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Designers Share their Favorite Packaging & Branding Projects from 2017

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 02/01/2018 | 6 Minute Read

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Every year on The Dieline, we share our top packaging posts and design articles from the previous 365 days. And this year, we decided to turn the tables and ask designers from around the world to pick their favorite design of 2017. From well-executed rebrands from well-loved companies to stunning new work from brands we can’t wait to get our hands on (not to mention a hilarious knock-off of junk food packaging), these are some of the most memorable designs from 2017, according to designers.

Leland Maschmeyer, Chief Creative Officer, Chobani

My favorite design of 2017 is Prongles. It was created by the team at Cards Against Humanity, which is famous for its dark humor.

Prongles is a wonderful example of design as comedy. It subverts the norms of junk food packaging. Overly exuberant cartoon mascot. “Extreme” sport themes. Tagline that says nothing. Pop/sugary colors. Irrelevant product sparkles. Noisey background gradients. Repetition of diagonals.

It’s awesome.

Isabela Rodrigues, Creative Direct, Sweety & Co

Intermission. The feminine and handmade look of this project that comes to me strongly in the memory of the projects I've seen in 2017, because it translates the simplicity and strength of the handwriting in delicate and memorable packaging."

Daniela Garza, Creative Partner, Anagrama

I totally love Chobani's rebrand work. As a whole, it's a perfect project in my opinion.

The wordmark revives a smooth, fresh and delicious look. The packaging illustrations challenge the traditional aesthetic of its industry.

The photograph treatment looks like a piece of cinema art. The editorial layouts are placed in a classic and romantic way. Also…big fan of greek yogurt, so… I'm totally in love with this project.

The entire solution looks clever, friendly and evokes freshness.

Simon Forster, Founder & Executive Creative Director, Robot Food

My favourite packaging project of 2017 has to be the Schweppes rebrand by fellow northern studio, Kenyon Weston alongside the in-house design team at Coca-Cola.

It was a much-needed and radical shift to keep pace with the rise of independent premium mixers. I love the new ‘skittle’ shape that harks back to the original bottle and the confident take on the sweeping brand mark and supporting elements such as the embossed fountain. The rich brand world they designed is crafted and considered, adding depth to show the brand as a true icon. This is a great lesson in how to promote heritage in a contemporary way by minimising and amplifying.

The design was matched by a flawless integrated launch campaign and perceptions have been raised far beyond the boundaries of the previous brand—it feels much more premium.

This project would have been an exciting but challenging brief, and the outcome feels like genuine game-changing design.

Hamish Campbell, Creative Director, Pearlfisher

One of the stand out designs I saw in 2017 came from Auge Design for Mutti to celebrate the brand’s selection by FICO Eataly World as the only ambassador for tomato products. I think the design is great because it took an everyday staple and infused it with desire, celebrating and honoring the brand. From the simplicity of the pattern to the replacement of the unnecessary photography, the layers of crafted Italian tradition and elevated color palette, the design is modern, iconic, and infused with history. The design is regal without taking itself too seriously. This is a brand I might have overlooked before but now I would notice, pick up, and keep.

I especially loved the design when I saw how much of a departure it was from the brand’s standard aesthetic and how disruptive it is for the category. My only wish is that this would be a full rebrand rather than just a limited-edition. It takes a brave and bold client to move forward with a design like this, but limited-editions can give you the freedom to try something new with less risk. Hopefully, they (and other brands) will see the success of designing without fear, which can lead to ground-breaking work.

Laurie Pressman, VP Pantone Color Institute

Robot Food’s created concept packaging for Wayward Wines that brings together color and pattern to communicate the flavor, body and aroma of the wine inside the bottle. Painterly splashes of deep vermilions, yellows, and greens reflecting the spirits within instantly grab attention and invite engagement. Consumers are encouraged to make selections based on color preference, making the process intuitive rather than based on previous knowledge.

I admired this undertaking because, while brands from food to fragrance have been increasingly taking innovative and imaginative approaches to packaging, the majority of winemakers continue to present their offerings just as they have for years—focusing on heritage and authenticity as marks of quality and provenance, with text and elegant graphic design underscoring brand position. Desiring to broaden their reach to wine drinkers of all ages and sophistication levels, Robot Foods uses color effectively to creatively disrupt industry norms and challenge typical category cues.

Cong Huynh, Designer, Rice Creative

LOT2046 is a subscription-based service that distributes basic clothing, accessories and self-care products. The brand and products itself is in a lot of ways anti-branding: they are inherently dispensable, superfluous, and meant not to last. The packaging and naming co-opt the very nature of today’s fast-fashion industrial complex as its visual language (automated date-coding tools, etc…) and market itself to align with today’s consumers norm-core tendencies. The result is a familiar, yet concurrently cryptic clandestine packaging that is fresh and is reflective of today’s culture.

Pum Lefebure, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Design Army

There’s a lot of beauty packaging out there—just walk into a Sephora store and you can see everything that exists, but there’s very little in the way of design that “jumps” off the shelf or is truly memorable. Fenty stands out, from the simple nude color of their packaging, to the octagonal shape, to functional capabilities like the magnetic foundation sticks. The brandmark—the fused “F” and “B,” and the backwards “N” in the wordmark have the same simplicity as the packaging—together the packaging and identity are simple and strong. From another perspective, culturally, the brand is changing beauty with the inclusion of a large line of color choices to match every skin tone—from the lightest to the darkest. Fenty is really shaking things up in design and the beauty industry.

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