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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Enhance Breakthrough Creativity by Getting Surreal

By: Ronald Voigt

April Fool’s Day pranks are a fun way to annually inject surrealism into our lives. I think we should do this more!

We are frequently surprised by what is happening in our world, things that once seemed impossible or unbelievable:

  • A person can receive a heart transplant and then stand in for its original owner at a wedding.
  • 10x thinking took over San Francisco years ago and continues to trickle down.
  • Fortunes can be amassed (and lost) in mere days, not over lifetimes.
  • Even children can print objects in 3D, literally forming things from “dust.”

Perhaps these occurrences are increasing in frequency? Surrealism seems to be bleeding deeper into our reality, swelling into a zeitgeist, and we’ve even seen it in packaging that superimposes conflicting scales.

Simply defined, surrealism strives to reconcile our dreams with reality. Resolving such polarities is quite an ambitious mission, no? Well, therein lies its power, as Carl Jung wrote: “The greater the contrast, the greater the potential. Great energy only comes from a correspondingly great tension of opposites.”

One of my favorite quotes on this topic (though you’ll see lots of quotes in this article) is from Christopher Reeve: “At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable.

Surrealism is not only pertinent for artists, though. Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch is a proponent of this thinking too asking employees to “reach for more than you think is possible” in the form of stretch goals that basically “use dreams to set business targets, with no real idea of how to get there.”

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Surrealism is not only a fun idea, it’s necessary.

It is necessary because innovation depends on it, and innovation has been stagnant. According to Robert J. Gordon, of Princeton, “With a few notable exceptions, the pace of innovation since 1970 has not been as broad or as deep as that spurred by the inventions of the special century [1870-1970]” (see his book and his TED talk).

I have found that surrealism is a way to outsmart stagnation. It is necessary to dream beyond our reality, as Elizabeth Gilbert exhorts us in Big Magic: “We simply don’t have time anymore to think so small.”

The practice of surreal thinking is required in order to attain breakthroughs of any kind. Whether via social evolution (MLK’s “I Have a Dream”) or transportation innovation (Ford’s answer to “faster horses”) or other leaps forward, we cannot achieve revolutions without dreaming of a future very different than our current reality.

For packaging design, here are some surrealism-provoking questions:

  • What if it didn’t take 6 months to see new designs on shelf? What if it took 30 days?
  • What if I could snap a photo of something in nature or while traveling that inspires me and find corresponding paint and ink colors for my design in that exact color, right from my phone?
  • What if we could virtualize the final 3D form of a new product without having to go through an expensive mock-up process?
  • What if we could see how a new design would look in many contexts on the retail shelf, the digital shelf, the pantry shelf, and in my hand before it was ever printed?
  • What if we could test new product concepts with photo-realistic packaging imagery through online consumer research panels to understand if we have a winner before we even create a prototype or comp?

What could an invasion of surrealism look like for you? For your work? How can we encourage ourselves and our teams to plunge into surreal thinking in order to bubble up truly innovative solutions?

I recommend we:

  • Get to know the surrealists.
  • Think unreasonably, unrealistically. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
  • Get comfortable role playing or straight up acting, since putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, pretending to become someone else is literally the embodiment of surrealism.
  • Get over being surprised. Start asking questions instead of persisting in disbelief when someone brings you a new idea.

As Victor Hugo penned, “Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.” How much time to do you spend dreaming? (Probably not enough.)

(Footnote: For inspiration for your 2018 April Fool’s Day surreal antics, here is a great list of all-time best pranks.)

Check out the surreal packaging designs featured in this article for more inspiration: Corphes brand, Grut, Cern-Terminus, Tropical Brew, and Fantastique.


Ronald Voigt
Ronald Voigt has been President of X-Rite Pantone since 2013. Previously, Ron led Commercial and Services Operations at Tektronix and was President, Industrial Automation at Kollmorgen (both Danaher companies). Before Danaher, Ron held several leadership positions at Delphi including a European based assignment in Paris and an executive residency at NUMMI, where he immersed himself in the methodologies and practices of the Toyota Production System. Ron earned an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University. Ron and his wife Rebecca reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan with their 3 cats, 2 children and 1 dog.

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Two22 Is Customized Just For Your Specific Needs

Futura designed the packaging for Two22, a high-end customized skin care line. The design reflects the unique and high-quality nature of the product, while silver foiling elevates the product to reflect its luxurious quality.

“Two22 is an organic serum line for customized skin care, the system relies on two stages: the first stage is a diagnosis through a genetic test by sending a buccal swab sample over mail, which is analyzed and delivered to the client with specific recommendations according to each skin type. The second one involves choosing a biological serum to fight against symptoms faced by each client. Every face serum avoids any synthetic substance nor animal testing.”

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“We chose to develop an identity that could acquire the qualities of the product, highlighting personalized skin care treatment through genetic data based on laboratory tests and its concern about welfare and the environment.

Two22, a brand that uses the benefits of organic ingredients and backs them up with scientific knowledge.”


