We love a clever packaging design. Whether it’s to surprise or entertain customers, to communicate and educate or to make life easier in some way, clever packaging offers a different spin on the norm. It also tends to capture people’s attention and be memorable which is no bad thing in the packaging world.
Here are 10 clever packaging design ideas to help inspire your thinking.
- Red Earth Lipstick Matches
Beauty brand Red Earth took inspiration from the classic matchbook for its clever on-the-go lipstick concept. Each book contains five ‘matches’ which hold a single use application of a particular lipstick colour. Customers simply snap them off to use as with a traditional matchbook. The design isn’t only fun but also a space saving way to take the lipstick with you for touch-ups on the go.
- Tony Moly Haeyo Mayo Hair Nutrition
At first glance this looks like a classic bottle of mayonnaise. But it’s actually a clever twist on this well-known packaging design from South Korean beauty brand Tony Moly. In this case the contents are a hair treatment. By evoking a mayonnaise bottle, the design cleverly communicates that egg yolks are one of the key ingredients. What’s more the squeezy bottle makes dispensing the product easy and adds an element of fun to customer bathrooms.
- Stone Brewing bottles
Simple can be clever. US brewing company Stone Brewing got customers talking when its bottles recently started appearing with upside down labels. It was then revealed to be part of a new marketing campaign ‘Leave No Stone Unturned’. Not only did the move drum up conversation around the brand, the new design means the branding is most prominent when the bottle is empty – which is the ideal time to reinforce it ahead of the customer’s next purchase.
- Heinz Perfect-Pour bottle
Label positioning was also a feature of Heinz Canada’s limited-edition Perfect-Pour bottle. The widely recognised Heinz ketchup logo appeared crooked on the bottles until they were turned at a 45-degree angle. It was a clever visual way to guide customers on the best way to get sauce out of their bottle showing that packaging can be a form of communication.
- Milgrad milk cartons – by Russian epda member Depot ))
Packaging doesn’t get much cleverer than when it works for the standalone product but also when there are multiples displayed on the shelf. The cute new packaging design for Russia’s Bryansk Dairy Plant’s Milgrad range of milk products does exactly that. Featuring a blue cat in a variety of poses, the designs are striking compared to others in the same category. What’s more, the cat design wraps around each carton which means they can be displayed together to create an image across multiple cartons.
- Ben & Jerry’s x Nike sneakers
Ben & Jerry’s and Nike are two brands that you wouldn’t necessarily put together. Yet they recently teamed up on a limited-edition sneaker design. While the shoes themselves have plenty of nods towards Ben & Jerry’s colour palette, it’s the packaging that’s really clever. Rather than a standard box, some pairs of the shoes were available in an over-sized version of Ben & Jerry’s classic ice-cream cartons. It’s a rare example of sneaker packaging that compliments, and competes with, the product inside.
- Yingjia bottle
Bottles have always typically been designed to be displayed vertically. This clever design from Chinese distillery Yingjia instead turned one of its bottles into a display piece. Like a ship in a bottle, the special collection design was created to be displayed horizontally to reveal a stunning 3D model of the mountains where the distillery is located. It’s a clever way of telling the brand story which encourages customers to make it a feature rather than something kept in a cupboard.
- Laphroaig Ian Hunter series
Earlier this year Laphroaig launched a new series to celebrate the life of Ian Hunter, the last family member to manage the distillery. The plan is to release 15 collectable whiskies that tell Hunter’s legacy. In keeping with the story-telling focus, the first edition in the series was released in a premium leather-bound book style packaging. It’s a clever way to celebrate the legacy of the brand in a way that customers will want to have on display.
Jones Soda Co voter registration bottles
This new initiative from Jones Soda Co is a different kind of clever. On the face of it these limited-run soda bottles look much like any other – apart from the voting themed graphics. However, each bottle features a QR code that when scanned with a smartphone directs customers to a voting registration page. It’s a great example of how packaging can surprise by doing more than customers might expect.
- Cheez-It and House Wine
This packaging cleverly brings together two perfectly paired products – a rose wine from House Wine and white cheddar cheese crackers from Cheez-It. This limited-edition pairing was created for National Wine & Cheese Day. By putting the two products together in one set of packaging, House Wine and Cheez-It make buying easy for customers – and introduce them to a new way of consuming them.
By Cate Trotter, Head of Trends, Insider Trends, London