Minimalist effect in the maximalist market


Our last project is about simplicity and we try to find alternate simple versions for some package samples of the international brands. We think almost every product needs some review for minimal feeling.

What is your choice in these 3 different variations?
1. Original variation
2. Simple variation
3. More simple variation
4. Please click for updated second edition




External Source:
Microsoft Ipod Package
LOST labels for your DHARMA Initiative needs
Derek Stroup, Unbranded Project
Josef Schulz, Sign Out
Andreas Gursky, 99 cent
Starbucks' Move to Brand Minimalism
Target, Starbucks logos: Out with the words
Why Simple Is Good: Jonathan Ive



















P.S. This project is only a design practice for showing minimal feeling of some international samples. It is an article about unnecessary items on the global brands, any of them, second or third variations are not new packaging proposals!

High Resolution Images



99 comments:

VipinNair said...

Love what you guys have done here. I wish more people understood how simple things can make an impact too. But I guess the whole experience lies in making it simple yet beautiful and emphatic.
Good job..
Cheers
VIPIN NAIR

Daevid said...

While the purist in me loves the most minimal designs, I feel in most cases (to my taste anyway) there would be an optimal design somewhere between the two simplified designs. Something very minimal, that still retains some of the coloured branding (eg the blue of the Lindt, the red sun on the Red Bull and red lettering on Nutella).
Still - beautiful work.

Anonymous said...

so the idea is to make everything as unappealing as possible? These look generic and have no personality.

Anonymous said...

I find that I pretty much always like minimalist as long as it has some sort of hip color to it. Some logos look out of place with no image. Cornflakes, Nutella Toffifee are less appealing to me because of the lack of substance. I also feel the Pringles labels need more contrast. As long as one knows what's inside the product, simplification is a great idea. It gives more play to the creative brain, and clearer mind for those who live in Media Mecca.

Athena

Nikki C said...

AHHHH i love the minimalist idea sooo much, would definitely be drawn to these designs. Less is definitely more.

Nikki xx

Http://pinkandolive.blogspot.com

Pixel said...

Great idea.

Somtimes the color might stay in the minimalist proposal, it's somehow distrubing on redBull, Pringles and Nutella where color is a part of the original logo.

Great work anyway

daftks said...

Products nowadays are plagued with information overload, but as some of the comments already suggested above, without some of the information (e.g. for food, the illustration of the food sold) or difference in colour, the products don't stand out as much and becomes generic. But out of the 3 choices, I'd probably go for the simple variations (middle).

Love the work though.

Anonymous said...

WIN!

Anonymous said...

wow, very cool to see it put out like a science project. I liked the simple one almost everytime except for the cereal box, it looked generic.

I've always liked the saying 'simplicity is quality' and the 'Keep It Simple Stupid - KISS'.

The Best Part said...

I think the point here is that so often we resort to trying to sell things by shoving everything but the kitchen sink down consumers' throats. Executives often think that just because they say something on packaging that it's communicated, when normally the exact opposite is true. If you have a great product, you don't need to tell people that it's "Fresh!" or "Delicious!". It's assumed by the consumer that your product is of higher quality the less you need to tell them so. Take the "Toffifee" for example. Get rid of that ridiculous typeface and cartoonish illustration and replace it with something simple and I might actually think that it's a quality product. As is, I look at it and think "These people clearly not only don't make a quality product, they wouldn't know it if they did".

Matt said...

Some of these designs would probably

a) save the companies vast amounts of cash (less labels/printing)

b) help the environment by substantially reducing the amount of labels/materials used in production

nice work!

Keith Peters said...

minimal is a style. Like any style, it's not an all purpose solution to every situation. On some of these examples it works great. On most, I like the middle option. On a few, the original is still best.

Jenn Holton said...

Oh, how I love minimalism. This is brilliant.

Adam M. said...

I like these, except the Nesquik and Corn Flakes. Those are marketed to kids, and it's obvious in their packaging. THe minimalist versions do nothing for children.

Kirill said...

