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My 4th book is now available (the first is sold out). It has a very clear message: how to improve the copywriting, as well as the layout on the back/side panel of your pack. As the previous ones, this book is directed to schools, design agencies, brand managers, sales forces, etc… well, anyone interested in […]

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Typography, a communication tool

Typography, a communication tool

Once I heard that typography was a “beautiful group of letters and not a group of beautiful letters”.

Oct 26

I’ve already written several articles on the subject of secondary packaging, the stepchild in the packaging world. Why is it so? Because the shipping cartons or corrugated boxes are dealt with from a technical side only, forgetting the marketing potential… unless your brand is Chiquita!

Even in the water and beer business where the display cartons are already quite good, the shipper could be better dealt with as a marketing tool, as it is a costless advertising space. Every shipper is a display carton!

Apart from certain technical data such as barcode, article number, etc., you can in most cases print a message, exactly as in advertising. This message can relate to the positioning, to a price offer, etc. but it must be BIG to achieve the required impact.

If your brand identity is very special, as in the case of Marqués de Riscal, it goes without saying that the shipper should be a copy of this unique bottle label. However, this great box design could have been even better with a message promoting the remarquable building by Frank Gehry or a mention about the ‘award-winning wine’, etc. It would make this famous wine brand even more attractive!

LW/September 2017

Oct 17

… in many cases not! But it must be said that, to arrive at a good result, i.e. obtain a design that has shelf impact, is interesting, stimulates interest, it is not easy to do this in monochrome printing. It is possible for categories that do not need appetite appeal as for instance wine (Fabelhaft) or chewing gum (first).

Looking at examples in various markets of packs in monochrome printing, I realize that, first of all, the denomination or the brand must be interesting. If you then combine your mono colour label with an interesting type of pack (Le Rustique), real appetite appeal (Tapas) or a surprising illustration (Tyrrells or Nivea), you have a winner, as such designs stand out thanks to their uniqueness. To be unique is very important when there are over 30’000 SKUs on the shelves in a grocery store.

In my latest book “Read my pack”, I push for better copywriting on packages. I don’t think you have to go as far as choosing “….in’ hot”, but why not use a popular word such as “naked” (without) or a text as “red wine warms you”…

Next time you approach a design problem, why not think monochrome? not forgetting my above advice!

LW/September 2017

Oct 10

OXO, the first

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

Beef extract sold as cubes to be dissolved in water dates back to the late 19th century. The inventor just added an “O” to “OX” and created, in 1889, one of UK’s most wellknown food brands (Liebig had invented ox stock already in 1866).

OXO is owned by Mars, Premier Foods or Knorr, depending in which part of the world you live.

When I teach branding and brand creativity, I often mention that a brand logotype does not have to appear integrally, as the consumer automatically fills in the missing letters or icon.

I’m totally against playing around with logotypes, as there is a risk that you might weaken them. However, cutting off or hiding a part of the logo can be a very useful way of communicating, say you wish to give a more important message such as NEW! or a USP which then is placed in front of the brand.

But the real reason for not showing the whole logotype is the ‘perceived size impression’… the bigger the brand, the larger your pack will look like! OXO tells us how to do it!


LW/September 2017

Oct 04


Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

My 4th book is now available (the first is sold out).

It has a very clear message: how to improve the copywriting, as well as the layout on the back/side panel of your pack.

As the previous ones, this book is directed to schools, design agencies, brand managers, sales forces, etc… well, anyone interested in improving pack design!

There is now also a special offer: when you buy two of the books, you get them for EUR 40 (Europe).

Don’t hesitate, knowledge is power!

Sep 29

Improve the profitability!

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

It is a known fact that convenience improves profitability… and small servings offer a sort of convenience. Furthermore, small portions are a way of sampling for the consumer who might then hopefully buy the bigger pack.

There are a great number of small packs in the FMCG world, not only for catering purposes (hotels, canteens, fairs, etc.), but also for home consumption, as there are more and more small households and consumers do not want to store big packs that might get stale.

