2006 Annual Design Review Packaging Design Distinction

de.MO Self-Promotional Materials
Every designer knows the pain of putting together a fancy portfolio, only to then produce work they wish they could have included. The Millbrook, New York, graphic design firm de.MO bypassed the issue by presenting its own projects on loose cards that can be added or subtracted as the firm sees fit. The cards, which are labeled “Exhibit A,” “Exhibit B,” and so on—like evidence presented in a criminal case—are collected in the left sleeve of a kraft paper folder; a CD of the projects is tucked into a slot on the right. The folder fits neatly into the well of a shallow box with a flat lid held in place by thick rubber bands. Zinzell liked the mix of materials—the rough kraft paper, the fine, crisp white cards, and the bands with their dusting of powder—and admired how all the parts came together. Benard, on the other hand, had issues with the way they came apart: “It sort of explodes in your hands,” he said. “And you’d have to keep the rubber bands.”

DESIGN/CLIENT de.MO (Millbrook, NY): Giorgio Baravalle, creative director
MATERIALS 2 mm cardboard, French Paper Company Speckletone paper in oatmeal, Fedrigoni 80-grain Sirio paper
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator

10 Cane Rum
No pirates. No parrots. No ships. Spirits maker Moet Hennessy didn’t want any Caribbean cliches on the packaging for its new upscale rum, named for the 10 stalks of sugarcane that go into each bottle. But it did want the drink—which is marketed to bartenders mixing $14 cocktails at fancy bars—to be recognizable as rum, so the Minneapolis firm Werner Design Werks gave tradition a little shake. It designed a handsome 750 ml flask with rounded shoulders and a long, grabbable neck. Printed on the bottle in black is a crest that has the look of a classic seal, but strikes a humorous note with a monkey in the middle; a glossy orange label has been irreverently slapped at an angle across it. Benard noted that orange has been overused by packaging designers in recent years, “but they chose an orange that looks different,” he said. “I like it.” Adler praised the power of the large raised letters spelling out rum on the side of the bottle, and she liked the graphics. But she wasn’t as enthusiastic about the look of the nubby adhesive sheeting wrapped around the neck to provide a better grip for bartenders working with wet hands. “I wish they had come up with a different solution,” she said.

DESIGN Werner Design Werks (Minneapolis): Sharon Werner, creative director
CLIENT Moet Hennessy (Paris)
MATERIALS Glass, paper
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

Martin Kippenberger Bermuda Triangle Catalog
Asked to craft a limited-edition catalog for a Nyehaus gallery show on two separate series of artworks by Martin Kippenberger, the New York graphic design firm Helicopter took inspiration from the late artist himself, who often used common materials like cardboard in his enigmatic, geographically themed work. Helicopter chose a thin, corrugated panel of the stuff and molded it into a 9-by-12-inch flipcase. Inside are two softcover books devoted to the series—each slipped into a jacket that’s been printed and foiled to hide the real cover—along with two posters and a tongue-in-cheek vinyl bumper sticker. On the front of the case, a silk-screened illustration pinpoints the locations of the places where the two works were created (Syros, Greece, and Dawson City, Canada), as well as the Paris Bar in Berlin where Kippenberger met his muses, uniting them in one visual. Benard liked everything about the project, from the mechanics of the folder to the choice of materials: “The outside is so raw, the inside so fine,” he said. And even though the three-color cover silk screen didn’t quite line up, he didn’t mind: “It’s charming to me.”

DESIGN Helicopter (New York): Josh Liberson and Ethan Trask, principals
CLIENT Nyehaus (New York)
MATERIALS Munken paper, corrugated cardboard, vinyl sticker, ink, foil
SOFTWARE Adobe Photoshop and InDesign

Pluma
The jurors all instantly liked the look of this butane gas cylinder, which is made for home cooking and heating. The trend in Europe in recent years has been to replace traditional steel canisters with lighter plastic. But this version, from the Portuguese design firm Brandiacentral, goes a step further, turning the gas cylinder into a “sporty” item, according to Adler. The innovation starts on the inside, with a liner that’s made of lightweight steel reinforced with a thermoplastic composite and finished with a gel-coat shield. The outer jacket is a single injection-molded piece of high-density polyethylene in a shade of bright orange that’s hip yet also delivers an effective safety warning. Its twin gray handles have an ergonomic shape and are molded in plastic with a finer grain than the body, providing a texture that’s agreeable to the touch. Giving the design its own name—Pluma, which means feather in Portuguese and Spanish—was one more way of updating the product’s image, associating it not with fire or danger, but with birds. “They’re trying to appeal to young moms and dads,” Adler noted.