I like the super simple, but that's because I already know what the brans are and I simply want the products. So when I see Nutella, I am not really buying a chocolate butter, I am buying THE chocolate butter.
I think this could very well work with Milk, Eggs, and other common products - who cares what the brand is, just give me milk!

Anonymous said...

Less is more does not always apply to every product, the choice of color/ images/ typography can lead to attracting different audience. sometimes less can appear as high end. at the same time, not every shopper appreciate the high end appearance. I think understanding the target audience is important and apply graphic design according to their need is the key to sale.
images definitely helps consumer understand what they are purchasing, some idea like most people prefer to see images on the menu in a Chinese restaurant, unless a brand is so famous that everyone know, it could come out as confusing and scary for foreigner.
ex:Nesquik and cornflakes looks like chemical products with only the bright color.

Anonymous said...

The simplified versions are so much better, design wise! But this can only be done on already established products and then again you are running the risk of losing new customers.
Simple design in always better but this also needs to be informational so the most simplified version might not sell as much cause after all you need to know what your buying! Works great with nutella though cause the jar is see through so you actually get to see whats inside.

Very interesting approach!

Starfy said...

I find some of the minimalist designs classier (the Mr Muscle, Schwepps and Lindt in particular) and others look cheaper (both cereals, the milkshake and, um, the condoms). I suspect this is due to the products at least as much as the designs - some are made for minimalism, others aren't. Perhaps the ones one can imagine Supermarket Own Brands versions are the ones that look cheap, as they often go quite plain on their designs, and the others look good?

beto said...

Mr Muscle - 2 This kind of product can't be so minimal.

Durex - 3 Gives the product a sense of elegance, best choice for condoms.

Red Bull - 2 The product needs his original logo.

Corn Flakes - 1 The last looks so generic.

Nesquik - 1 I think that the bunny needs the redesign.

Lindt - 2 The drawing in the right on the first image sucks.

Toffifee - 1 Can't be "minimalized".

Nutella - 2,3 Both of them look good.

Schweppes - 3 Best choice.

Pringles - 2 The same reason that Corn Flakes.

Good designs!

Ali Thanawalla said...

Works well with the brands who have established an identity...not so much with the lesser fortunate.
Great designs though...my favorites: Durex & Nutella.
The others seem to take away the crux of the logo.

Anonymous said...

Love the last and simpliest Nutella one. I would choose between simple, or the simpliest for all the products!

Zack said...

To be honest, I think the nutella and Schweppes are the only ones I'd buy. The rest, as others have pointed out, look classy but lack personality. They're cold, and don't really scream "buy me!" While the minimalist works for sleek machines like Apple, I think that with food it just makes it look like bomb shelter rations.

Anonymous said...

the can of red bull is sexy and sleek with the minimalist look. kudos

Fadjam said...

The products in transparent containers, where the richness and color (or lack of) become a central design element, are the most successful. The Nutella looks delicious, the Schweppes bottles are gorgeous, and even Mr. Muscle looks enticing.

For "blind" packages, some products really benefit from some tasty illustration or photography. The old-skool Toffifay (not sure when they changed to the über-cute double-e) is a nice example of tasteful type and restrained photography, adding to the character of the brand.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v294/sincub/toffifay.jpg

Shane said...

Gotta love the most minimal of designs. Simplification is somethign everyone could use a little more of these days.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely part of the attraction of
"home brand" or generic products, better, simpler packaging.

CaliDesigner said...

These look very attractive, but in the end, if everything was designed that minimalistically, nothing would stand out. Everything would blind into one monotone blob. That is why we are where are today, because this is how package design started out in the early 1900's, and they all tried to differentiate themselves and one up each other. So maybe it is time for companies to scale back to somewhere in between, but not completely minimal as these are.

Anonymous said...

Also another fact after this article, many items on the package is not for inform us, it is for cheating us (illusion of marketing strategy), like some advertisin cliché, "fresh" "new" "power" etc. Why many medicine packages so simple?

Anonymous said...

