McD’s new packaging.

January 9, 2016 / Branding
mcdonalds packaging design

McDonald’s has just rolled out new packaging. It’s simple and bold, with big type and vibrant shades of purple, orange and magenta that push the company’s color palette beyond the traditional red and gold.

It’s part of a comprehensive effort by new CEO Steve Easterbrook to transform the Golden Arches into a “modern, progressive burger company.” The company is also in the process of revamping its menu offerings and other aspects of the in-store experience.

McDonald's packaging design

The packaging re-design was a team effort by several designers who were handpicked from several of McDonald’s agencies worldwide—an unusual approach for such a high profile branding assignment.

Definitely more contemporary in its approach, the new cups and bags feature the Golden Arches prominently as well as the slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” The stated goal was to make every item a “billboard for the brand.”

Will the new packaging help reverse McDonald’s recent sales slide? Who knows? As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, packaging and the in-store experience definitely have an influence on how consumers perceive a brand.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Have a packaging assignment you need to tackle? We’d love to help you.


Photo Credit: McDonald’s 2016

Packaging and good taste.

November 18, 2015 / Branding, Design
coke packaging

We read an interesting article in Adweek a few weeks ago.

Research by Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford who investigates sensory perception of food, has determined that consumer perceptions of the taste of Pringles were actually altered by how fresh or stale the chips sounded. In further experiments, Spence discovered that product packaging influences taste perceptions, as well.

A failed packaging experiment for Coke involved a limited edition white can — designed as part of a fund-raising effort for endangered polar bears. The can was discontinued because consumers complained that Coke had changed its formula and the “new product” didn’t taste as good. Which wasn’t the case at all. It was a new can, not a new Coke.

The takeaway here: Color palettes, packaging, product shapes — even product names — can make or break your product. Design is more important that you might think. So choose wisely.


Packaging brand clarity

September 16, 2013 / Branding

We’ve been doing a lot of visits to retail stores lately because we’ve been designing a lot of packaging for our clients.

And we’re realizing just how important packaging is in the entire marketing mix and to the entire brand experience —and how essential brand clarity is to the whole packaging design process.

After all, packaging is the one vehicle that actually delivers the brand message to consumers in a tangible way — an experience they can touch and interact with before actually buying the product. But more than an experience, the package has to communicate the essentials of what a product does and why a customer should want to buy it.

Walmart has what they call the 3 feet, 3 second rule for effective packaging design.
It says that a consumer should be able to tell what a product is and what it does in 3 seconds and from 3 feet away in a retail environment. So package designers are the ultimate practitioners of brand clarity — they must know how to distill the value propositions in images and words that are compelling and immediately telegraphic.

Not an easy task, but a rewarding one — if you get it right. Consumer electronics manufacturers like Apple and Beats Audio have mastered the art. So have upscale marketers like Williams Sonoma. And the results are brands that are as rewarding to look at on the shelves as they are to use.

If you’re looking for a branding firm in Baltimore/Washington, D.C. that can help translate your value proposition into compelling packaging design, give us a call. We specialize in brand clarity, and our approach to packaging design is focused on clear and compelling communication first and foremost.

We know how to package brand clarity.