May 09

When you add, please also delete!

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

When I got the idea to write this article, I had a specific pack in mind, but I’ve decided not to show any illustration so as not to embarrass the brand owner. In fact, the above title is valid for almost any pack.

The biggest weakness with most of today’s packages is overcommunication. What does this mean? It means that brand managers believe that

  1. the consumer needs all information
  2. the legislation stipulates all information
  3. the pack has to include all information, etc.

This is certainly not the case, especially as there are big differences between a so-called ‘health product’ and the common ‘indulgence product’, between a soft drink and plain water!

As most companies have issued internal guidelines, there is a common belief that a guideline (which is not necessarily a legislation) has to be followed to 100%! This means that no common sense is being used and that the guidelines (which should just guide) are applied slavishly.

This is particularly true when it comes to promotional packages where information is added and nothing is deleted. If you want your key message (the promotion) to be bold, it is obvious that something else has to go.

It is here that common sense is essential. I therefore suggest that the brand manager goes through the following list before briefing the design agency. I’d also like the design agency to use their own check list which may not be the same:

Do I really need, on the front panel,

  • – to see the complete brand logotype?
  • – the corporate brand to be visible?
  • – the RDA on the front? Can it not be on the side?
  • – the illustration if the product is very well known?
  • – the product denomination? (Mars has none!)
  • – to duplicate brands? (which is the most common weakness)
  • – Fairtrade or other symbols?
  • – to strictly follow the brand guideline layout or can certain elements change position to better highlight a promotion?

If the answer to these 8 questions is positive, the NEW layout of the front panel will become more simple, more dynamic and more SELLING, as the promotional message will undoubtly stand out better and thus be more convincing.


Package design is about SELLING and, as far as I learned during my 40 years at Nestlé, the simpler and more dynamic the design, the higher the sales curve!
Good communication and good products go hand in hand.


LW/March 2018

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