For the most part, the middle designs are the best, although there are exceptions (the Lindt milk chocolates, the corn flakes, and Nutella). The effectiveness of minimalist design depends on the product, like others have said, and for the most part, food is probably the least minimalist friendly category of products out there. Stuff like tech and entertainment are probably where minimalism would excel.

Parker Ito said...

I like this study. I think you should study the effect/influence of Shinyness or Glossiness next.

Thery said...

This is what I think would work best:

Mr muscle = More simple variation

Durex = More simple variation

Red Bull = More simple variation

Corn Flakes = Original variation

Nesquik = More simple variation

Lindt = Simple variation

Toffifee = Original variation

Nutella = More simple variation

Schweppes = More simple variation

Pringles = Simple variation

IMO Anything defined by it's shape or by it's contents (when visible) is fine in its simplest form because we know what the product is all about (Mr Muscle, Red Bull, Nutella, etc.). The less obvious products like the cornflakes and Toffifee's should keep a sign of what their about on the box, hence keeping them original.

Paul said...

I think red bull would be better served removing the blue from the can, rather than the silver. Then I’d choose the middle version. Within its category, however, red bull’s packaging is already remarkably minimal.

Similarly, I think Lindt would be better served with fully blue wrapper. This is especially true when you consider that their various products are colour coded. Having a white package for everything would make their product line difficult to navigate.

narwhool said...

I always adore the vintage looking illustration on the Nutella label, I would miss it if it were gone. Actually, the same goes for Toffifee. I tend to enjoy the simple variations the most. Except for Schweppes which looks quite nice with the more simple version. This was an interesting side by side.

Kevin said...

The "more simple" design of the Red Bull can reminds me of the current Pepsi can design. At first I didn't like how Pepsi did the change, now I love how simple and clean it looks.

Anonymous said...

I'm a graphic designer, and I love your simplifications. I loved the most simplified version best except for the corn flakes, lindt, and pringles designs. Those 3 i liked the simplified one ( the middle design) better than their most simplified.

very good work!

Webzurnal said...

Nesquik, Durex and Schweppes are definitely simple variantion better!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Thank you.

dippo said...

I like

Anonymous said...

Nice work guys. For all of the products, I find the third pictures is the best.

bu durmaz said...

This project has heralded a new era..

http://www.nurcandurmaz.com/minimalist-effect-in-the-maximalist-market

Chip said...

This is why I always loved the Clearly Canadian bottle design. Even as a 12 year old I felt what good design was haha.

שושו השועל said...

Less is more.

loren said...

love them all. especially nutella.

@hughcurran said...

This is a really interesting project, and not the first of it's kind I've seen. The key thing here, for me anyway, is that if one product when ahead and did this it would make it really stand out. If other products followed suit and we had a world of minimalistic design packaging then the world would be very dull!

But I really like the Nutella jar. For me that is the one that really stands out. Good work guys!

Anonymous said...

Nutella - GREAT!

Invision said...

I like the simplest versions of everything here- it's just, Iunno, cleaner looking or something?

It's the whole reason I like Apple's approach. Nice 'n simple.

Anonymous said...

There is very important information on every single label you find on a product in a supermarket. In your minimalistic supermarket future, health concerns are sacrificed for style. I love it!! /sarcasm

ubidesigns said...

CaliDesigner mentions it, but many products had very similar looks as the third row when they first were released. I'm thinking that the original Lysol Bottles are awfully similar to the Schweppes bottles when it was first sold. Nesquik originally just showed a glass of chocolate milk and didn't have the bunny until the 1970's.

When everyone looks the same, no one stands out. And you want your product to stand out the most, so you have to keep 'upping the ante' because your competition is trying to stand out just as much as you are. The crux of this, however, is that eventually everyone -including the generic brands- will start to have so much going on, that once again the products that stand out the most will be the ones with the simplest packaging.

Of course, not every company is guilty of letting their packaging get too out of control. CocaCola hasn't really changed that much in over 100 years and neither has Crackerjacks.

Of course, in the real world, simple doesn't always go over very well - Ask Tropicana.