DESIGN Brandiacentral (Lisbon): Rui Sampaio de Faria, design director; Teresa Costa Reis, Tiago Mendes, and Rita Norton Sampaio, designers
CLIENT Galp Energia (Lisbon)
MATERIALS High-density polyethylene, polypropylene
SOFTWARE Autodesk AliasStudio, Macromedia Freehand, Pro/Engineer

Everpure Water Filtration System
It’s awfully dark and gloomy under the kitchen sink, not to mention messy. With its bright, clean packaging for the Everpure water filter, Proteus Design attempted to make this product the exception. Noting the current taste for stainless-steel kitchen appliances, the designers housed Everpure in an aluminum casing with a metallic label (competitors use plastic), then played up the brand’s signature look by cutting a window into the box to give customers a sneak peak. While other filter companies employ images of water and of people drinking water on their packages, Proteus opted for a less literal approach: photographs of flowers and leaves that evoke health and purity while mimicking the inner architecture of the canister itself, a pleated baffle that maximizes the surface area for filtration. Though there is a lot of type on the label—much of the wording is required by the FDA—it’s organized in a tidy way. “For that industry, this is a unique look, which gives the product an edge,” said Zinzell. “If I saw this on a shelf in the store, I’d stop to take a look.”

DESIGN Proteus Design (Boston): Matthew Bacon, lead designer; Jason B. Williams, designer
CLIENT Everpure (Hanover Park, IL)
MATERIALS E-flute corrugate, SKU-specific stickers, silver Mylar label
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

Skyy 90 Vodka
Despite Zinzell and Benard’s concerns that the bottle wasn’t different enough from other premium vodkas, Adler went all out in support of Skyy 90. She liked the tall, slender form and found the bottle particularly easy to hold. “It reminds me of water carafes in Italy,” she said. In fact, San Francisco’s Landor Associates designed the bottle to conjure the look of a clear bubble rising through a column of water. The designers found a glassmaker in Austria who was able to render the design affordably, and they specified a weighted nickel-polished cap with a satisfying heft to help convey a message of luxury. A blue circle is painted on the bottom of the thick base; when the bottle is bottom-lit, as is the case in many high-end bars, the spirit inside shines a dramatic blue.

DESIGN Landor Associates (San Francisco): Nicolas Aparicio, executive creative director; Christopher Lehmann, creative director; Anastasia Laksmi, senior designer; Andy Keene, design director; Cameron Imani, design director
CLIENT Skyy Vodka (San Francisco)
MATERIALS Cosmetic-grade glass, nickel finish (cap), applied ceramic labeling
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

De Young and Legion of Honor Museum Stores Packaging
In order to design point-of-purchase materials for a gift shop serving two very different museums, San Francisco’s Hizam Design had to find a common ground. The firm borrowed from both the roofline of the new, modernist de Young and the marble columns of the 1924 Beaux Arts Legion of Honor—each part of the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco—to come up with the abstract pattern of irregular stripes used on the pair’s gift bags, gift certificates, and gift-box stickers. The jurors admired the translation. “They didn’t just mimic the architecture,” Zinzell said. “They brought it into pop culture.” The signature colors of each museum—copper for the de Young and navy for the Legion—were incorporated in a palette that Zinzell and Adler felt was appealingly lively. “I’m impressed with the integrity of the overall program,” said Zinzell, who noted that the collection was among the few identity campaigns in the packaging competition. “I like the thinking behind it.”

DESIGN Hizam Design (San Francisco): Hizam Haron, creative director
CLIENT Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
MATERIALS Polypropylene, Finch uncoated bright white stock, Stickyback label stock
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator

Struck Design Self-Promotional DVD
Having stamped its name, contact information, and logo of crossed hammers on its self-promotional reel, Struck Design figured it made sense to slip the DVD into a transparent vinyl sleeve so the graphics would show through. But the designers at the Salt Lake City firm won the jurors over with their idea of pairing the plastic covering with a wood base, the perfect marriage of synthetic and natural. The Struck Design staffers assemble the three-ply birch base, frosted Lexan cover, and white foam dot on an as-needed basis, but they may not have used enough adhesive on the jurors’ sample—the pieces came unstuck after some handling. Still, Benard praised the design for its “Shaker-like simplicity,” and Zinzell, who thought the look was more mid-century modern, paid the package the ultimate compliment: “I’d love to see this one in my own portfolio.”

