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Patterns - a series of professional observations about package design practices within specific product categories

Organizers & Calculators

About Patterns

Patterns is a series of professional observations about package design practices within specific product categories - brought to you by the design team at R.BIRD.

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Combined into a 220-page full-color Paperback or PDF: All 11 reports, including this one, have been updated with new observations, image galleries, brand and keyword indexes.

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You can still read the original reports here online FREE, but these reports do not include the updates.


Featured in this report:

01 - Environment


Noisy environments shake consumer confidence.

Response: Design packaging to speak clearly and in an acceptable tone. Build confidence quietly.

02 - Brand Personality


Many of the products inherit brand equity from their consumer electronics products, such as TVs, stereos and cameras while others are recognized for their calculators and organizer products.

Response: Products and package graphics should communicate brand messages that support quality, dependability, and functionality.

03 - Shelf Presence


Major outlets including: Staples, Target, and OfficeMax, use red backgrounds on pegboards.

Response: Examine the environment carefully before implementing a branding system. Explore alternative colorings to improve contrast to the environment and reduce �camouflage.�

04 - Color


A variety of merchandising environments is a real issue when selecting color for the package.

Response: Two-tone branding systems like Xerox and TI address the issue by providing contrast in a variety of situations.

05 - Absent Branding


Are customers able to easily recognize your products?

Response: Build powerful branding through color, scale and consistency.

06 - Features & Benefits


Poor positioning, mysterious symbology and meaningless acronyms, result in a total communication breakdown. Too many different methods of delivering unclear messages. All of the icons shown above are used across a single brand.

Response: Create a new and consistent communication hierarchy that enables confident customer decision-making. If using symbology, support it with simple language and be consistent.

07 - Differentiation


Customers may be unable to easily discern the differences between products that are similar in appearance and packaging. In the examples above, customers may be unable to make a confident selection unless buying solely on price.

Response: Recognize the way customers naturally search for your product. Support that method through clear and consistent visual cues and simple language.

08 - Conflicts


These products are called "Personal Organizers" and "Wizards." Yet the packaging, features and even the products themselves feel more like IMpersonal and DISorganized. Maybe I need to be a Wizard to use one.

Response: The promise, the product, the package and language should be completely harmonious-- all in mutual support of each other. A visual communication redesign is clearly in order. Other considerations: Renaming. Meaningful model numbers. Simplified industrial design.

09 - Simplicity


Xerox and Casio are a step ahead of the competition. Branding is primary. Packaging is bold and simple with great contrast to the environment. Even the industrial design of the products are in harmony with the visual language. Symbology is unified and consistent. In a quick glance, customers can be confident of these product lines.

Response: The bar has been raised. If your products are not competing at this level or higher, it might be time to start thinking about a refresh.

10 - Typography


Most of today's hi-tech brands are communicated through san-serif typography.

Response: It becomes a matter of personal taste when the category lends itself to a particular typographic style. By definition, breakthrough packaging does not follow trends, but sets them.

11 - Hierarchy


Communication hierarchy varies from brand to brand. Even model numbers can confuse the purchaser.

Response: The most successful products have developed a systematic approach to communicate type of product, primary function, and other key features in a clear and concise manner.

calculators, organizers, pda, Sharp, Casio, Texas Instruments, Franklin, Xerox, Rolodex, Staples, Office Max, office supplies, environment, brand personality, shelf presence, color, branding, product features, benefits, brand / product differentiation, conflicts, simplicity, typography, hierarchy

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R.BIRD & Company, Inc. is a New York identity and design consulting firm with 35 years of experience creating brand identity, packaging, corporate identity and internet applications. Its clients are internationally-recognized brands and strategy-oriented organizations.

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