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Designed By: Futura

Location: Mexico

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This Cooking Kit Has Beautiful Botanical Illustrations

Candid Brands designed the packaging for Nativo, a botanical-inspired gastronomy kit which includes a variety of spices for cooking. Beautiful scientific illustrations adorn the box that keeps all the elements together, reinforcing the natural quality of the included products.

“This project was inspired by Charles Darwin and his scientific theory of natural selection. 
We pay tribute to the Mexican Creole hairless pig and The Yucatan gastronomy. The unique mixture of spices, wild plants and the peculiar taste that cooking in a Mayan underground oven gives. A native product.”


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Designed By: Candid Brands

Client: Nativo

Location: México

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Metrin’s Beautiful Minimalistic Skincare Packaging

Alphabet designed this beautiful minimalistic packaging for skincare brand Metrin.

“Originating in 1932, METRIN® is a trusted range of skincare products that have been formulated to cleanse, nourish and protect the skin for over 80 years. METRIN® uses the finest herbal and botanical extracts and stimulates a natural response from deep within your skin to produce the healthy, translucent complexion. We were asked to implement a brand refresh that modernised the brand, making it fit seamlessly into lives of today’s generation without losing it’s much-trusted heritage.” 

“We kept the original METRIN® colour scheme of white, black and gold but applied it in a more subtle way, using key line strokes and a modern sans-serif headline font. We added a secondary texture palette that focused on raw materials; Marble, Plywood, and Dark Concrete, linking the natural ingredients with earthy, raw tones. 

The METRIN® range of products works as a step-by-step process, using separate bottled products for the different stages of the regime. We updated the existing packaging by creating a custom set of stenciled numerals which balanced the traditional aspects of the logo with a much more modern look and feel which the new brand was aiming to achieve.” 
 

“The formula for the products differs slightly for male and female, so we wanted to show this in a subtle yet clear way. We used gold, marble and white textures for the female packaging and photography, and darker tones for the male. This helped create consistency across both sets of products, whilst making the divide clear enough to see when purchasing online.” 

 


Designed By: Alphabet

Location: Manchester, UK

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Summerhill Market’s Fresh Contemporary Branding

Blok Design created the branding and packaging for Summerhill Market, a new unique grocery store. The overall design embodies a fresh and contemporary approach that allows the typography to stand out.

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“An acknowledged game-changer in the grocery business, family-owned Summerhill Market is renowned for the superlative quality of its prepared foods and unique products. A new identity was needed to reflect its progressive spirit while retaining the personable quality that had made the shop a cherished food destination. Along with the logo, we re-designed Summerhill’s entire packaging system, including developing several of its in-house product lines. A monogram honours the store’s heritage while the line ‘Your Other Kitchen’ reinforces its role in customer’s lives.”


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Designed By: Blok Design
Location: Canada

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We Love The Retro Inspired Branding For This Ice Cream Shop

Anagrama designed the delightful retro-inspired branding and packaging for Winter Milk, a new ice cream shop.

“Winter Milk is an ice cream shop characterized by its wide variety of fresh lactose based products, hand crafted with one hundred percent natural ingredients. Ice cream cones, popsicles, milk shakes, frappes, and desserts stand out from their menu. Currently, Winter Milk owns 16 locations. The concept for this shop suggests an atmosphere and experience suitable for enjoying and sharing an ice cream the traditional way with family and friends.”

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“The graphic identity centers on employing different typographies acknowledging the graphical hand-made labeling and signs at cafeterias from the 60’s.”


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“The result comprises a compendium of custom made logos for the brand collateral and store interiors. The color palette reflects a combination of warm oranges and fresh blues. The orange gradation references the emblematic traditional color of the Dutch monarchy while the blues resemble the winter and cold climates. The interior design and tones are inspired by Wes Anderson’s style.”

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Designed By: Anagrama

Location: Mexico

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Cheers to Victory and Good Beer with Céltorony

Victory is good, but beer is better. These beer bottles were cleverly designed by kissmiklos to incorporate a play on words. It also draws inspiration from the location of the pub, and each brew has its own unique look.


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“Céltorony means the spot where people usually watch winners entering the finish line in water contests. This gave the basic idea for the logo. Céltorony is a cool grill and BBQ food pub lays in the very base of Népsziget next to the Danube river, intertwined with the kayaking club. That’s why I designed small kayakers on the craft beer labels.”

 


Designed by: kissmiklos

Art director: kissmiklos

Photographer: Eszter Sarah

Country: Hungary

City: Budapest

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The Brief 4/25/17: Design News You Might Have Missed

Here’s the latest:

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10 Condom Packages We Love

When you think of packaging design, condoms are probably not the first products to come to mind, but as with all consumer goods they need design love too. Here are 10 of our favorite condom packaging designs.