I personally love most of the second grouping - sometimes simple gets too simple. The clear packaging (Shweppes, Mr Muscle and Nutella) look great in the third column.

Kai said...

Interesting exercise. However, to accurately evaluate and measure each design it needs to be shown in context of the environment.

Steve Dekorte said...

I liked the simplest ones the best except for nutella and nesquick where i prefered the middle choice.

bananagrams said...

Half of these are great and half not so much

Lyle said...

Advertising is in fact useless- if you look at what it actually means- it is simply; a way to get a person to want something they don't need. If you needed something, you'd go get it. You don't need a special little ribbon around it or some kind of intricate explosion of corn flakes on the box to decide what you need, either. A name, as simple as Nutella or Coke is more than enough. Anything more than that is futile and wasteful, and though I dislike saying this, there is no way to win an argument against that very fact.

annonnimo said...

Good job, I really liked your suggestions. there are really good.
I've always said that the simple and minimalist is very attractive chart.

Greetings

Nicola said...

Remind anyone of the Absolut no label bottle?

Clever marketing, true brand recognition.

JasonMChicago said...

Great post. I think the minimalist version look good but I agree it doesn't work for every product - especially the cereal and toffee. Looks very generic. It could be a limited time "retro" package though!

IN TERMS OF ME said...

I would instantly start eating Corn Flakes again if it looked like this!

KiltBear said...

This is so great. My husband and I were just looking at our mason jars of grains and beans that we fill up at the local hippy bulk food store. (We actually bring the jars with us and fill them there.) It is really attractive to see the jars and their contents. Just last night my husband mentioned how nice it is to see what's in the jars without all this overabundant packing and labeling.

Lukas said...

Mr. Muscle looks like a shampoo with the most minimalist option, so I vote for #2.
For Durex it's clearly #3.
I tend to agree with the notion that Red Bull needs to keep its original logo, yet for some reason (smaller type, less colors probably) #3 is the most appealing one.
Corn Flakes needs to be #1, although that might just be because the design style (of all products that essentially are corn flakes) is just so familiar.
#3 for Nesquik looks like a body building product, so I'd go with #2.
For Lindt both #2 and #3 are way better than #1. I'd tend to #2, but its a very close to a draw.
Toffifee works with both #1 and #2, #3 is way to simple. I'd choose #2.
Although I love type on no background, nutella needs the white as a background. A pure brown background looks just unappealing to me, and consider how it will look if the jar is half empty. Not. Pretty.
I love both Scheppes redesigns, with #3 being my favorite.
The Pringles redesigns were actually the ones that made me sigh a little.
#2 looks so!!! much better than #1, its unbelievable. Looks better than #3 as well.

That's all i got. :)

Shawn said...

The middle ground usually seems to work best.

The extremely minimal examples lack something very important: Answering the question, "What is this product?"

True, many of those brand names are quite ubiquitous, but not all of them are so well known that you can afford to lose sight of that purpose of the packaging.

Also on some products, a lot of information is required on the labels, and a lot of that clean look is lost in real world packaging.

Having said that, these minimal containers would be excellent for items in a multi-pack, or for institutional sales, or mail order sales outlets (like Amazon), where branding and image is unnecessary in selling the item.

Deg said...

Everything except the Pringles... Fantastic designs!

emiller42 said...

While a the minimalist designs look good on their own for the most part, they wouldn't be very effective when in context. (I.E. on store shelves) Especially the designs where the background color is predominant in the logo. The pringles cans, for example, would just look like colored tubes with no easily recognizable branding. In those cases, the middle option is a good balance between simplicity and identifiability.

Anonymous said...

Love the minimalistic designs, all work perfectly for me except the Pringles design because I dont know or see on the first impression what flavor is inside. With the others, i either know it or can get at least a rough estimate about the content as with the Schweppes.

pako said...

The better you know the product - the more simple design you would appreciate.
Simplicity is good for established brands with high loyalists base but might fail for new launches as it omits visual product information.

Woody said...

