What Can a Package Say, Really?

CPG Multinational, Fortune Global 500 Firm


The Mission: Develop a compelling framework for package innovation.

Our Approach: Explore lotion in everyday life — practically, emotionally, symbolically.


A multinational consumer products company (Fortune Global 500) wanted to develop a single package design that would build a brand experience shared by consumers across the globe.


Develop a compelling framework for global package innovation.

Our Outlook

vanityWe believe that at its best, design negotiates the sociocultural and interpersonal…even lotion bottles. By understanding the social and cultural frames of reference users will invoke, their reflections and their actions we were able to tackle the key design question: How do you evolve packaging for a leading global lotion brand that delivers the brand’s values every time the lotion is used?


What We Discovered

While brand values are a go-to frame of reference that design needs to deliver on, we discovered that in today’s world, objects entail a set of design expectations quite apart from brand requirements. In the US, for example, design is expected to align with contemporary trends, to be understood as an object of purposeful effort. As lotion moves through space, for example, it needs to fit aesthetically wherever it sits and contribute towards one’s own aesthetic expression.

cut-lotion-bottleCompare this “trend embedded” design sensibility in the US to Thailand, where thoughtful design was equally important but manifested differently.  There, a “socially wired” approach to design was favored, in line with interpersonal or societal values like generosity of spirit or how lotions are consumed, the meanings that emerged through practices, or the kinesthetic delights that lotion conjure (captured through ongoing diaries) provided an additional framework for elucidating and prioritizing design principles.

lotion-date-on-bottomTo be truly successful in communicating about a brand, whether it be on a local or global scale, we discovered that package design must be in conversation with users as cultural and social beings. Design solutions in the form of features might be convergent but for very different underlying reasons.lotion-in-fridge