Old and New in Packaging and Design written 9 years ago

Tizer logo

I spied the other day that my local Tesco had changed the design of the label on their milk cartons. They hadn’t really added any new information, or taken anything away, they had just changed it.

Milk Bottle redesign
Tesco Milk bottle label design - new above old. The only difference appears to be the addition of a cow.

The only appreciable difference I could spot was an icon of a cow, presumably to inform customers without a strong grasp of british norms that this was indeed bovine milk. Being drawn further into this I found that many products a couple years old, when positioned next to their younger siblings looked older and dated: but with no real changes made to the design or logo of a product.

Old new Tizer can
A can of Tizer, apparently on sale ‘new’ in a shop. Looks a bit ancient though?

I found some old Schwartz Paprika the other day and in comparison to a freshly bought bottle, there had been a very subtle makeover. Solid colours had been replaced by gentle gradients, I think there was even the hint of a drop shadow.

What I don’t understand is how are these makeovers pitched to senior staff? I can’t see “I think we should spend 50,000 developing a new bottle design that is subtley different to our current one, but still essentially the same” going down well in any boardroom. There’s a strong argument for keeping a design the same (brand recognition), so why not just keep it the same?

This seems sensible until you stumble across the can of Tizer pictured left. It looks like it’s fresh from the 80s, and makes you wonder if the contents are indeed still suitable for human consumption. (Some googling reveals this is actually Tizer’s latest design. Also a reasonable amount of proof that what I’m spouting here is a load of cobblers and companies will do whatever they want.)

A peculiar phenomenon then. The slow evolution of product design that seems to change for no other reason other than to stay modern. Let us revere the ancient Pepsi can we find floating in a stream!

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