Most of the most simple versions work best here, with the exception of Pringles, Corn Flakes, and Nesquik (think about the target markets for those products). The colourscheme from the Red Bull can is also very familiar, and is the main link to their sponsorship of F1 and the air race etc, and I believe that losing that will remove a lot of the brand's associations. But in the main, I agree with your point.

Meg Burroughs said...

I mostly agree that the minimalist Pringles, Nesquick and Corn Flakes packings don't work as well as the others.

But the Lindt packing is gorgeous and the others are much better off with less graphical bloating.

Le jambon said...

feeling the durex - super bright!

Anonymous said...

This really needs to be a poll, but it's a really interesting idea.

Phil Dhingra said...

Durex: 2nd choice. Going minimalist feels more discrete to buyers. But since they also want to spend the least amount of time in that aisle as possible, they need to grasp, at a glance, what the difference between classic and select are, which the 2nd choice displays right in the center.

Red Bull: 3rd choice. Energy drinks, especially alcoholic ones, come into and out of style, and so the most different design keeps the brand's image fresh.

Corn Flakes: 1st choice. With the picture of the cereal, the buyer may actually recall the taste of the milk and corn flakes from prevous good breakfasts, and make the purchase.

Nesquik: 1st choice. The product is usually purchased for kids, and children associate fun with that bunny.

Lindt: 3rd choice. More expensive chocolates have a minimalist wrapper.

Toffifee: 1st choice. If this is not a popular product, you need a picture of the product to introduce it to new buyers.

Nutella: 3rd choice. By having just the white title, the chocolatey spread has more room to sell itself. Plus, it adds some hipness to an already alternative spread.

Pringles: 1st choice. If you want to grab buyers' attentions while they're rushing out the convenience store, you want to stimulate their taste sense with a picture of the food item.

Anonymous said...

those look awesome on transparent packaging:
mr.Muscle, Nutella, Schweppes.
cheers

Vitaly Shvedchenko said...

I wish all products design will be like this examples

mORGY said...

you are right!

Deeya said...

I think minimalist packaging is great for certain market segments--college-age and young professional "hipsters". Generally design and socially conscious, this group is receptive to more daring packaging design and could perceive stripped down jars and bottles as a reflection of a purer product inside.

However, do these segments overlap with the target market segments for the above products? Likely not (except maybe Nutella & Lindt, and possibly durex and Red Bull).

Sexy packaging as a limited edition is a great way to generate a buzz about a product, and maybe elevate a product status. A good example of this is the Karl Lagerfeld Diet Coke bottle.

Z-Den said...

3 very cool

Norik Davtian said...

@beto completely agree, some brands look better simpler and some need the extra stuff to make you want it.

nhelten said...

The Corn Flakes, Nesquik, and simple Pringles are by far the best. Snack and cereal packaging are so cluttered these days, and I think these products would stand out better with a more minimialist approach.

I mean, who doesn't know what Corn Flakes look like? Why do I have to see it? Same with Pringles and Nesquick(although I still like the rabbit b/c of his appeal to their target demo). All three are so familiar, they can afford to go minimialist.

Nutella, on the otherhand, doesn't have that luxury. Most people would probably know what they're buying, but at the same time, that brown blob in the jar could be anything. The picture actually seems to fit in that situation. Same with Mr. Muscle. The picture seems to give it more credibility. I don't want my cleaner looking too generic. Show me what it's used for and cover up that ugly straw.

Harry said...

Love this project! And I think Starbucks just did it exactly with their new logo. Great minds think alike , eh? :)

Anonymous said...

Not minimalistic («more simple»), but simple variation is perfect.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but the minimalist version (in most of the cases) looks like a more elitist product. The most significative example is, in my oppinion, the case of Lindt chocolates. Once I've seen the minimalist version, the original one looks like a caviar can with a cartoon fish and funny leeters saying "TASTY EGGS". In the case of Nesquick, a minimalist version has no sense, except if it was a limited edition of nesquick addressed to an adult public. To draw a conclussion: I think that a minimalist version offers a more serious image of the product and suggets a high quality product.

