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Dragon the issue th a t pa cks a punch A PACKAGING SPECIAL EDITION

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Welcome Here at Dragon Rouge it’s been a busy year of packaging births and ‘rebirths’, so we’re thrilled to launch another mini Dragonfly before the year is out. And this edition ‘packs a punch’. Why the title? First, because we’re proud of how much we squeeze into every mini Dragonfly edition – true to our mantra that ‘every page is precious’. Second, because we think 2010, (as you might have expected after the year that was 2009), has been one typified by more ‘punchy’, often radical brand packaging launches and relaunches – across many categories. These bold, brave pack designs and innovations are acknowledgment of a growing role of pack as a primary billboard and touchpoint for consumers but also, for many, a very visual sign they are in for the duration, know who they are, proud of their difference and to be taken seriously. Again, we hope you’ll join the debate, get in touch, share finds you may have made. Most of all, we hope this is a great introduction to (or refresher on) our unique take on packaging. Maybe it will lead to other discussions on how we might work some packaging magic on your brand. Kate Waddell, Dragon Rouge

CONTRIBUTORS Sam Dumont Creative Partner and Creative Strategist Sam bridges the skills of creative strategy and design vision and is a central interface between client and design teams, ensuring the partnership sparkles. Sam’s passion lies in beautifully executed packaging that sets brands apart and delivers commercial rather than just design advantage. She is excited by the opportunities presented by emerging technology and packaging design and the creative scope in using sustainable design to set brands apart. Dorothy Mackenzie Chairman and Pioneer in Sustainable Brand Thinking Dorothy’s founding vision in 1991 was of a different kind of agency with a broader perspective on brands, their potential and their responsibility. She has pioneered industry thinking on brands and sustainability and champions the full integration of sustainable thinking into every aspect of the brand. Her passion is bringing crowd sourcing into breakthrough sustainable thinking and the power of the consumer to influence positive change in packaging design, usage and disposal.

CONTENTS David Jenkins Creative Director and Design Guiding Light David takes every brand challenge and exhausts the possible, testing briefs to their limit in the pursuit of design originality and packaging that changes consumer behaviour and delivers to the bottom line. David delights in creating new brands from scratch through to reinventing old favourites. He’s most excited about bringing brand design to bear in new areas – from own brand to taboo categories, where glamour and prestige are far from the menu. Gil Pereira de Lima Account Director and Brand Multi-Culturalist Gil is the ultimate international citizen. Quadrilingual, his view is broad and his cultural nuances rich. He thrives on international design projects with multiple strands and is delighting in getting up close and personal with some classic UK brands alongside bold design projects with fellow ‘global citizen’ brands. Gil has a growing interest in working brand architecture to maximum advantage through pack design – with stand out, clear messaging and navigation.


Behind every iconic pack there has to be a great story 07/08 GREEN TEST

How sustainable is your packaging? 09/10 ARCHETYPES

Turning unconscious symbolism into stand out packaging 11 CHANGE AGENT

Could your pack be your ultimate change agent? 12 FUTURE FIT

Follow our tips and be ahead of the pack by riding the packaging trends 13/14 PACKAGING THE FUTURE

New technologies will revolutionise the way we use packaging 15/16 FABULOUS FORM

Packaging that breaks down the barriers and engages with emotions 17/20 TRENDWATCH

Predictions and forecasts in packaging 21 LOOK WHAT WE FOUND

The Dragon Rouge team’s favourite packaging finds 22 GET IN TOUCH





Behind every icon there has to be a grea t story — In the battle to be heard, should brands view pack as the inviting ‘book cover’ to their unique story?

We all know that to get the message across, you need to keep it simple. The statistics on just how many messages hit consumers every day have long been overwhelming. However, latest research shows we’re not just choosing to switch off but that our actual physiology is changing and our ability to concentrate on one thing is diminishing. So, in this ever-faster, ever-complex world simple is good, but visual is even better. Brands are shifting from trying to say it all on pack to strong visual branding to cut through even faster - harnessing consumers’ increased visual literacy and creative aspirations. i-pod communications are a prime example – the bold silhouette of the user with the tell-tale earphones conveys the joy and ease of the product with no words needed. In semiotic terms the signifier has become the signified.

cruzan RUM

The story of ‘simply better rum’ was told, plain and simple, through a proud bottle shape and bold logo, inspired by the Cruzan family crest and the gateway to the Estate. A mellow yet confident icon with a real story to tell.

