Package design 'primes' users on paint primers

New label design and matching in-store merchandising cards make it simpler for customers to select the appropriate Sherwin-Williams paint primer. The well-known Cleveland-based paint manufacturer and distributor worked with brand identity and package design firm Interbrand Gerstman+Meyers (New York, NY) to create a distinctive color-coded design.

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Introduced in March '97 and sold in 2겨 S-W stores nationwide, the PrepRite line includes 10 primers sold in 1-gal metal cans and 5-gal metal and plastic pails. Paper container labels are printed and applied by Sherwin-Williams, though a material supplier wasn't revealed. In the past, the company sold primers as sub-brands of paint brands, using different packaging. The PrepRite design creates an "umbrella" primer brand that uses a family-like graphics pattern with color coding and easy-to-read bold type that communicates product attributes. "We've experienced a dramatic increase in our primer sales over the last year, more than we expected," says Terry Makowski, S-W communications manager. "Our stores sell to both wholesalers such as paint contractors and architects, as well as do-it-yourself consumers. Our wholesaler customers have told us that this change is an eye-opener and helps them to select the appropriate primer to deliver the finish they expect. And our store employees have found they are spending less time explaining primer selection to D-I-Y customers because the labels and merchandiser speak for themselves."

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