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Be close to your target!

Be close to your target!

The other day, I fell on two goblets standing side by side in the rather new product category of chilled ready-to-drink coffee beverages. As I love to analyse communication, this is what I found: One design speaks the language of the young consumer who drinks on the go, while the other design most likely follows […]

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Why are chips packaging so exciting?

Why are chips packaging so exciting?

I believe there is no other category in a supermarket that has more creative design solutions than the potato chip sachets! Some years ago, I would have put breakfast cereals first, but these designs have lately become overloaded and complicated, as they try to look ‘healthier’ and at the same time often carry a promotion. […]

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The HaHaHa Pentaward

The HaHaHa Pentaward

One day, I was sitting with my old friends Brigitte and Jean Jacques Evrard, chatting about humour, one of our favourite topics. I mentioned that humour seems to have no place in today’s business world. Digitalisation has made us so efficient that there is no time to lay back, think and smile. So Jean Jacques […]

Jul 21

Great News

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

I am a very lucky man. Not only did I learn a lot during my 40 years at Nestlé, I now have the possibility to transmit this knowledge over my site www.packagingsense.com and also thanks to well designed books printed by Göteborgstryckeriet, one of the best book and packaging printers in Europe.

It is thanks to SIG and Ecolean, that I will publish, this Autumn, my 4th book, entitled “Read my pack”. What makes me so happy is that both companies (as Bobst and Iggesund for my 3rd book) would like the consumers to not only use their packs, but also read what’s printed on them!

Obviously, neither Ecolean nor SIG have any real influence on the design, as this lies with the users, i.e. national or multinational companies. However, by sponsoring my book, these two packaging solution providers promote great communication which is my prime objective.

If Ecolean offers consumers the most lightweight plastic pitcher packages which, once empty, flatten as an envelope, SIG offers easy to pour, beautifully printed cardboard packages like the cardboard bottle “combidome”, the first bottle that can be folded!

Both companies offer different ways to handle liquid packaging and the consumers have a choice which is always a stimulation for progress.

Thank you Ecolean and SIG! You really see packaging the way it should be seen, both as a technically sophisticated container and a great opportunity to communicate with the consumer!

 

LW/July 2017

Jul 14

Why Complicate…

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

… if it is as simple as selling 7 tomatoes? I think it is high time to stop and think it over. Do we really need to inform the consumer about so much? Or can we do it as simple as the Denner pack for 100 four-ply tissues?

You may say that you can’t compare something you eat with something you blow your nose with. Well, that’s right, but my point is to bring to the reader’s attention that certain categories of products are easy to understand, while in others, there is a tendency to complicate matters.

  1. Do we really need to tell the consumer that a tomato is a vegetable (in fact, it is a fruit);
  2. Do we really need to tell the consumer, on this small surface, that it is recommended to eat every day 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (please note the non-readable text around the “5”);
  3. do bio tomatoes also need to have a brand, “Gustosa”?
  4. do we have to tell the consumer that 7 tomatoes (not marked) make 300g? Yes, one needs net weight, but not that big;
  5. why duplicate bio with both bio and biosuisse?
  6. do we really need a list of ingredients mentioning “bio tomatoes from Switzerland” when we have already said the same thing on other sides?
  7. do we really need to inform that there is no salt nor fat in tomatoes?

Yes, I know that the brand manager has internal guidelines and legislation to follow, but think it over, is all the above really necessary?

 

PS: for the sake of simplicity, I have only included 3 sides of the wrapper, as the 4th just repeats certain information.

 

LW/July 2017

 

 

Jul 11

Brand or Company

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

Whenever I can, I try to make brand managers understand the difference (seen from the consumer’s point of view) between a brand that can stand for

  • – taste
  • – convenience
  • – modernity
  • – varieties, etc.

and a company that always will stand for

  • – trust and tradition
  • – innovation
  • – size
  • – origins, etc.

Thus, the brand belongs to the front of the pack and the company to the back (preferably with an explanation). However, in an advertisement, if the brand manager wants both the brand and the company to appear, these have to be clearly separated, as it is the BRAND that is going to be bought in the shop.

I do not understand when, as in this ice cream ad, the brand is so to speak played against the company… what is it? Unilever or Carte d’Or?

I don’t think the Unilever logotype adds anything here and, if taken away, I  would make Carte d’Or far more important. Advertising is normally about making a brand stand out and be memorised.

 

LW/July 2017

 

Jul 07

(an article on readability inspired by the Tetra Pak House Magazine No 70)

“GIGANTIC” is certainly a great name for a very big Pizza. Tesco’s lettering for “Greek style” is another good example how to amplify a communication. The ‘modified’ typefaces for Tunnel, Bombe, Champagne and Déchiré, although a bit dated, are also good examples.

However, what is even more important is the readability of the texts that appear on a pack. When designing letters, a number of rules need to be observed in order to obtain a text that is balanced and easy to read. Harmonious proportions are also required between the text, illustrations and the size of margins.

The visual characteristics of a text have much to do with whether it is easy or difficult to read. Some of the factors involved are the size of the letters, the type face, the length of lines and the distance between them, the width of columns and headings. The ability to read is acquired by experience, that is, by learning to recognise, assess and decide what we see.

