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Shelf Impact! Anne Marie Mohan

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Shelf Impact! Advisory Board

Our packaging experts help shape the content and provide independent analysis.

June 20, 2011
In This Issue

thumb Smart packaging: Better engagement, stronger customer experiences

Around the world, consumers are connecting at every time of the day and night.

thumbPackage Gallery

Tea redesign reflects growing sophistication of organics consumers

By Anne Marie Mohan, Editor

For Choice Organic Teas, the redesign of the packaging for its Original tea line could be likened to polishing a gem. While the Seattle-based company-the first organic tea crafter in the U.S.-has maintained the core elements of its design to preserve the brand equity, the packaging's colors, artwork, and messaging have been refreshed and refined for a more modern look.

"From a design point of view, the design cues [for organics] in packaging have shifted. In the early days, natural consumers looked to rustic packaging to connote 'natural, organic, healthy' products and earth-friendly packaging," relates India Nagy, graphic coordinator for Choice Organic Teas. "Organic, healthy ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging are more important than ever as the category has evolved. However, consumers are more sophisticated, and they are looking for indicators of a more refined experience."

Details of the redesign were guided by results of in-depth consumer research conducted by The Hartman Group. "We had many of our hunches confirmed by the research, and we gained new insight as well," Nagy shares. "We knew we needed an update, but we didn't want to lose sight of the brand and all the equity that was there."

Read the full article



Smart packaging: Better engagement, stronger customer experiences

By Ted Mininni, President, Design Force Inc.

Our society is more mobile than ever and always in touch, thanks to iPads, cell phones, and Blackberries. These devices help communicate, inform, and entertain. Around the world, consumers are connecting at every time of the day and night. Consumer product companies with Web sites are open for business 24/7.


Web sites, advertising, and social media drive consumers into retail environments. Then what? Myriad products in every category confront consumers. Brands exist in ultra-competitive conditions; they're vying with more rivals than ever, including private-label brands. How to stand out and differentiate? Packaging, and smart CPG companies are upping the ante. Tapping into shoppers' yen to engage, savvy brands are delivering products in smart packaging that adds brand value. Shoppers are using new media so those brands that develop the potential of this engagement platform are more relevant in their lives.

New cell phone apps make it possible to scan 2D bar codes on packaging. The beauty of QR (quick response) 2D codes: The shopper can download information to help guide a purchase decision. Special apps on mobile devices enable consumers to answer a few simple questions and to click choices on a simple needs list so that an exact product match can be quickly and easily found. These conveniences eliminate the guesswork when making purchase decisions.

Think of the implications. Food and beverage companies can supply information on sourcing, nutritional issues, and dietary concerns for consumers. They can get out in front of safety issues and answer important questions to help allay consumer fears. Ditto for pharmaceuticals. Toy brands. Household goods. Electronics.

Read the full article


A winning package for Old Style and the Cubs

By Pat Reynolds, Editor, Packaging World

A glass beer bottle made to look like a baseball bat is at the foundation of a fun promotional campaign now underway through July from Pabst Brewing Co. It's all about Chicago's beloved Cubs baseball team.

"Our partnership with the Cubs is 61 years old," says Rohith Reddy, Pabst brand director for the Old Style brand. "It's the longest-running sports sponsorship deal in the world. Centered on two icons as it is, Old Style and the Cubs, it's a huge source of passion and pride for Pabst. As part of our partnership, we do a commemorative package each year. This year the design brief was intentionally wide open.
We just wanted to be authentic to our hometown, to Old Style, and to the Chicago Cubs. The design team came back with a phenomenal concept, and we're getting confirmation from our partners in operation that the bottles coming off the line look even better than we had imagined."

Spearheading the design team was Scott & Victor. The two-man design shop came up with a collector's edition bottle in a full-body shrink label that makes the bottle look like a wooden baseball bat. Included in the design are the Cubs and Old Style logos and the phrase "Chicago's Beer Since 1902." Early signs of the campaign's success are clear, with a 58% year-over-year increase in distributor orders for the package over the last two months.

"It came to us as a comprehensive assignment, a complete marketing and communications package," says Victor Laporte of Scott & Victor. "We knew the bottle itself was going to be the main element, but we had to think through the package design, secondary packaging, POS, and advertising in and around Wrigley. When I look back I'm surprised we were able to do what we did with just four people. We contracted two outside people for the project."

"We focused on communicating Old Style's soul and voice at every touch point, from the 'passion point' of Wrigley to the purchase point of the store and bars," says Laporte's partner, Scott English. "All of the bottle's components reflect the staying power of Old Style and the Cubs while embracing not only the spirit of the city of Chicago but also the fun and entertainment of sports and beer."

Read the full article

Package Gallery

A closer look at the newest trends in today's packaging.