Many of today’s global power brands are visual icons in their own right. Think Nike’s ‘swoosh’, Coke’s curves, Apple’s bitten apple, BP’s helios, The Olympics’ 5 rings. They need no introduction. They need no explanation. We know what they are and what we are getting. Focusing on a core visual branding mnemonic has allowed these brands to concentrate their spend and spread seamlessly across cultures so increasing their dominance and recognition – a virtuous marketing cycle. Now the tactic is gaining traction in a supermarket near us. Kellogg’s recent redesign of both Cornflakes and Coco Pops brings iconic branding firmly into the everyday shopping basket. Both reduce the brands to their visual essence, stripping out the front of pack to allow a big graphic device (the cockerel of Cornflakes and Coco Monkey of Coco Pops) to take centre stage. Dragon


STORY TELLING In theory, this produces impactful, arresting design that almost jumps off the shelf into the customer’s shopping basket, circumventing a complex, repertoire-driven, purchase decision (and so, the brand owner hopes, stabilising brand share). And that’s got to be a good thing, hasn’t it? Well – yes and no. Current wisdom of how the brain works during purchase decisions – from the rapidly developing field of neuroscience – appears to back this up. These studies give a strong indication that consumers find making familiar purchases easier and more rewarding. Decisions that are more visceral and instinctive activate the physical pleasure centres in the brain faster. By being so easy to spot on shelf, brands like Coco Pops are hoping to not only be more likely to be bought but also increase the positive programming behind their recognition.


But, neuroscience is not yet a universally accepted field of study, in the context of brand. Many argue that the medical environments currently needed for brain scanning are not a realistic environment for consumer decision-making and may serve to skew the data. And aside from the uncertainties of science, if you revisit some core principles of pack design, we’d question whether iconic branding is always right for more mainstream brands. First, packaging is often a lynchpin in brand expression – often the most consistent element. So its role in anchoring the brand story in heads and hearts is crucial. In stripping out story for a bolder graphical impact, brands break the contract of ‘brand in the hand’ at their peril. Graphics only become iconic branding when a story is embedded in the consumer’s soul. By going large and iconic, brands risk losing the opportunity to convey the detail of their brand story in an intimate, involved way. The ‘in your face, shouty’ nature of such design might even grate when taken off the shelf and into the private space of home. If brands create empty, even invasive, experiences, not only do they endanger their chance of being repurchased but they drain the very brand equity that sustains them. Put another way, brands that set themselves up as icons need to be very careful not to encourage iconoclastic consumers. If brands become a symbol with no richness, depth and meaning to underpin them, why should we feel warmly towards them, want to travel with them on their journeys and give them the benefit of the doubt?



KellogGs’ cereal classics

After years of indulging in sumptious serving suggestions and expansive verbage, Kellogg’s have realised the precious status of their enviable brand icons who live proudly and boldly on front of pack.


Chiquita bananas – personalitypacked, stand out branding, with crowd sourced design and ‘green’ to boot. The genius behind the reinvention of the iconic Chiquita blue label into a series of character-packed, impactful new label designs. What’s not to love?

Jordans country crisp

An icon in its category and beyond fad or fashion. Could other brand classics be taking a leaf out of Jordan’s branding book and thinking ‘iconic’ about their packaging presentation?

So, what can brands do to avoid the downside of iconic design? We have two strategies to suggest: 1. Think 360 degree A big graphic device might be appropriate on front of pack for instant recall, but an involved story can be told on back of pack and interior. The materials and production can also speak volumes about brand values, particularly with a focus on sustainability. Rude Health’s muted colours and natural finish say as much about the wholesome simplicity of their cereals as the ‘hyper-mobile’ people on front of pack. Of course you can direct consumers to seek more information or involvement in some other part of the branding mix, especially online. But there still needs to be scope to touch them when they have the product in their hands. 2. Tell a story in a bolder, more graphic way Iconic design does not have to sit at the other end of the spectrum to story-telling – a clever approach can harness the best of both worlds. Jordans Country Crisp is a good example of a brand that’s struck a happy balance in the cereals category. Whilst it uses luscious ingredient shots and evocative language on front of pack to tell its story of ‘delicious abundant goodness’, it also uses its heritage silhouette and a strong colour palette to ensure instant brand recognition. What’s your view on iconic design – the next big trend in packaging design or the emperor’s new clothes? To get involved in the debate see our dedicated Twitter stream.

