Water. Salt. Soap. Shoes. These are ordinary things we need and use daily. Brands that sell water, salt, soap, shoes and every other commodity product have to distinguish their products from all of the others. They may not have huge advertising budgets to do so, but every product requires a package. So why not make that package insanely great? The Guru says, make your package:
- a conversation piece in its own right: instagrammable
- a vessel to explain the product’s best assets and features at a glance
- practical – let it solve a problem if possible
Recently The Guru, who knows a thing or 10 about creating amazing, useful, extraordinary packaging, put together a Packaging Inspiration board on Pinterest. Many of the items he selected were commodity products that require specialty packaging to stand out. Here are some highlights:
WATER: Colorless, tasteless, odorless and absolutely free with the flick of a tap handle to all Americans, water has nonetheless found a huge following as a consumer packaged good. We think it all started with French fancy-water pioneers Perrier, whose shapely green glass bottles looked so precious when they first came to the States in the early 70s that they were frequently re-purposed as flower vases. There followed many nondescript plastic water bottles, even in the so-called super-premium category, until 2000 when the founders of Norway’s VOSS water turned to former Calvin Klein Creative Director Neil Kraft, who pretty much set the bar for water packaging. The Guru found some cool ones, though.
SALT: When we were kids, salt was salt. There was basically one advertised brand, sing it with us: “no salt salts like Morton salt salts”. But in the 1980s, chefs started garnishing dishes with hand-gathered salt from the marshes of Brittany, known as fleur de sel. By 20o8 every decent cook had both the French flower-ofsalt and a box of England’s Maldon salt and a canister of Kosher salt. Soon Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller was offering a “flight of salt” at his storied French Laundry restaurant featuring salts in many colors from global origins, their flavor notes carefully explained by the waitstaff. From pink Himalyan sea salt to Hawaiian black salt, exotic salts have arrived with a vengeance, and great packaging was sure to follow.
SOAP: Soap has enjoyed very fancy packaging for hundreds of years, and in Europe those wonderful shops filled floor to ceiling with insanely gorgeous bar soaps swathed in hand-blocked paper, tied with silk ribbons and finished with sealing wax are favorite haunts of ours. Stateside, the cool and intentionally semi industrial hipster art direction has that we’ve been seeing on chocolate packaging has migrated to the cosmetics aisle and some of it is simply superb.
SHOES: Somebody improved on the shoe box. Just sayin’. The shoe-hugging corrugated cardboard wrapper is perfect for workboots with their intersting waffled soles, but could be adapted using clear plastic and a belly band for fine stilettos.
Go have fun with our Pinterest board. Among the 55 cool things the Guru curated for your packaging inspiration pleasure is also a new way to package a staple food item that everybody thought had one correct package. Behold: egg carton 2.0!