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Honey-sweetened, natural attributes lead beverage bottle redesign

Just several years after hitting the market, the Honeydrop brand of honey-sweetened, natural beverages has undergone a makeover intended to communicate more clearly its unique brand concept, "break through the clutter, and connect with the natural beverage consumer," relates Rochelle Martyn, founding partner of Monday Collective, which spearheaded the redesign.

"Honeydrop launched in 2008, and after two years in a highly competitive and fast-growing marketplace, the brand needed to work harder to differentiate on-shelf," she explains. The brand's core attribute: It's the only ready-to-drink brewed tea and juice product sweetened only with honey, with no refined sugars or artificial ingredients.

To position the brand as a premium product, Honeydrop Beverages switched from a PET bottle to a 14-oz custom glass bottle from Vitro Packaging that sports embossed bee designs at the top. Martyn notes that the bottle shape takes its cue from a milk bottle design, "which helps communicate Honeydrop's natural positioning." The decision to move to glass was also based on input from consumers who said they felt it was a more environmentally friendly package than PET.

Other design updates include the use of a clear label to allow for product transparency, a redesign of the package's central graphic-a bee icon-to have more character and to look more like real honey, a simple color system for flavor differentiation, and new copy, "from the bee to the bottle," that sends a clear, unified message that Honeydrop is made with real honey.

On the back of the transparent wrap label, offset-printed in four colors plus white by General Press, simple icons, such as a chamomile flower and a tablespoon of honey, depict product ingredients. A back-of-pack "brand badge" is designed to raise awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder and Honeydrop's commitment to supporting the honey industry.

At presstime, the new bottle is scheduled for launch in late June, in Whole Foods and in other leading natural food retailers, high-end gourmet accounts, hotels, and delis.

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Another honey of a bottle to buzz about

"B," The Honey-Cachaça Stinger is a new liquor brand co-founded by Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. and friends. It recently hit the market in Brazil and is expected to make its way to the U.S. later this year. "B" is made with sugar from the region of Brazil and is refined to create a blend of sweet and citrus, adding honey and lemon.

Visual identity and branding was created by U.S. company Pereira & O'Dell, which says it transformed "a simple drink into a remarkable 'sting shot.'" Note the sophisticated bee design from body to capsule, pulling together the honey-colored beverage.


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Nautical theme inspires vintage graphics for soap pack

Inspired by old-world utilitarian objects that were built to last, IZOLA of New York City has carefully curated a whimsical collection of bathroom accessories that combines functional everyday staples with antiquity. The IZOLA collection is offered in five distinct themes, one of which, Maritime, uses a nautical motif.

The latest in a series of boxed soap sets that Aesthetic Movement (A/M) has created for Izola falls under the Maritime banner. The three-box set contains handcrafted authentic soaps in the style of fine 18th century toiletries. The old-world triple-milled recipe is an all-vegetable base with the moisturizing benefit of olive oil. According to, packaging is inspired by vintage imagery, and conveys a tone that is both playful and nostalgic.

IZOLA says that the product is an environmentally sensitive soap made with vegetable oils and organic oatmeal and is free of animal testing. Raw materials are domestically sourced. The packaging is printed with soy-based inks on post-consumer recycled paper.


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Retro colors and patterns put 'glee back in tea'

Belgium's Barú Chai Tea line is a "pure, rich and honest, funny and crazy" mixture of tea and chocolate. According to Creneau International, it drew design inspiration while tasting "Barú's finest fluffy, swirly, and nutty chocolates and sipping from their sensational chai tea," to create a range of packaging that "put the funk back in the chocolate and the glee back in the tea."

Reads information on the design from, "the best chocolates are little bites of happiness, and the designers wanted the packaging to show just that. Adorned with retro colors and patterns, central to each wrapping is the signature element of the brown rectangular bar with the round Barú logo in it. The packaging features an array of typefaces reflecting the crazy playfulness and wonderful taste sensations."


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Amber beauty fits for first super-premium maple syrup

According to maker Crown Maple Syrup, its line of Amber Syrup, in Light, Medium, and Dark varieties, sets a new royal standard for purity and quality by pairing the best nature has to offer with artisan craftsmanship and breakthrough processing techniques.

The creation of a distinctive brand identity and visual brand language for the super-premium maple syrup was the work of Studio MPLS, notes The site adds, "Evoking the natural elements that abound in the majestic stands of Crown Maple sugar maples, the brand communicates the fusion of natural goodness of the real maple syrup and the sophisticated state-of-art production techniques that make it the purest maple syrup on earth. Graphic iconography influenced concept package design, secondary packaging, and collateral."

Among the comments offered up about the 12.5-oz glass beauty on were: "GORGEOUS," "Yum!!" "Precious!!" and "outstanding."


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Featured Video
Package Design Workshop Video Shorts: Multi-tier branding
David Kendall from Seattle-based Kendall Ross analyzes design strategies used in multi-tier branding--what connotes the high
end, the low end and the undifferentiated middle?

Sponsored by Owens-Illinois
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