1. Love Guide Condoms

 

2. HYPNOTIC CONDOMS

 

3. Confortex Condoms

 

4. DUO Condoms

 

5. “OTHEOS” CONDOMS

 

6. Enjoy Our Nature Condoms

 

7. Concept: BANG

 

8. Sir Richards Condom Company

 

9. Good Knight Condoms

 

10. Rubb Condom

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Creative Networking Tips for Designers

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When the topic of networking comes up, it’s enough to make even the most outgoing, talkative person cringe. All too often, it can feel gross, inauthentic, or just totally awkward, even though it’s such an important part of any job. But with The Dieline Conference at HOW Design Live coming up soon, we’ve rounded up a couple creative ways you can network that don’t involve elevator pitches or swanky business cards.

Conference Selectively

The biggest mistake you can make is attending any old conference you find online. Not all are created equal—and even if they were, attending every single one that comes your way would only result in burnout. You’ll get far more from attending two conferences in a year that you can truly dedicate yourself to rather than ten that spread you thin.

Dorie Clark mentioned in Harvard Business Review, “The best conference experiences don’t happen by accident; you make them great with planning and effort.” Select conferences based on where you’re at in your career, what speakers inspire you, and which ones work into your schedule. Lay out a plan for each and every conference and what you hope to gain from it so that you attend to truly accomplish goals for your career.

Use Social Media

Whether we’ll see you at The Dieline Conference or not, it shouldn’t stop you from hopping on Instagram or Twitter to connect with others who are. Take a look and see who’s speaking (Ximena O’Reilly, Brian Collins, and Tosh Hall—just to name a few) and follow them on your favorite social media platforms. Keep up with hashtags (#HOWLive) during events like this to get organic conversations going with people you admire and might hope to work with or for one day. You could even put a private Twitter list to good use, making it easy to access to these people and can warm up your relationship with them—so when an opportunity does come up in the future, they’ll feel more confident working with you since they’ll feel like they already know you.

Alex Golick, CEO of Intensify, a Los Angeles advertising agency also highly recommends personalizing your outreach, too, with eye-catching comments. “There is no point in leaving generic comments, like ‘Great Post!’ on Instagram. There are many bots making similar comments and it will not garner any attention,” he mentioned.

Additionally, Golick suggests designers set themselves apart from competitors by offering something that benefits prospective clients. For example, “if you work with primarily spirits companies, generate a well-designed creative about the state of the spirits industry and then offer it to companies for free for them to use on their website or in their next blog or social media post,” he advised. “Direct message spirits companies and comment on their posts about your offer. You’ll be shocked at how many people want to do you a favor in return. In addition, this will jumpstart your relationship with prospective customers resulting in a targeted, engaged community.”

Volunteer

Donating your time and skills to organizations you believe in will instantly get you connected with others who share the same passion. Not only do you get to give back to the community, but you can also get your name out there to people who will see your designs in action and can vouch for your work ethic, too.

Matt Manos of verynice has seen how volunteering can be the best form of networking, operating his agency on a give-half model. “Many of the organizations we work with are so small that their entire staff is volunteer. This means that they have a full-time day job elsewhere. As a result, after we do a great job for them, many of these individuals refer business for us at their primary place of work,” he mentioned.

Manos added, “On the flip side, many of the large non-profit organizations that we work with have incredibly accomplished people on their board. Working with these organizations has allowed us to get our foot in the door at many large companies that would otherwise be very difficult to reach.”

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Start a Side Project

If you want to get direct access to other amazing designers and agencies, then consider starting your own project and collaborate with others on it. Networking so often can feel like you’re treating yourself as a walking, talking billboard. However, curating a design blog or having guests on a podcast gives you the chance to connect on a common topic that generates interest and enthusiasm in your work, naturally.

“Ironically, I started Design Matters when I felt like I was in a bit of a creative slump. All of my work at the time had veered to the commercial and I felt my creative spirit was dying. I thought the opportunity to create a little internet radio show with Voice America, if nothing more, could be a fun, creative experience,” Debbie Millman, founder and host of the well-known design podcast explained. “I decided that interviewing designers who I revered would be an inventive way to ask my heroes everything I wanted to know about them.” Not only was Millman able to ask some of the greatest designers in the world questions about how they became who they are, but she broadcast the work and shared it freely with others. Now, twelve years and 300 guests later, she confessed it’s probably the biggest and most important thing she’s known for, highlighting not only the industry but also how creative people design their lives.

It ended up profoundly changing my life. For anyone out there that is looking for their creative spark to come back, start now. Now’s the time to make the things you’ve always said you wanted to make. Create your own self-generated work with the work you can’t create for your clients. You never know where it is going to take you.”


Networking isn’t just about selling yourself—it’s a give and take. These tips are definitely effective ways to reach out to others, but to reap any benefits from your networking efforts, you’ll actually have to show genuine interest in what other people are doing, too. Find designers, agencies, brands, businesses, and other creatives who inspire you to get honest conversations going. By doing so, you won’t come off as desperate for the next big opportunity, but instead as a sincere and honest person who will make a memorable impression.

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