Examples of Iconic Packaging

Published: 19th March 2012
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Designing an item of packaging is not simply about clothing a product in its brand. The brand does play an integral part and can itself be greatly enhanced by successful and complimentary packaging, but the ability to marry the functional purpose of packaging whilst selling the qualities and USPs of the product through three dimensional visual cues can propel a product to iconic status.

The Coca-Cola Bottle

Arguably the most recognised item of packaging in the world (although not that common now in actual use) is the traditional Coca-Cola bottle. Firmly integral to the brandís image, the sleek curved lines of the coke bottle were designed as an antidote to the straight lines of it competitors, whilst allowing the bottle to sit comfortably in the hand. The iconic red and white logo (as most successful logos seem to be) is complemented by the curvaceous body and clear glass which shows off the bottles contents.

The packaging has become so synonymous with the drink that is now seen as the authentic and traditional way of consuming cola even though the vast majority now do so from the ubiquitous coke can.

The Marmite Jar

Whether you love it or hate it (to paraphrase the inescapable advertising strap line) the Marmite jar is ingrained in the British psyche. With its squat body, bright yellow lid and its strong classic brand it has been one of the most distinctive and recognisable products on UK shelves for much of the 20th century. So strong are the visual cues generated by the combination of brand and packaging that the name Marmite can afforded substitution within the logo for individual marketing campaigns.

The jar itself is based on the shape of the old French marmite pots in which it was originally sold and from which the spread takes its name. Even the newer squeezable Ďjarsí are a variation of this shape, albeit upside down.

The Kit Kat Bar

Whilst there are many iconic, and perhaps more recognisable, brands on the confectionery shelf, such as Mars (with its striking red brand on a solid black background), the traditional Kit Kat bar wrapper as a complete piece of packaging certainly holds its own. Again it combines a clear traditional white on red brand design with a distinctive shaped product.

Flat and wide, it sticks out like a sore thumb on the UKís shelves alongside its competitors. The Kit Kat is famous for its breakable or snap-able segments (becoming key to its marketing strategy) and this experience is enhanced by the more traditional pack (now usually consigned to multipack variants) which allows you to score the foil between segments before snapping, becoming almost ritualistic.

The Channel No. 5 Bottle

The designs of bottles on the perfume market, especially in comparison with food stuffs, are fairly extravagant as they strive to create an image that represents the aspirational qualities of their brand. However, amongst all of the over stylised and fussy designs found on the shelves, the most iconic is still the simple design of the Channel No. 5 bottle.

As with Coca-Cola the bottle itself has almost taken over as the predominant image of the brand and has more than exceeded in epitomising the ideas of aspiration, class, elegance and simplicity. With its straight lined shape and clear glass the complexities, nuances and quality of the perfume are on full display rather than the fussiness of the bottle. Indeed, the Chanel No. 5 bottle is another, alongside the coke bottle and Campbells soup, to have its status as a cultural icon confirmed in artwork by Andy Warhol.

Whether the key message that a company wants to convey to its consumers is that of healthiness, its green credentials, luxuriousness or value for money, a productís packaging is perhaps the most impacting way of doing so. As the above brands have demonstrated, getting it right can not only boost sales but also earn your product a place in culture and societyís shared consciousness, therefore reaching the widest audience.

© Stuart Mitchell 2012
I'm a small business owner. If you want to find out more about packaging for a a variety of products then visit Packaging Suppliers.

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