Anonymous said...

i like many of the simplest proposals: mr muscle- clean, lindt - ellegant, pringles, toffiffee & corn flakes - old school,tradition, good food. it's great.
i prefer the original versions of red bull and schwepps though.
great idea

Steve Villiers said...

A graphic artist mentor of mine once told me that great communication and visual arts is more about what you don't see than what you do. A great lesson and clearly demonstrated here. By replacing a complex visual image and with a no-noise elegant name instantly gives it so much more gravitas.

Dorn said...

Aside from the Nutella and Schweppes (where I really loved the minimal more simple look) I preferred the Simple look in all of these. Less is more in most cases.

Anonymous said...

Oh jeez, i hope things will turn like this one day, for the health of my eyes and my brain.

Website design said...

Actually, I could see Lindt making two variations, the one for the kiddies, and an exclusive one with the simplest design. Thought it looked really good.

Joshua Watson said...

I really love the minimalistic approach to packaging design. I'd love to see some of the marvellous mock-ups you've done considered by the brand, especially Red Bull and Mr. Muscle. Looks much more attractive and would probably save them gazillions of cash.

izbing said...

I love that !

A french guy

wai said...

i took a super close look at the original nutella packaging once, actually the illustration on the front side is meant to be "serving suggestion" -- they actually wrote it down like that.
as much as i like the look of super minimalist design for current modern world, sometimes funny "old/vintage" things make me smile and in this already fast moving world, it's the best to keep some things the way it is and just enjoy it.

Patrick Leyendecker said...

i love this minimal design, it looks much cleaner and more modern

Antsan said...

I am astonished as to how many people are saying that minimalist product design would take away "personality". When I think of advertising the last thing that could ever come into mind is "personality". Advertising has as much personality as a whore with a painted face.
I hate the premises of advertising and I would love to see, that any product is just identifiable via product name (not trade name - it's not nutella but chocolate spread) and producer. Everything else is just not necessary and only meant to cach your attention - and thus is designed just to do so, without respect to aesthetic qualities. Advertising takes up too much space in the world and it clutters at least my view with overly much junk information I do not need to know ever.

Test Page said...

Nothing superfluous, it's great! I like simple things.

V said...

I think the simplest designs in your examples look lifeless. There is a sweet spot--you took most of them too far.

Parris Whittingham said...

Funny thing, most of these brands are for American Products. This made me think of the difference between watching American News programs and say...the BBC. Both deliver news but in my opinion the BBC seems more "more genuine".

Maybe its the simple graphics and lack of "eye candy". Whatever the case, these waves/patterns of design seem more like a cycle than a set in stone fixed point. What's old is new again :)

Anonymous said...

MInimalist logos stand out in today's markets but I wonder how much the impact will be when all companies opt for such designs.

Most of the minimalizations feel like lifeless. I can at best choose the first level minimalization except for a few.

I don't think the world is ready for heavy minimalizations

G said...

I love the minimalist approach of n. 3! Less is always more!

Anonymous said...

maybe the earth had a chance if more people thought like this. in other words: we are doomed!

AlexanderClouston said...

Stripping down a design like this, Is a great way to effectively pick out what parts of the design are the most important to your eye. Leaving even just the logo on its own, you still know what the product is. The customer recognises brands because it can associate with them it feels comfortable with them.

To suggest that these designs are 'Unappealing'

Also if you were to take off all of your clothes hair product, makeup (ladies) does that make you less appealing? if anything more honest, more trustworthy.

Minimal designs can often and do have more of an effect than complex fanciful designs.

Nice work

Arn said...

Incredible! Some of the products here and in the 2nd edition look much sharper and more appealing when toned down to the 2nd or 3rd(or 4th) stage. Red Bull, Tabasco and Guinness especially.
Sometimes, minimalism can blow me away!

Alex said...

I love minimal design, great post !

Gjoko Stojanovski said...

This research has inspired me to make my own, for my last exam, labor for my graduation. excellent!

Anonymous said...

Always the minimalist last one for me. Except Pringles and Lindt I'd go for the 2nd version in these.
Great research and work!

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