The latest in this family are the Mini Knacki, the small nutella jars and the TARTARE cubes, hence my article!

LW/September 2017

Sep 19

Seen from above

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

Most pack designs are today produced in an office in front of a computer. Well, that’s fine if you work in 2D only. But think of it! How often do you see a pack just in front of your eyes, at eye level and how often do you look down on a pack?

Must pack designers repeat the brand logotype and product denomination on all sides, thus overloading the pack and making it impossible for more important elements to stand out?

A brand that has analysed the situation and made it simple for the consumer is no doubt “Bonne Maman”. All they do on the top is printing their Vichy pattern (gingham) which is not a disturbing element when you look for the product name. I wish more brands were as clever!

LW/September 2017

Aug 25

Word of Mouth

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

When we use the expression “word of mouth” in marketing, we mean the passing of an information from person to person about a brand, a product or a service. The most common form of word of mouth communication is no doubt storytelling.

If we should call “word of mouth” a media (and think of it, it’s a FREE media!), it is no doubt the most efficient one. Why? Mainly because it becomes personal. The most efficient way to transmit a message is obviously people talking to each other with facial contact.

And then it is a matter of how believable the storyteller is and how receptive the listener. Lots of marketing studies are available on this subject, but as is mainly about packaging communication, the question is how can a pack design participate or promote word of mouth in this media? Well, in designing the back or service panels accordingly.

Here is my advice:

FIRST: instead of  boring product data, why not write the information about the product as storytelling? Which means that it becomes interesting, in the best of cases so interesting that the reader will tell it to someone else. That is why you have to build in a surprise, a unique feature, a funny quote. It has to be what I would call chat worthy, i.e. easy to pass on. It could be a text about an experience, customer service, emotions, etc.

SECOND: print in an attractive, friendly and personal style texts that could read as follows:

“We hope you will be pleased with our product and be encouraged to tell your friends about it. Thank you!”

“Since we would like to always have you as a consumer, please let us know if there is anything we could do better… Thank you!”

“We are very happy you have chosen this product… We do hope you don’t keep your satisfaction just for yourself… Thank you!”

In order to give the text some authority, you may have it signed by a person in your company who is trustworthy, i.e. a CEO, a quality controller, a factory manager or the home economist if it is a food product.

It is amazing how little personal pack designs are today. As a designer, I’ve always wondered why the designer’s name is not mentioned on the pack when the creative people are mentioned for instance at the end of films, on TV programs, etc.

I just got from my friends at Nielsen a list of the top sources of new product discoveries and what came on top…?  “Friend or family told me about it…”

PS: to learn more about EFFICIENT communication, you might buy my 4th book “READ MY PACK” which will be available end September.

LW/August 2017

Aug 08

This time, not a pack!

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

… but a great container and a fabulous promotion!

Many of my articles underline the importance for a brand to have a simple, unique and memorable positioning… and to stick to it from one generation to another!

Today, this is not always the case, as brand managers, rightly or wrongly, try to increase sales by changing the positioning.

One brand that has been true to its initial positioning is, no doubt, Coca-Cola. It is all about refreshment, although the product, from the beginning, was more of a health, even medical drink.

During the years, this refreshing idea has been expressed in many ways and with different slogans, such as

  • –       Refresh yourself, 1924
  • –       The pause that refreshes, 1929
  • –       Ice-cold sunshine, 1932
  • –       Thirst asks nothing more, 1938
  • –       Passport to refreshment, 1945
  • –       Coca-Cola refreshes you best, 1959

or with visuals like droplets, water splashes, dew or frost on the bottles or cans, etc.

The Coca-Cola promotions have also often referred to the refreshment positioning. The latest, in a long row, is no doubt what they do this Summer and that is to offer a free bucket for the purchase of two six packs of the glass bottles.

What’s the learning? Whatever promotion you do, apart from the simple price promotion, is to amplify the positioning. This one is a good example.


LW/August 2017

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 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



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