Benjoy healthier snacking new ‘unspillable’ packaging currently awaiting patent designed with little hands and the hassled gatekeeper mum in mind. A simple idea - snacks in a tub that lets hungry little hands in but stops unwanted spillage. But, we ask, are the contents too worthy to attract little hands in the first place? Nom dairy – A brave move by the Austrian premium yogurt brand to take on the category giants. But is pack doing enough to tell the story, convince on product supremacy and is the Nom name a case of lost in translation?. We guess this will be a case of ‘proof of the pudding’... Kiwi Gold cheddar – Breaking into the grocery multiples, this cheddar ‘arriviste’ has set itself up for a fight. First, cheddar in a provenance-bound, nationalpride category? Next, playing to NZ origins in the face of rising air miles issues. The brand looks tasty enough, but has Kiwi lost sight of the bigger picture? Red Lion Foods – DF feels churlish to place a great cause brand in the ‘misses’, but we’re not sure it ‘cuts the mustard.’ It misses a big chance to create knock out branding and fails to convey a premium product story where quality assurance is of growing importance. We worry it has not understood today’s ethical consumer who expects to be able to give back AND have it all...



Would your packaging pass the

There is a lot of buzz around eco-friendly packaging but how 01



Easy on the inks

Being creative with colours

Less is more

White space stands out amongst a sea of print overload. So minimal ink consumption, more white space and low ink coverage can work to your advantage.

A few colours can go a long way. Consolidating ink colours saves on waste and creates more efficient print runs. Black and white is now entering the luxury market and no longer considered ‘no frills’.

Reduce your materials: cut back on card and avoid glue where you can. Think about smaller publication sizes and stick to standard cuts.




Are you avoiding dark, full bleed photographs? Are you thinking creatively about solid colour backgrounds? Are you making use of typefaces that consume less ink? Are you planning ahead and combining jobs and using local printers? Are you working with the colour of the actual product?

Are you reducing total colours used and avoiding spot colours and specialist inks? Are you speaking to your printer and using work-off ink? Are you avoiding traditional oil based inks? Are you choosing ‘green inks’ such as UV and soy ink that produce significantly less VOCs? Are you opting for digital print which utilises plate-free technology?

Are you working with standard sizes, could you do it differently and making savings as you do? Can you print directly onto the product and create savings and impact to boot? Are you avoiding the use of separate leaflets or envelopes? Are you minimizing the use of glue and finding alternative methods of adhesion? Can you create a ‘self-package’?



green test?

sustainable is yours? 04



Material world

Push it further

Show and tell

Material matters. Choose your stock carefully. Look for certified sources like FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) or recycled papers. Also keep an eye out for innovative materials.

Challenge category rules, think outside the box and add another dimension to print. Be greener and get noticed!

Don’t be shy. Use your packaging to communicate your green credentials and talk to the consumer about the importance and need for packaging and the role it can play in sustainability.




Are you using materials from sustainably managed sources? Are you using tree-free paper? Are you working with companies that are environmentally certified and not using fibres from unacceptable sources? Are you seeking innovative new materials such as biopolymers or plastics? Are all of your materials recyclable and certified as biodegradable/ compostable?

Are you experimenting with structural and print techniques – embossing, debossing and more? Are you speaking to your printer about the availability of vegetable based speciality inks? Are you being smart, insightful, inquisitive and are you challenging or conventional market norms – thinking differently about how to show your brand to best advantage?

Do you look for external third party accreditations? Are you clear and aim to explain your approach to consumers? Are you creative with icons? Do you follow the DEFRA Green Claims Code? Are your claims accurate and can be substantiated – are you water-tight and ‘whiter than white?

If your answers to these questions have been ‘no’ more than ‘yes’ you may need a packaging health check to identify innovative ‘greener’ approaches. Being sustainable is a creative opportunity, not a creative straitjacket – why not embrace a brighter future face for your brand?