DESIGN/CLIENT Struck Design (Salt Lake City): Ryan Goodwin, creative director
MATERIALS Three-ply birch, translucent vinyl
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Creative Suite 2
In 2003, when Adobe first brought Photoshop and its other professional software brands under the Creative Suite heading, the San Francisco firm MetaDesign came up with the collection’s signature look of natural forms in silhouette. For 2005’s Creative Suite 2 release, MetaDesign built on that successful look while signaling that the company was introducing something new. The firm went to British radiographer Nick Veasey for photographs revealing the skeletal structures of the starfish, plants, and butterflies that decorated the 2003 packaging, then manipulated the X-ray images, cutting them up to create pleasing arrangements and colorizing the new compositions (using Photoshop, of course). Zinzell called the graphics “elegant,” and he and the other jurors singled out the flower on the Illustrator box as the best of the bunch. Adler noted that the simplicity of the Adobe packaging was consistent with the intuitive, easy-to-use product within. “It’s as thought-out as the actual software, which we all use every day,” she said.

DESIGN MetaDesign (San Francisco): Hui Ling Chen, designer; Brett Wickens, creative director; Nick Veasey and Jim Wehtje, photographers; Jeff Allison and Jim Welsh, image manipulation
CLIENT Adobe Systems Incorporated (San Jose, CA)
MATERIALS White corrugate, Printkote SBS, waterbased four-color process inks, aqueous coating
SOFTWARE Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator

Waitrose Premium Dried Fruit
How do you create a premium look when you have a less-than-premium budget? That was the challenge for Turner Duckworth when it came to packaging an upscale line of dried fruits for the U.K. supermarket chain Waitrose. A custom bag was out of the question, so the designers hunted for the best of the stock foil pouches, choosing a resealable one that cleverly folds back on itself like a cuff. “They picked a great bag,” said Adler. “It opens nicely, and I love that it’s resealable.” The stock item was transformed with a matte black laminate finish, luscious four-color photographs of figs and plums, and type that impressed Adler—adding up to a look that Zinzell called “modern but kind of old.” All in all, the judges felt the design fused function with beauty. “It’s got a little bit of that European aesthetic,” Benard said.

DESIGN Turner Duckworth (San Francisco): Christian Eager, designer; Steve Baxter, photographer
CLIENT Waitrose Limited (Bracknell, England)
MATERIALS OPP laminate, metallized polyester
SOFTWARE Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator

Clinique Derma White Powder Compact
Adler couldn’t keep her hands off Clinique’s new compact, though she needed only one of them to operate the container. “Wow, it’s neat how slowly it opens,” she said as she demonstrated for the other jurors how squeezing the compact’s side buttons causes the hinged cover to swing open in one fluid motion. While the Japanese firm MFV International patented the breakthrough technology, which involves a motion-dampening device that prevents the cover from flipping open too fast and causing the compact to fly out of a customer’s hand, the Estee Lauder corporate innovations group worked with the designers at Clinique Laboratories to integrate the spring concept into the package design. The compact itself is molded ABS plastic with a spray-on pearl finish. Introduced in Asia, it will arrive in North American stores later this year. Expect Adler at the cosmetics counter: “That thing’s addictive,” she said.

DESIGN/CLIENT Estee Lauder (New York): George Kress and Dave Maus, packaging developers
MATERIALS ABS/SAN blend
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator

Finest Tea No. 57
The jurors loved the package-within-a-package concept of Finest Tea No. 57 from Thai firm Tan Co Ltd. Tea drinkers slide an inner container out of the snow-white box only to discover 15 precious mini-boxes nestled inside. Each contains a single teabag wrapped in clear cellophane to keep out moisture. The jurors were taken with the minimalist pen-and-ink illustrations of, say, a scarecrow, or a tiny person bathing in a teacup. In a special holiday gift edition, the tea comes in a faux book titled Social Encyclopedia that’s modeled on a real antique volume. After flipping through a couple of pages devoted to the definition of alcohol, users come upon a well into which is tucked a box of After Party Hang Over Relief Tea. What to do with the book once the tea is gone? “You could use it to stash money,” suggested Benard.

DESIGN Pim Balankura (Bangkok), designer
CLIENT Tan Co (Bangkok)
MATERIALS Paper, plastic, string
SOFTWARE Adobe Illustrator

next »

COMMENT