Photocomposition has given us thousands of different typefaces. But the fact remains that for ease of reading, it is prudent to use Roman forms such as Times or Baskerville. By and large, however, the most readable type is the one to which the reader is most accustomed. There is a broad range of typefaces – some of them exceedingly elaborate and, unfortunately, difficult to read.

A text written entirely in capitals is more difficult to read than the same text in lower-case letters. In the former case, the reader has problems in taking in complete words and has to read them letter by letter. A rhythmic relationship between the letters of the alphabet, regardless of how they are combined, is the primary requirement for a balanced word picture. Letters that are too close together have a tangled appearance, making it difficult to decipher long words. More space between letters reduces the problem of troublesome combinations (for instance LA, VT, KJ), but the word is liable to fall apart. The latter is not necessarily a drawback – the word can acquire a decorative appearance.

The reason I decided to write this book was to try to show that texts on packaging are as essential as illustrations, logotypes, flashes, patterns, etc. I hope I have succeeded.

Text printed in black is likely to be most legible. Negative printing (white on a coloured ground) demands a very high standard of reproduction and printing. This is particularly the case with Roman letters, the thin parts of which are liable to be lost.

Chinese characters are being simplified and streamlined. In Japan, as well as China, the number of traditional characters has been reduced and some characters have been redesigned with fewer strokes. Manuals have been compiled to explain how the kanji (the Japanese name for the Chinese characters) resemble pictures of objects or abstract concepts. A good example is the Japanese character for drink, simpified by the Japanese designer Katsuichi Ito to make it intelligible to the uninitiated (the rectangle has been transformed into a cup).

I hope these small advice will help the designer or brand manager to spend equal time between the visual and verbal communication on packaging.

 

LW/June 2017

Jul 04

My two Prides

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

How do you judge a great pack design? One way is certainly its longevity on the market, with or without cosmetic updating.

When I participate in design projects, I normally do not know what happens once the pack is printed and the product enters the market. However, now and then I have the possibility to follow the progress of a pack (a product) on the market when it is close to where I live. That is why I have some pride in seeing how two French brands have become highly successful from the day I was involved in creating/updating them.

One day, many years ago, Nestlé France wanted to launch a cooking/baking chocolate already available on Anglo-saxon markets. As the briefing said “homemade, traditional and everyday use”, I said: “craft paper”. The rest is history. Now all the me-too products are in craft paper!

The other design was more of an update, i.e.

  • – optimise branding
  • – optimise comprehenson
  • – optimise appetite appeal
  • – optimise back panel without photocell, i.e. continuous print

Well, it’s also history, with one improvement which came later on: the “best before…” has been highlighted and put smack in the middle, as it is so important for a chilled product.

The back panel is of course totally new, but follows my suggested idea to work without photocell (i.e. higher speed) and in post-it style.


LW/June 2017

Jun 30

During my 40 years at Nestlé, I was nicknamed “Mr Back Panel”, as the back of a pack interested me as much as the front. Why? Because I was never satisfied with the way the industry tackled this part of a pack.

I have always taken both the consumer’s and the company’s side. Regarding the latter, I refer to a recent article on this site about brand vs. company. I’ve always believed that, what is important for the consumer (on a food or drink pack), are informations such as cooking instructions, ingredients or simple nutritional data.

In constant pursuit of ameliorating this famous back panel, I’ll publish, this Autumn, a book entitled “Read my pack”.

To give an example of how bad it is today, I’ve selected a Swiss Coop pack (see ill.), but it could as well be one from Unilever, Migros, Nestlé or Aldi.

As any reader will see, the 5 point text about how to cook these raviolis has been given roughly half the space compared with the food profil, i.e. the nutritional information which I believe will be read by about 5% of the consumers only!

Furthermore, I learned, as a junior designer at Nestlé some 50 years ago, that a recipe without illustration is almost worth nothing. Here, it takes up precious space.

Last, but not least, I believe that today, the most important message on a back panel should be the company website, as it is there modern consumers are looking for information. Well, unfindable!

Maybe I’ve been a bit too negative in my comments, but I hope the reader gets my message: “make BIG and clear what is of real interest to the consumer”. You need no guidelines to do this, just common sense!

After having written the above, I found an even better worse example with the smallest cooking instructions I ever saw and where the key text about the vegan food could be twice as big if the brand were left out (it’s already on the front). Furthermore, if composed differently, the nutritional information could take up half the space only and still be very readable.

 

LW/June 2017

Jun 27

Brand stretching

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

Brand stretching, also called brand extension, is often an efficient and economical way of launching new products.

The potential for brand stretching depends on the positioning, i.e. how it is seen by the consumer. The new products (or services) have to fit the positioning and, hopefully, be more profitable.

It is possible for brand stretching to be the fundamental idea of a company. Virgin is a good example for their strategy, leveraging their irreverent, challenger brand across music, airlines, trains, telecoms and even banking.

Among FMCG brands, the first one that comes to my mind is KitKat which has successfully introduced, in Japan, all sorts of sizes, flavours or services.

