Own Your Space on the Shelf

When devising a package design strategy, truly owning a single brand color is one of the loftiest goals for CPG brands. On the surface, this seems to be the easiest way to create a brand block at shelf and stand out against the competition. But, employing a single color approach is not without its challenges. Introducing new product extensions and making clearly differentiated variants within a complex offering easier to navigate at shelf are more difficult with this strategy.

By adopting a multi-color palette, brands are able to solve a lot of these issues but are faced with a new challenge: creating a unified look. Elements such as design layout, logo, graphic devices, 3D structure and a brand character or mascot can influence how a brand performs at shelf. Brands like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Pringles and Swiffer have used these tools, among others, to ensure their brand’s success in store.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day home and body products come in consistent 3D forms. The logo, layout and product color are consistent across product scents. The brand utilizes an illustration of a white line-drawn female character doing tasks relevant to product use (i.e., washing dishes for dish soap or doing laundry for laundry detergent). Though her activity may change, there is consistency of style that provides brand unification. In this case, the label color (or secondary color) is used to differentiate scent: forest green for basil, lime green for lemon verbena, purple for lavender and so on. Mrs. Meyer’s capitalizes on brand unifiers, other than color, in order to facilitate connection across its product offerings.

In an aisle filled with bags, Pringles stands out as the only potato chip brand with a unique, cylindrical package. That, combined with it’s simple architecture and consistent logo, creates a distinctive block at shelf so that all variants still read as “Pringles.” The Pringles iconic logo and the familiar thick mustached face with the crimson bowtie, allows the brand to explore different and often flamboyant colors for it’s various flavor offerings: green for jalapeño, ochre for honey mustard and white for cheeseburger, for example. These consistent unifiers allow for a bit of flexibility with regard to flavor imagery on pack without losing the brand identity at shelf.

The recently redesigned Swiffer underwent a 360- degree update including everything from the logo to the package design and structure. The new look aims to create a balance between the brand’s personality and performance. Swiffer has made the shopping experience easier by using color to separate the various offerings into clear segments for the consumer. The Swiffer brand is segmented into three distinct pillars: sweeping, mopping and dusting.

In the new line-up, the Swiffer sweeping pillar, which includes a few product offerings, features the brand’s iconic green as the primary pack color. Each variant adopts a secondary color, lime green, forest green and cerulean blue respectively, for easy product differentiation at shelf. The dusting pillar has adopted a vibrant yellow color scheme and the mopping pillar, a layering of rich purples and violets. While the color combinations may vary between pillars, Swiffer provides unity via its re-designed logo and type, revised 3D form and consistent architecture, making the brand recognizable in store.

Ultimately, it’s important for a brand to have a clear sense of how it wants to be perceived and an understanding of all of its available assets. If you are a brand like Pringles with an iconic mascot and logo, use it to your advantage. If your product has a complex set of offerings, using a multi-color palette can be an effective approach to ensuring brand success at shelf. Whatever you choose, be sure to capitalize on the ways in which design unifiers and differentiators can help your brand stand out in the ever-expanding marketplace and own your space on the shelf.