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Pointless Packaging, Pointless Products: Tessa's Take

Tessa Stuart

Drinks Aisle

There is an awful lot of pointless packaging around. By which I mean what I call the "stylised leaves" kind of pack design. The kind that looks blandly "nice", like stuff you've seen a lot of times before. It doesn't offend. But nor does it catch your eye. It's well behaved. The client and the designer probably went through long agonised discussions over it, to create something broadly similar to lots of other packaging. It doesn't say anything much.  

There are some pointless products out there in pointless packaging. Drinks is a category that many folk think they can enter and make a killing. Water's cheap to produce, right? Sprinkle in some vitamins and market the health benefits. Hey presto. A premium product and a nice margin.

Except that, like designers, every new little bottled water company thinks the same. Which is why the  bottled water  market is "a category of an explosion of choices, but choices marked by differences that are meaningless to many of us". (YoungMe Moon, study of the US bottled water market, in her book: Different, Escaping the Competitive Herd)

Richard Reed of innocent drinks set out to make a product that he and his co-founders wanted for themselves. He says: "What itch are you scratching for your customer?" Theirs was one portion of pressed fruit in a handy little bottle. No mess, no sticky hands from fruit, no blender to wash up. And one of your five a day.

So, what's the itch you are scratching? What's the need you are meeting? Are you another pointless product in pointless packaging?