In Europe, I doubt KitKat has done a good job, as the core idea of “the break” is totally lost in a product such as KitKat balls!

A brand which successfully stretches into other categories is no doubt Guinness. As it is rather difficult to have a younger generation drink a stout as rich as Guinness (they prefer lager), the latter now sells all sorts of products in their home market and I must admit that they fit very well in the Guinness imagery.

Don’t I do my fitness in a black Guinness T-shirt? If Red Bull today make most likely more money through media (and not the drink), I can imagine Guinness making a lot of money thanks to all their brand extensions. The latest I found were Guinness chips (from Burts), a Guinness steak sauce and Guinness Luxury Chocolate!

This being said, if you do brand stretching wrong, you are in for great troubles! I once saw Chiquita Orange juice… you cannot be two different things in marketing and that’s why brand stretching is so fascinating, i.e. to find a new product (or service) that fits the positioning, well even strengthens it!

 

LW/June 2017

Jun 23

Once again… do it BIG!

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

I have many times repeated my mantra: “Do it BIG or stay in bed!” To design BIG is one of the best solutions to stand out on the shelves (pack design) or to be seen in any type of advertising.

During our Easter holidays in Ireland, I found two Easter Egg packs which stood out. Quite different, but highly unique both of them: the Lion Bar and the Snickers cartons. In the case of Snickers, I wonder if it was a real success, as my experience tells me that the consumers want to see what they are buying… but I can be wrong, of course.

I’m definitely not wrong when I give 10/10 to the Kellogg’s single service packs. I picked them up at breakfast in my hotel. I just say wow!

I have already mentioned the current Ford campaigns which I find outstanding, as advertising of cars is, of course, mainly about branding.

However, brand managers and pack designers still have a long way to go when it comes to turn the display trays into an advertising space, i.e. get rid of brands (they are on the cans) in order that the message can be read from a bigger distance. See my proposal for “boost up your sales”.

 

 

LW/June 2017

Jun 20

Choose the Best Material

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

I’m reading in the newspaper that in a basically stagnant market, Lindt shows great sales figures… This is, without doubt, due to

  1. great chocolate recipes
  2. TV advertising that highlights the taste and the tradition which results in high quality
  3. good distribution, etc.

I have obviously no information where Lindt makes the best sales, but one thing I’m convinced of are the two seasonal shapes: the Christmas bear and the Easter rabbit, not to forget the way they are exposed on POS!

During a recent visit to Ireland where one finds the English packs, I could see, with my own eyes, the difference between two similar products, i.e. rabbits from Lindt and Maltesers from Mars with the very English pun MaltEasters…

i.e. Lindt’s rabbits and Mars’ MaltEasters.

Yes, the products are not identical and Mars’ products, I believe, less expensive, but the conclusion I draw is the following:

  • – why hide the shape in a flowpack when the product can be highlighted with just a thin aluminium film;
  • – gold is no doubt the best material to express quality and gift feeling;
  • – the addition of the red ribbon with the golden bell hightens considerably the impression of a handmade product;
  • – the reflexion of light that makes the aluminium glitter is also a plus;
  • – as Lindt seems not to be bound to any brand guidelines for these products, they can amplify the POS with the shape and not, what is usual, the logotype.

Why do I write this? Because I have a feeling that, when we design packs in front of a computer, we easily forget the impact the right material has on SALES!

 

LW/June 2017

Jun 16

I have already written an article on the subject, but as the trend to buy local is stronger than ever, I thought it would be worth mentioning a few more examples. This week, our local Lidl will promote 15-20 products with the local language, Swiss-German, and give them personal names, such as

  • Ueli’s Delikatessen
  • Gabriel im Engelbergertal
  • Rudolf’s Original or
  • Frieda’s Traum

During our holidays in Ireland, I found O’Donnells crisps “of Tipperary” and Irish Hereford Premium Beef Steak Mince produced in “County Cork”.

My Swedish friend Bosse Wallteg informed me about Mjölk “från Wermlands Mejeri”, i.e. milk from County Värmland. In France, you’ll find, since some time, Patrimoine Gourmand that promotes regional specialities such as Sardines “de Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie au Pays de la Loire”. We all know that the South of France is a real garden. Thus the Fraises “de Carpentras” and “Savourez le Vaucluse”.

However, what strikes me with these local products is that only half the job is done, as the local issue appears only on the front (no doubt as a sales message) and is not followed up on the back.

I believe that selling is about strengthenig the bond between the consumer/buyer/user and the brand/company that makes a product. This bond can only be strong if you give reasons for choosing the product in question.

Food products, which I mainly deal with, are about taste, quality, convenience, etc. The back panel text can and should amplify this. Furthermore, thanks to digital printing technology, the text can be changed, i.e. updated and improved endlessly.

I see that very few brands profit from this, the reason being probably that it gives more work to the brand manager and the designer! I find this a pity, as there is so much to be said to amplify the advantage of being local… freshness, for instance, ecology, etc.

To promote this thinking, I have started work on my 4th book which will have the title “Read my pack”, maybe something for you to look forward to…

 

LW/May 2017

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