The functional aspects of product delivery may dictate much of the package's shape. Having covered the package's function and how its shape lends itself to the products delivery, we now turn to the visual attributes of its shape. Some products, however, have no visual cues, perhaps owing to delivery function, and the need to visually represent the product's dual or multiple function. This can be done through shape in a number of ways. As noted earlier, Unilever's Dove Nutrium Moisturizer package (Fig. 2) has the advantage of dual chambers to convey its distinction. To allow simultaneous squeezing, however, the two bottles are attached to each other, joined on the flat panels. When the package is shelved in a store, the dual feature might not be noticed unless a consumer picked up or closely inspected the product, thus ascertaining that the bottle in front is only part of the package. Therefore the designer chose to slightly offset the alignment of the back bottle to accentuate the second part. The back bottle was produced in a different color to further contrast the function. Although the separate bottles are a functional necessity in this example, a package's contours can simulate the same image. A simple change to a normal flowing shape can suggest a dual function. Shapes such as a pinched-waist bottle or an hourglass can suggest dual chambers.
Package color can also relay messages to the consumer. Although subtle, color s plays an important part in visual recognition. Colors are more easily associated with certain brands than words or symbols. One can hardly argue the association of the primary color of red with Coca-Cola, or the color yellow with the golden arches |
of McDonald's. Even further, color has become a common tool used to differenti- £
ate the different flavors or choices within product types. Flavors themselves fre quently are identifiable by color. Lemon yellow, orange orange, green for lime, and purple for grape are all easily identified. Within the salsa category, it is almost universal that red indicates hot, yellow medium, and green mild. Another example is coffee—red or orange indicates regular coffee and green signals decaffeinated. It is interesting that red has been the brand identifier for both Folger's and Hills Brothers' coffee for decades. However, the classification of regular and decaf was stronger than the need for brand identification. And as such, the decaf flavor of both those brands forced green labeling. Shoppers have come to rely on color for product information and identity.
Multifunctional products frequently combine products that can be identified by color. A recent product introduction is Colgate 2in1, a combination toothpaste and mouthwash (Fig. 7). Mouthwash is most frequently blue or green and toothpaste is most frequently white. The package itself, as well as its labeling, are predominantly blue and white. Even the advertising shows a painter splashing a canvas with white toothpaste and blue mouthwash to create an abstract painting of the product. Deodorants and antiperspirants are almost always identified by the same colors. And as such the packaging conveys that combination in many cases.
Subtlety is rarely a tactic used in marketing. However, a case can be made
for the use of complex colors to express duality. Primary colors are exactly that, primary and singular. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue; all other colors are some combination of those. White is also seen as a noncomplex color, and sometimes black as well. A subtle message (maybe too subtle) of multiplicity is given by using colors such as green, purple, or orange. Pearlescents and translu-cents also give the impression of complexity. Car manufacturers recently adopted a range of colors that look different in different lighting conditions. This tactic can also be used in packaging.
The most straightforward method in the use of color would be in dual- or multicompartment packages. The individual chambers should be manufactured in separate contrasting colors. If the individual compartments are manufactured as a single unit, then a clear or frosted package should be used with contrasting colors of the product itself. As always, the package should speak for the product and should be as informative and provocative as possible.
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