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The Thoughtful Design Behind XO Flo Menstrual Cup

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 06/07/2017 | 4 Minute Read

“The stigma surrounding menstrual cups is that they're difficult and messy to use, and sometimes the natural conclusion is to compensate for that fact by designing packaging that's overtly minimal, girly, or just plain sterile,” mentioned Murmur Creative on their work for XO Flo. And the result is unlike any other feminine hygiene product we’ve ever seen, ditching the hyper girly pink packaging or barebones minimal aesthetic. We spoke with Murmur Creative to learn more about the clear goals they set for this project, their production challenges, how brands can stand out in saturated markets, and more.

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

Murmur Creative: Murmur Creative had been working with Tracy Puhl and Meagan Brockway of Lady Business on the GladRags rebrand and packaging redesign, so we already had a trusting relationship and a solid understanding of their vision to bring menstruation to the forefront in a bold way.

Branding very much informed the direction the packaging took. We loved the romantic quality of the name XO Flo, and also the tulip inspiration behind the structural design of the cup itself. We showed the team a broad range of concepts, but a hand offering a flower was the ultimate natural meshing of the two ideas. It also perfectly captures the mission of XO Flo as a company: to offer women a helping hand along their sustainable menstrual journey, and to rewrite the popular understanding of menstruation as a gift rather than a curse.

With the box size and substrate as our only constraint, we began the packaging development by exploring floral and valentine motifs and well as directions that showcased more literal interpretations of menstruation like swatches of watercolor and ink. Those literal representations really struck home for XO Flo. The marbled look in particular had this, frankly, ‘bloody’ quality, but was also in the realm of classical stationery.

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

Murmur Creative: The menstrual cup market is expanding at a lightning fast pace, and there are already well designed packaging examples out there. The ultimate goal was to produce something that felt sophisticated but simultaneously not alienating. XO Flo is a product that feels at home in a showcase of high-end cosmetics and the box, despite being constructed of cost-effective recycled board, has the quality of something you don't want to throw away.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Murmur Creative: Surprisingly, production. Even though the menstrual cup market is saturated, the demand is still high! XO Flo was already receiving pre-orders while the cup itself was in the manufacturing phase so timing of the packaging production was critical. Luckily for us, GladRags (who sells XO Flo online) ships their products unpackaged in a conscientious effort to reduce waste, so it was just a waiting game to see the beautiful boxes on physical store shelves.

How did you design the packaging to make this menstrual cup stand out from other ones on the market?

Murmur Creative: We wanted to completely steer clear of the pharmaceutical aesthetic of not just menstrual cup packaging, but feminine hygiene packaging on the whole. The stigma surrounding menstrual cups is that they're difficult and messy to use, and sometimes the natural conclusion is to compensate for that fact by designing packaging that's overtly minimal, girly, or just plain sterile. We wanted this packaging to feel thoughtful, upbeat, and unique by comparison. 

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?

Murmur Creative: We had been designing with metallic ink in mind, but we're so glad the client elected to go with a heat foil instead. The mirror-like impact of the gold foil adds that special, precious quality that establishes this menstrual cup as something to pay attention to. Bloggers and YouTubers reviewing the new cup have consistently mentioned the packaging and branding looking like nothing they had ever seen before, and we know the metallic foil has a big role to play in that.

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

Murmur Creative: Working with clients that are proud of what they do and brave in their design choices is really rewarding.

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