February 2010, Perception Research Services studies have found that this new packaging has improved individual flavor ‘shopability’ of the Häagen Dazs brand by over 20 percent.

Sagent Using Color to Prevent Medical Errors

Mhdezign, whose clients include the Bed Bath & Beyond, Qwest and KIA Automobiles, recently worked with Sagent Pharmaceuticals, a specialty injectables company to design a packaging and labeling system for the company’s line of products. Called PreventIV Measures™, Sagent’s color coded system not only stands out, but clarifies drug information and dosage for the nurses and doctors delivering injectables like the anticoagulant, Heparin.

Through using this unique system, Sagent is doing their part to lower the frequency of medical errors and confusion that can occur during a patient’s treatment. In fact, Sagent is the only pharmaceutical company today using this color-based system of identification. The PreventIV Measures™  packaging and labeling helps promote immediate drug and dose  recognition for every medical professional who handles a medication – from the pharmacy to the  patient’s bedside and at every point in between.  (Sagent Pharmaceuticals)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Five Sustainable Packaging Trends

The last few years have seen increasing use of sustainable packaging by a myriad of North American companies like Amazon, Coca-Cola, Sprint, Dell and Kraft Foods. Utilizing packaging that implements growing amounts of recycled materials, compostable/biodegradable packaging, reusable packaging, source reduced packaging and resource optimized packaging has been shown to cut costs while still contributing to the design quality and familiarity of brands that consumers already know and love. Below are examples from companies currently using sustainable packaging.

RECYCLED: Quiznos Food and Drink Packaging

Quiznos has established a new goal of keeping more than six million pounds of packaging materials out of landfills and to meet that objective, Quiznos now offers 100 percent compostable paper cups, biodegradable pulp salad bowls, plastic cup lids implementing 30 percent post-consumer recycled bottles and napkins made from 90 percent post-consumer, 100 percent recycled material fibers.

Designed with an obvious emphasis on the brand in mind this new packaging will save a vast amount of resources in production. Quiznos estimates that the napkins alone will save nearly half a million trees and over 15 million gallons of water. In addition, the salad bowls will save nearly one million pounds of plastic waste from ending up in landfills.

COMPOSTABLE: Frito-Lay Sun Chips Bag

In the summer of 2009, Frito-Lay, maker of the SunChips line of snacks introduced bags utilizing a single layer of a plant-based polyactic acid (PLA, aka biodegradable material). The company later promised a fully compostable bag by Earth Day the next year. The following spring, Frito-Lay delivered on that promise and launched a bag made completely of PLAs. Certified compostable by Woods End and biodegradable by the Biodegradable Products Institute, this new bag will decompose in about 100 days under the right conditions.

UPDATE Oct 7 2010: 18 months after it’s launch, Frito-Lay is “bagging” the fully compostable packaging from five out of six SunChips varieties. The noisy packaging, due to a rigid molecular structure, has spawned a lot of criticism of the new packaging, spawning the Sorry But I Can’t Hear You Over This SunChips Bag facebook group and according to some reports, more than a 10% decline in sales over the past 52 weeks.

REUSABLE: Happy Baby Organic Puffs Container

Instead of encouraging consumers to reuse their products’ packaging, Happy Baby chose to step up early in their products’ life cycle by reclaiming discontinued packaging and reusing the containers to launch a new line of Happy Baby Puffs.  Originating from Method, a company using the same packaging format for wipes, had hundreds of thousands of the containers available for purchase, along with the mold to create them as well. Already made with 25 percent post-consumer recycled content, Happy Baby was able to purchase the containers for a fraction of what it would ultimately cost to produce new ones.

SOURCE REDUCED: Sprint Accessory Packaging

Sprint‘s new line of accessory packaging is is not only smaller in size but also implements a greater amount of post-consumer waste content. The new packaging is up to 40 percent smaller in size, contains elements made from FSC-certified paperboard and 40 percent industrial waste content. PVC elements have been replaced with PET, utilizing 30 percent recycled content. Printing is done using soy and vegetable-based inks instead of the petroleum alternative. Sprint estimates that this new line of packaging will save nearly 650 tons of waste annually and reduce their packaging costs by 35 percent, saving the company over $2 million annually.

RESOURCE OPTIMIZED: Maxwell House Coffee Can

In recent years, Kraft Foods has shed over 100 million pounds in packaging their products by using sustainable alternatives. One contributor to this massive weight loss effort can be found in the Maxwell House brand of coffees, which now use composite paperboard cans in place of the steel alternative. Additionally, paperboard cans require less energy to produce and result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their metal counterparts. The new cans still use a recyclable steel bottom but weighs 30 percent less, use 50 percent recycled content and shed nearly 9 million pounds in material for the company.


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A Sustainable Shoebox for PUMA

Clever Little Bag

As sustainable packaging practices are becoming ever more popular, many businesses continue to question whether or not such practices are worth the associated price tag. While it may have cost more to go with that special grade of PCW paper a few years ago, there simply is no reason not to incorporate sustainable materials into manufactured goods today. While big business continues to question the price tag associated with “going green”,  our landfills continue to grow at a fearful rate, aided in part by the enormous amount of excess packaging and material which is continually produced by these companies only to be thrown out later.

Boxes contribute to millions of tons of waste each year, and even with proposed second uses, they are eventually thrown out (Communication Arts).

Fortunately, PUMA is one of the industry giants that is trying to do their part to lighten the load we place on the environment. The shoemaker recently partnered with award-winning industrial design and branding firm fuseproject, which churned out what founder Yves Behar calls the “Clever Little Bag”. Intended to conform to PUMA’s long-term sustainability program, this revolutionary new packaging system is designed as a cleaner, greener solution to the tissue-filled shoebox of yesteryear.

Clever Little Bag 2

The result of 2,000 designs and 21 months of packaging research, this innovative packaging system uses 65 percent less cardboard than the standard shoebox, ships for less and eliminates the need for a shopping bag. Adorned with the PUMA logo, each recyclable bag serves a dual purpose as it protects the shoes in each package and can then be used as a tote post-purchase. Only a single, die-cut cardboard element is used in each package and requires minimal assembly.

PUMA claims implementation of this new packaging system will cut water, energy and fuel consumption through the manufacturing process by more than six percent a year, saving over eight tons of paper and one million liters of both water & fuel oil. In addition, the new system is projected to save an equivalent of 275 tons of plastic retail bags and will keep 10,000 tons of CO2 out of the air. PUMA plans to implement this new system in 2011.

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