Turning unconscious symbolism into stand out packaging — Archetypes: the ‘mot du jour’ for brand owners. But how can theory turn to design advantage and how can archetype thinking give brands life-long vigour? Jester, Innocent, Ruler, Sage… Archetype theory is a core marketing tool today – a powerful resource to guide how your brand connects deeply with consumers. A clear route for presenting a brand consistently over time. This roadmap has tended to concentrate on brand communications, especially TV advertising. This is not surprising as Archetype theory is based on universal or enduring story lines and these are more easily expressed in a moving medium. However, we all know the power of the ‘brand in the hand’ and telling a brand story on shelf or point of sale. So, we’ve created unique Archetype Design Wheels which are working well with our clients. They involve a simple five step process:



1. Understanding – revisiting and interrogating the original psychological Archetype theory 2. Analysis – breaking down each Archetype into its constituent attributes 3. Extraction – pulling out any visual cues and patterns emerging 4. Synthesis – overlaying visual cues onto the different attributes 5. Inspiration – extrapolating design directions from these enhanced attributes

their Archetype through their packaging:

In addition to translating Archetype theory into tangible design directions, these Wheels show us where on an Archetypal ‘journey’ a brand currently lives. The different design directions generated can be easily divided between three different levels in each Archetype – naïve, maturing and wise:

Pepsi – wise, mature Jester, unstructured and energetic by using free flow design that changes between variants and over time.

Bringing this to life – here are examples of Jester brands expressing different levels of

M&Ms – naïve, innocent Jester playful and celebratory, populist and involving with its use of bright colours and cheeky, accessible characters Ben & Jerry’s – maturing Jester, breaking rules by using politics and cultural notions in dairy branding

So, in summary, what benefits do Archetype Design Wheels bring and how could brands use them? Brand Audits – to identify which Archetype your packaging design is currently referencing, pinpoint what level in the Archetypal

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journey your brand has reached and show what you need to do to move forward in the future:

Level 3: life experienced in the moment, one day at a time Level 2: cleverness used to trick others, get out of trouble, and find ways around obstacles, transformation

Level 1: life as a game, fun

• Stronger creative development ARCHETYPE ATTRIBUTES/QUALITIES to focus idea generation DESIGN DIRECTIONS/

• To giveSTRANDS powerful inspiration – rich in depth and breadth but within single-minded, clear parameters • A tool for creative evaluation – giving a strong rationale and testing matrix for brand work. For more objective evaluation and easier ‘selling in’ and ‘selling on’ Clients that have used our Wheels have fed back that they make what can feel like ‘highfalutin’ Archetypal theory feel really usable and directional Isn’t it time you released the Archetypal energy at the heart of your brand? Dragon



Could your pack be your ultimate change agent? Consumers. A tricky bunch. Claiming to be hungry for newness, yet clinging to old habits. Saying things don’t work well enough for them. But struggling on with the tried and tested. So, how to break habits of a lifetime and help the ‘stuck in the rut’ consumer to change their ways? Maybe your pack’s the simple key to unlock new behaviours and rituals? Looking through a packaging lens, it’s easy to see landmark pack breakthroughs over previous decades. Would Red Bull have cut it without unorthodox branding and a potent pack size? Would Worthington have conveyed ‘dream hair’ without the stand-out pack shape? Could Gü have persuaded us serving Gü at posh dinner parties was preferable to guests to the host slogging over a hot stove? Would Ella’s Kitchen have made it right for time-pressed food-conscious mums to reject home cooked purees without the home-made branding cues and on-the-go pouch format? Packaging was central to getting these brands noticed, showing difference and crucially breaking ingrained consumer habits and owning new repertoires.

each sku named by number. Nothing to hide, everything to taste. Could they be the change in drinking behaviour? Then there’s Lakeland Dairies’ first move into adult milk drinks. Their challenge? Gaining reappraisal with a public who think flavoured milks are either for male, sugar-loving junk food merchants, or dentally-challenged youth slugging shakes on the school bus. Bringing women, health conscious men and gatekeeper mums into ‘thinking differently’. Their solution? Modern Milk. A smaller format and size. Toned down colours that play up health without sacrificing enjoyment. And an irreverent, ageless cow icon ‘living’ the functional benefit in every bottle. Real stand out to trigger new usage. Or the masters of on pack campaigning – One. From humble beginnings in bottled water, Duncan Goose’s humanitarian brainchild has spread from household goods into birth control. Ever aware of the power of the pack ‘billboard’, the brand’s refreshed design launches this month. Expect single minded, direct, empassioned. The ultimate ‘brand in the hand’. Being different takes effort. Being credible takes more. Get your pack right and you’re half way there. Be noticed, be believed, be desirable. Let your pack be the change you desire.

