So you (think you) want a new design firm

Three points to consider before you walk away.

It's not you, it's me...
Things just are not working out...
We need something new...

Have you heard these words before? Have you said them in the context of your design relationships?

Relationships between brands and design firms are as diverse as the people who interact within them, and as diverse as the skills and experiences used throughout them. But, let’s face it, despite this diversity, a common occurrence in the design business is changing design firms. Very common.

In fact, 87% of brand owners have changed a key design relationship in the last year, according to a survey conducted by A Better View Strategic Consulting (more on the survey later in this article), and rises to 100 percent in the last two years. And when asked if they have changed more than one key design relationship in the last year, 58 percent of respondents said they had.

These findings merely confirm what we all know and experience every day. Change is normal. Change is frequent. Change is a way of life in the package design business. It is, you might say, constant.

For the full story, check outSou you (think you) want a new design firm?.

Insight for innovation: The trigger spray

No product delivery system has transformed the household cleaning ritual quite like the trigger sprayer.

Decades ago, lifestyle shifts were emerging and leaving us with less time to clean, and placing cleaning lower on the priority ladder. The trigger sprayer promised consumers convenient cleaning power and eliminated their guilt about dedicating less time to cleaning.

Since then, the trigger spray delivery system has been adopted for more surfaces and more cleaning occasions. Today’s all-purpose cleaning formulas put demands on the package structure that the simple days of glass cleaning did not. And while there have been ergonomic improvements, I don’t think anyone has truly re-evaluated the performance of the trigger spray bottle in light of its greatly expanded use.

That’s where this column comes in. My purpose is to illustrate that every category, no matter how mature or overlooked, has a potential innovation story to tell.

Read on atInsight for innovation: The trigger sprayfor the full story of the trigger sprayer.

SunChips' new look tells sustainability story

Even as skyrocketing gas prices ease slightly, there is no denying the fact that green consumerism is here to stay.

Shoppers are becoming increasingly educated, and proactive, about the types of products they are buying and how those goods are sourced and manufactured. And many brands are using packaging as the primary vehicle to communicate this information on-shelf.

SunChips, Frito-Lay’s popular brand of multigrain chips, is among the first national consumer packaged goods brands to include the “Green-e” designation ( on packaging across a full line of snacks. The updated design will feature the Green-e logo, a designation from the Center for Resource Solutions-a national non-profit that works to increase the amount of renewable energy used worldwide.

“Including the Green-e on the SunChips line of snacks gives the brand an opportunity to communicate its commitment to support green energy, and hopefully will remind and encourage consumers to take their own small steps to make our world a brighter place,” says Gannon Jones, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America.

SunChips brand communications will focus on the “small steps” concept as part of the brand’s “Live Brightly” campaign. One of those small steps is the support of green energy through the purchase of renewable energy certificates to match 100% of the electricity needed to produce SunChips in the United States.

Five Innovative Efforts in Cosmetics Packaging

1. Lip Service
Scoring sumptuous lips on-the-go is simple with Urban Decay’s Commando lip compact. Beauty convenience at its best, this dog-tag-style compact is loaded with two lip glosses and hangs from a chic silver chain. The reflective lavender Zamac material (zinc, aluminum, magnesium and copper) is embossed with skull and heart graphics that speak to the brand promise “Beauty, with an edge.” Compact material: HCT Packaging (

2. Back In Black

The MAC Holiday Collection features the brand’s signature look-black-making the line the perfect accessory for any occasion. Packaging incorporates various fabrics and textures to emphasize the “formal black” theme, and the fabric element is carried through on bags, compacts and plastic cases for lipsticks and nail lacquers as well.

3. Where Beauty Meets Technology

Freeze 24-7 & Go is a colorless cosmetic designed to instantly eliminate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Housed in a sleek, metallic, pod-like package that includes a removable mirror for optimal on-the-go application, the product can be applied over or under makeup without smearing or smudging.

4. Now You See It...

L’Oreal takes the concept of minimalist design to a new level with its Shu Uemura line of cosmetics. Following the brand’s strategy of “sophisticated simplicity and modernity”, packaging for the line incorporates thick, translucent materials from Rexam ( to achieve a unique look. Both products are virtually transparent, save for a shiny hot stamped logo.

5. On The Road Again

Not to be left in the lurch when traveling, today’s grooming-conscious man can opt for eShave’s colorful line of travel brushes made of fine badger hair and hand-turned ergonomic Lucite handles. A modern, silver canister protects the brush from being damaged-and also doubles as a brush stand. The canister is ventilated on top so that the brush can breathe and dry properly, no matter where life takes you.

Household cleaners

Procter & Gamble has launched Dawn Simple Pleasures in a bottle with a separate air freshener that is attached to the base and activated when consumers release a tab.

"We are always looking for innovative ways to offer consumers products that will make their everyday tasks more enjoyable," says Dawn’s Glenn Williams.

Dawn Simple Pleasures has been introduced in three scents-Water Lily & Jasmine, Apple & Pear and Lemon & Tangerine-and is part of P&G's restaging strategy for Dawn, which divides the brand's SKUs into a base, plus or premium tier. Simple Pleasures falls into the premium ranking.

Personal care

Avon launched its ANEW Clinical Spider Vein Therapy in an angular, shallow tube and cap that reinforce the "clinical" positioning of the product.

Created by World Wide Packaging (, the lean tube mimics the appearance of a medical device and is topped by a push/pull cap that is said to be one of the "most complex ever produced". The claim is bolstered by the fact that it took 14 different machine processes just to apply metal over the polyprophelyne cap.

The cap also features a flexible pintel, a closure mechanism, which squeezes back into the tube when the cap is closed and, once inside, expands to create an especially tight seal.

Consumer electronics

Each time one of Memorex’s Renew brand of electronics is purchased through the end of November, the company will make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation.

The new brand took a lifecycle approach to environmental product design and manufacturing and packaging processes, making choices to use partially recycled plastics, recycled cardboard and interior “egg carton” trays made from 100 percent recycled paper; restricting hazardous materials like mercury and lead; and including educational inserts for consumers.

“Our design decisions combined with the replanting of trees-each of which may remove more than one ton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in its lifetime-help offset the carbon footprint of the products," said Sergio Castillo, director of Imation Electronics’ [Memorex’s parent company] products division.