Crossing Boundaries

* 3 min read

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Boundaries usually divide things; a boundary is a ‘line which marks the limits of an area’. It sounds restrictive. But to cross a boundary is to go into uncharted territory, to meet new and exciting things that aren’t part of your everyday experience. For brand and packaging design this is a tantalising opportunity - colliding with something else is when the innovation sparks fly. So which boundaries are we experimenting with now?

Colliding pack formats

Packaging design can play a powerful role in bringing a brand experience to life. Jagermeister tackled the problem of consumers drinking the spirit at room temperature, by transferring the format and visual equities of a cool pack to the brand. The packaging, with its icy cues, communicates in an instant how to keep and drink it. The packaging becomes the message: a literally cool design.

Vintage wine, CUVeE XR, borrows the natural aging properties of copper to dramatise the brand idea: ‘true greatness comes with age’. The gradual oxidation of special copper jackets overconventional glass makes the wine’s maturing process inside the bottle, visible on the outside. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, each and every bottle shows and tells a different story. A wine conoisseur’s dream.

And even the traditional metal can, virtually unchanged since the 1800’s, has been reimagined by Sonoco as a clear ‘TruVue’ container. All the benefits of a glass jar, but with the convenience of a can.

Colliding on and offline experience in the retail space

There is an exciting shift in retail stores at the moment to an intense focus on the user experience. From the sharing of social media to the sociability of the retail environment, brands are now creating a seamless online/offline experience for consumers.

Fashion brand Missguided is a good example with its debut ‘on Air’ store concept – a live experiential version of its on-line offer. It’s where snapchat meets interactive physical experience: a TV studio-inspired live stream of co-created content, creativity and constantly changing spaces. Empowering, bold and ‘Instaglamable’ with ‘jaw-to-the -floor’ shareable moments. 

Also breaking the rules of conventional high street retail is German brand, Kochaus, who have turned food shopping on its head. Instead of grouping foods by type they are grouped, as in a cookery magazine, by recipe. Each table explores a recipe with ingredients, method, information on quantity and cost per person. From a palak peneer to passion fruit crème, it’s all there. Recipes change every few weeks with choices across all meal types. Dinner tonight? Sorted.

Colliding design technology with nature

Biomimicry is perhaps the most exciting source of inspiration for clever sustainable invention. What can we learn from the way in which nature solves a problem? The strength, flexibility and lightness of spider’s silk has inspired the design of Adidas’ new Futurecraft trainers. So, sport collides with nature. Made from Biosteel® fibres, which use the same proteins spiders use to make their silk, the new uppers are ultra-strong, lightweight and breathable. This is a pioneering performance design and a breakthrough in sustainability. Add an enzyme, and the fabric is also 100% biodegradable in 36 hours.

At its best experimenting at boundaries in design can change what we know, think and feel about a brand. It can alter the way we interact with them; indeed when the sparks of design innovation change the status quo for the better, it makes it hard to understand how we put up with the old way.

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Image(s) sources: Jagermeister, Ageing Wines (CUVEeE XR), Sonoco Tru Vue, Missguided, Kochaus and Adidas Futurecraft.