So what arresting packs have recently caught our attention in the branding maelstrom of the weekly shop, proving pack is king in the battle for hearts and minds? Firstly, soft drinks brand evoid. With a proposition of ‘Taste, Truth. Tang. We say. We do’, packaging couldn’t let the promise down. Enter stand out packaging that wears its heart on its sleeve. Radical, hard hitting, process colours with nothing but the e-free product story told on pack and 11 Dragon


Telling us to 'think differently' about milk - the pack's a true call to action

Could your pack be more future fit? Be ahead of the pack by riding the packaging trends we’re tipping for the top in the year to come…

Sensationally different with packaging that’s so deliciously visual and tactile it builds anticipation and gets the user in the mood for food as much as aroma, like Spain’s Übercool DeliShop take away packaging.

Data design


Fun barcodes in Japan look set to make the previously irritating, unaesthetic humble barcode a desirable ‘extra’ – transforming it into an engaging and attractive design cue.

The ‘want it now, want it mine’ generation will get more of what they want as technology makes it possible to tailor-make and personalise. From crowd sourced packaging to personalisation. will the future mean no two packs could look the same? Jones soda’s led the way – is this a taste of the future?

Vending Convenience and packaging reduction will mean more brands should evolve to vend with a rise in pouches and reduced packaging layers this brings – Body Shop and Bottlegreen are leading the waY.

Second life packaging

sustainable and added value – the coolest packs will be those with an onward life, like the new Philips Activa mp3, where the pack becomes an on-the-go drinking bottle to accompany the cool mp3 tunes

Living in a post material world The ravages of the economic downturn have imbued a ‘postmaterialist’ spirit in the collective psyche meaning we’ll see no end to the power of simple brown card and unbleached materials – a visual shorthand for ‘kinder’ and more natural products.

Fresh disclosure With waste and frugality riding high in the consumer conscience, the future will bring packaging that changes colour only when the product is past its best – taking out the ‘is it or isn’t it?'of debatable use by dates.



134 Dragon


As apps and new technologies are integrated into everything we do, communication and informationsharing is being transformed. It’s a development that looks set to revolutionise the way we use packaging Packs have always been the multi-taskers in the comms mix. Inviting us into the brand world and telling us the product benefits. They keep the contents safe, secure, fresh and explain how to use it. They make suggestions and carry warnings. In some categories, packaging acts as a billboard to sell the product to the consumer directly, in others, it acts as a support tool to help sales assistants engage in conversation. They’re a source of irritation when seen as generating too much waste and a delight when they are a thing of beauty. And packaging doesn’t just communicate with one audience. Packs give information to the end user, plus are created with retailer and distributor needs in mind. They allow easy identification in spaces as varied as store cupboards, to supermarket shelves, to vast warehouses. Technology is now really impacting packaging as it amplifies the pack’s traditional, two dimensional role as infor-

window to the website. And of it’s a win-win way to trap customer data, act as a gateway into the brand world, secure interest and pique desire.

mation provider and brand communicator. Now ‘tech-savvy’ early adopters are embracing technologies that let them scan barcodes on pack and access information on anything from the brand’s CSR record, to whether it’s available cheaper down the road. In Seoul, Kerasys Salon Care has used QR quick response codes to dovetail with its marketing campaign. The technology allows consumers to learn more about function, design and benefits, to play back ad campaigns, videos, enter prize draws or be a quick

Beyond the experiential, the technology of the future can give a powerful incentive in-store that could swing buying decision in your brand’s favour. A window on inspiring recipes? A pointer for ‘perfect partner’ brands elsewhere in store? And once the brand’s made it home, technology will give a simple one step to ensuring your brand makes it into next week’s online basket. Like Tesco’s recent update to its iPhone shopping app enabling barcode scanning of empty packaging. In such a technologically empowering world, smart designers are embracing change. By getting closer to the consumer and understanding how, why and when they use packaging, their desires and information needs, we can all ensure technology and its partnership with packaging design expands and deepens the consumer relationship. Dragon



