How SML Milk Used Clothing Sizes for this Inventive Design Concept

How do you take a recognizable symbol and use it for something entirely different? That’s exactly what Public Group did with their milk concept that utilizes clothing sizes small, medium, and large. We spoke with Public Group about taking this idea and translating into a different market, creating a tactile experience, bringing a symbol to life, and more.

How did you get the idea to take an element that is normally used for clothing and using it for a beverage?

Public Group: The project was created for the International Forum “Dairy Belarus.” We wanted to invent an easy and understandable way to divide milk by fat level because this factor plays an important role for consumers. Usually designers use colors to show a difference in fat level, but we aimed to create something clear and obvious at a glance.

We were looking for a recognizable metaphor and thinking of what else is distinguished by size. Logically, human clothes came to mind. If you think about it, fat level is also kind of a “size” for milk. 

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Walk us through the design process that you went through for this concept.

Public Group: We started visualization of the concept from looking into analogues at the market. It was obvious from the name of the brand that our work would be concentrated more on typography than on picture. We decided to emphasize letters SML which became the central element of our design. But we didn’t want to use visual elements associated with clothing. That is why we avoided labels and other things connected with clothes.

We picked the easiest shape of a circle and put it in the center as a target. The rest of the graphics came from this element. We prepared different variations with the usage of circles (colorful, different quantity and size). Circle pattern goes from the main circle as lines of water go from a drop. Circles differ in size according to a fat level. Besides, we chose this approach because of partially sighted people who can now easily define fat level by touch.

We also came up with a color differentiation for more evident division. We analyzed already existing milk packages and picked a color for every category of fat level that is already presented on the store shelves and which is recognized by a customer. We eliminated other colors from design to bring maximum attention to the letters. That is how we got to this simple and minimalistic design with a clearly expressed idea.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with SML Milk packaging and how did you accomplish it?

Public Group: Our main goal was to show conservative milk producers in Belarus that creative approach to the package design is possible. Moreover, there is a need to do it.  

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Public Group: We’ve been challenged by two things: to create and bring to life an understandable symbol. It was necessary not to overthink the meanings and find an easy solution instead.

Clothes sizes are connected with overweightness problem, and it was also important for us to carefully avoid this association.


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If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Public Group: Thanks to the embossing elements, the package is tactile even when you simply look at it.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Public Group: You shouldn’t be afraid to do something even if there is a possibility that not everybody is going to like the results.

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