Breaking down barriers with packaging ALL IN THE BEST POSSIBLE TASTE

Our 2010 work to create a new ‘free from’ offer for Nairn’s put uncompromised taste at the heart of the brief. The resulting design sits as comfortably in the Breakfast Goods as Free From aisle in store

Brands are constantly engaged in a battle for attention. But what’s to be done when the consumer views the entire category with, at best, lack of interest and, at worst, negativity.? How can packaging cut through the baggage to make closer, lasting connections with their target? The reasons for low category ‘love’ vary – embarrassment or stigma, a feeling of restriction, limitation or ‘being labelled’. Whatever the cause, great packaging builds brand reputation and relationships even in the most sensitive areas. In incontinence care or feminine hygiene sectors, if consumers are to feel good about a brand, packs should stress freedom and femininity and not lose a sense of ‘this won’t let you down’. In the ‘free from’ aisle of the 15 Dragon

supermarket, the task is to alleviate the consumers’ sense of self denial or deprivation. With the rise in numbers of food allergies or sensitivities, food manufacturers have responded well in choice terms with an increasing range of products. But despite expanding choice, consumers often face the fixture feeling ‘short changed’. Despite the crying need for packaging to reassure consumers that products are just as delicious as their mainstream counterparts, often the message is ‘reductive’ – about what they’re not rather than how enjoyable they are. It’s all too often dated, cold and unappetising. But with packaging that looks as good as the product tastes, consumers can have a real sense of liberation (not too grand a word) that they can get the same worry-free pleasure from this food. The added bonus for

the brand is that they can expand their reach into mainstream consumers, too. A few brands are making renewed efforts to rejuvenate packs, and this often shifts their perception from being niche ‘problem’ specialists, to well-loved, mass market favourites. It’s not a small challenge. There are, of course, big health issues at stake. Clear information on pack remains the highest priority. But it doesn’t have to be at the expense of positive cues and engaging, appealing packaging that could tip the balance at point of sale. So, if you’re packaging a ‘difficult’ product, ask yourself, what’s in the spotlight? The positive brand experience and outcome or the problem you’ve set out to overcome? Is messaging out of kilter or your brand missing a trick?


shape of things to come Time after time in focus groups consumers cite ‘auto pilot’ or ‘seek and destroy’ as their grocery shopping mode. One brand owner’s ‘big graphic brand face lift’ can be an unnoticed or worse, irritatingly unwanted change for the time-starved shopper. But research shows ‘disruptive’ or ‘arresting’ pack structure can create the biggest stand out in the fight for on shelf attention. The right structure can make a consumer’s life simpler, more pleasurable, make a statement about their style, boost ease of use, or simplify or reduce waste. And of course, structural design should address the logistics of transportation, merchandising and storage. But structural design has long been accelerating up the consumer’s ‘emotional ladder’. It is about making brands beautiful, more distinctive, desirable and ‘physical’ at the same time. At its zenith, structure creates instantly recognisable, brand-owned icons and aesthetic shapes with meaning, soft touch textures, enticing graphics. It can help brands create a holistic user experience and build deeper relationships.


With a very clear benefit to express versus other functional drinks, Dragon Rouge New York’s design for EVR used a shrink wrap and bold, scientific-style graphics to shout efficacy and taste off shelf and to remove previous confusion with alcoholic RTDs.

Today’s brands have shown it’s possible to create step change with structure. Heinz’s ‘simple’ Top Down pack met a consumer need head on and changed how people store and dispense. Method has brought personal care structural aesthetics and ethics into ‘challenging’ categories. ‘Lunch box’ formats in chilled and bakery have injected the ‘lunchable’ word into consumer language. And Kenco’s eco-refills stand out and challenge the belief ‘it ain’t easy being green’. The bottom line is about the mantra of ‘intelligent structural design’. It doesn’t have to be complicated but all about communicating with consumers in a more engaging and emotional way, striving for functional perfection and deep sensory connection.


Contrex set out to be different in bottled water, becoming the ‘diet conscious lady’s’ magic formula. It hinted at its contour- enhancing benefits via a bespoke structure.




Earnestly informative or wildly playful. Starkly symbolic or warm and storytelling. Today’s packaging trends are often wildly divergent, reflective of the wide impact of the post austerity mood. Here we name three key packaging trends we predict will continue to make their mark... 01 Radical transparency

Who? What? When? Where? How? Information-hungry consumers are demanding answers and expect facts at their fingertips. Why hide it, because they’ll find it?. Tell it like it is and do as you say… the balvenie FORTY WHISKY

For some brands ‘more is more’. Every story has a beginning, middle and end with many chapters in between. Balvenie Forty Whisky retails at £2,500 per bottle, so its consumers will want to savour every line of the brand’s story in every drop. Each hand numbered bottle, label and box tells the tale over its 40 year maturation, with no surface unused in the telling. Revived Kiwi Rochdale Cider also has much to say – laying bare its ingredient, fermenting, sourcing and rich provenance story, showing on all counts that it has nothing to hide. and is ready to take on the cider behemoths on an authenticity platform.

17 Dragon

Alacran Tequila

It would seem that now ‘a thousand words’ speak louder than the proverbial picture. Typographyheavy design isn’t new, but brands like Alacran Tequila break category rules with a prose-heavy tale of the exact source of this quality tequila, expressing its motto of ‘in vino veritas’ beautifully. Or Heinz’s Pure NZ frozen vegetables range which shouts its no nonsense ‘greener greens’ message off its new biodegradable freezer pack. evoid DRINKS

Evoid does radical and transparency in equal measure. Shouting its e-free campaign loud and clear with process print coloured, type only packs detailing the (lack of) ingredients and a numeric range architecture that lives out the promise of ‘Taste, Truth. Tang. We say. We do’. Swedish smoothie brand Froosh takes a softer, though no less direct approach that plain and simply says ‘fruit:bottled’ and bears out the mantra ‘in fruit we trust’. And Bare Crush is just that – fruit crushed and frozen, to go, with pared down packaging that does the talking.




02 Unleash the inner child

Emerging from times of reflection, introspection, frugality, it’s little wonder that brands want to cut loose and have some fun – regressing to speak to the inner child in everyone. Subverting expectations, distorting reality and delivering unexpected surprises, this trend is about injecting mischief and humour in the least likely places. And the biggest winners are brands that make the traditional frivolous, the straight-laced silly, or the righteous down-right rebellious. All grown up and in its Sunday Best, Porkinsons’ refreshed packaging borrows from its larger than life founder’s style – evoking a sense of good taste and character and big personality. Play is also at the heart of Thailand’s True Corp’s True Coffee ‘Hot Dog’ cafe chain food branding – the humourous ‘hot’ dachsund icon being celebrated across many of the brand’s eat in or take away food offers.

Image courtesy of JKR.

The Porkinson Banger vilpuri


Staples bread and wine get playful makeovers at opposite ends of the Continent, with Finnish Fazer’s Vilpuri bread range adopting a snappy, pared back design that packs personality into simple bread products. And Turkish Vinkara wines are letting their childish side loose on their ‘Fun and Playful’ wine range which states, quite simply, it’s ‘like a Pinot Noir’.

Naïve branding morphs into the pleasingly puerile to make ‘dull’ categories more appealing. New York’s Wat-ahh brand turned child logic on its head to breathe bright and irreverent new life into dull bottled water. Or ‘popalicious’ healthy snacking Peter Popple’s Popcorn adopts a child-like style to bring taste appeal to a grown up healthy snacking promise.

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03 Symbological

The forward thinking brand knows timestarved, claim-fatigued consumers have had enough of scanning the aisles. They want straight talking immediacy. Witness the rise of symbology. In a world of emoticons and text-speak, where technology throws nationalities together, the global language of symbols takes on new reason. As we fight for claims approval, could symbols be the winning language for outstanding brands?



It’s fast food Jim, but not as we know it. Fast food, done well, with fast facts to boot. Otarian is the first sustainable boutique fastcasual restaurant chain. Modern, fresh symbols tell the consumer the nutritional status and carbon footprint of every item – quite literally transparent. And Nature’s Agave has a clear, iconic droplet graphic showing different types of syrup that expresses product purity beautifully.

The drinks industry, steeped in heritage and rich provenance, is also embracing strong symbolism with brands like tea-infused Slovak spirit brand Tatratea – brought down to an iconic T symbol with simply a base colour finish and the proof borne on pack. And Norwegian ‘sex toy’ brand Laid has taken its branding back to basics with an alphanumeric approach to the range architecture, letting product do the talking.


When time is of the essence or consumers want to cut straight to the purchase, symbols do all the talking, fast. Russian store cupboard brand Yamarka Platinum has created a bold, symbol-based stand out range of grains and pulses which punctuate a dull yet ‘busy’ aisle and allow for rapid navigation and selection of the right product. And in personal care, Vaseline’s recent packaging refresh majors on strong symbols to express profound moisturising, soothing, protecting and healing benefits of this classic range.





Boxed Water is Better for the Earth has a Roneal-esque simplicity championing a single minded cause to change water drinking habits for a better world.

Our New York office has done an ace relaunch of the EVR antioxidant drink brand – removing previous confusion with alcopops and creating an impactful mix of flavour and function.

A high end rye whiskey that breaks the norms of provenance and heritage (Ri)1 with its clean, sleek minimalism simply lets the beauty of the amber liquid shine.

PIPPA Bridging the gap between child baker and budding Nigella, Little Barn takes the ersatz out of cake mix and blends homely baking values with bright modern graphics. Top that!



Proof eco-chic touches every category (sorry!), Local Litter’s a premium US cat litter made from locally sourced ingredients, from pellets to pack – now the litter tray’s a guilt-free experience for kitty!

Elegant US wine brand Hamilton Fray uses exquisite bird etchings based on bird breeds resident to the Estate as a beautiful designator across different varietals. Beautifully simple yet arresting.



eBay’s launched reusable shipping boxes to help their sellers be more environmentally responsible. Re-using the box five times helps protect almost 4,000 trees and saves 2.4 million gallons of water…

Danish brand Sexogsundhed have a light hearted take on the serious issue of contraception and STDs with a modern, humorous take on protection. Fun and flippant carrying a serious cause.

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OLI Heineken and ORA-ITO’s collaboration has created the limited edition 100% sustainable aluminium ‘Icone Pure’ bottle. Classic matt white bears a green dot inscription and Heineken’s logo proud front and back.



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About Dragon Rouge



Dragon Rouge is an international consulting business. We believe a brand’s real job is to change how people think, feel and act. We know this requires a deep understanding of where the world is heading, how people operate within it and the imagination to influence it. We use these insights and creativity to give brands the power to create change.

As you can see we have some interesting thoughts on brands; what works, what doesn’t and what should never have been tried in the first place. If you do have a branding challenge that you’d like to discuss or if you’d like us to explore a new issue altogether, give us a call or send us an email, we’ll give you a fresh perspective, challenge your thinking and probably make you laugh as well.

John Cox

We are independent in ownership and outlook and this gives us the freedom to look at things differently and to challenge standard expectations. We do this from seven locations across the world, working as a team of 350 individuals to maximise client opportunities using insight, innovation, strategy, design and communication. For more than 25 years we’ve been known for our thinking and our creativity, for getting things done, delivering results and for giving our clients the confidence to pursue their future desire.

Dragonfly 1 Craven Hill, London, W2 3EN


+44 (0)20 7262 4488 +44 (0)20 7262 6406

Dragon Rouge Group

Dubai Hamburg Hong Kong London New York Paris Warsaw Creative Director

Lavinia Mirabella-Greco Editorial Designer


Kate Waddell Managing Editor

Kerry O’Connor contributors / Image suppliers

Alacran Tequila Carte Noire Contrex Cruzan Rum Evoid Drinks Fazer Jessica Wilson Jordans Kellogg’s Marseillais Modern Milk Nairn’s Oatcakes Otarian Porkinson Banger Tatratea The Balvenie Forty Whisky Wat-aah! Yamarka Platinum Repro and printing

Printed by Screaming Colour on Evolution Uncoated stock, which is FSC certified and 100% recycled.

Craig Brooks


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Dragonfly the Packaging Issue  

The packaging issue of Dragonfly.

Dragonfly the Packaging Issue  

The packaging issue of Dragonfly.