Mehmet Gözetlik of Istanbul, Turkey, is Executive Art Director and Co-Founder of Antrepo, a multidisciplinary design collective. His exploration in minimalist packaging has been receiving some attention lately.
At first, his objective was to see what effect it would have to gradually remove all elements from the packaging design of global brands except for the logo. A couple of months later Gözetlik revisited the idea by taking it a step further and replacing the logo using a single font, Helvetica Neue Bold.
Gözetlik notes that these explorations are not proposals for new packaging design, but rather an analysis of unnecessary elements present in the current solutions. This project does not aim to reach conclusions, so I assume its purpose is to spark some debate.
Here are my thoughts:
A cookie-cutter solution for packaging design is unrealistic and I’m willing to bet that sales figures will reflect this. At the very core lies a relationship between just two parties, the seller and the buyer. The role of packaging design is communication. The best design solution is one which fulfills the role of clearly conveying the necessary information about the product from the seller to the buyer. Any element of the design aiding this communication is adding value, and should therefore stay. On the other hand, anything compromising the clarity of information is a liability to the brand and should be removed.
By reducing graphic design to the bare minimum, this experiment really highlights how heavily communication relies on other properties of packaging such as size, shape, material and colour. The fourth level of simplification is sufficient only in cases where information is successfully conveyed by a combination of type and the physical properties of the container without sacrificing brand recognition.
Examples where the fourth level could work are Tabasco, Evian and Duracell. In other cases I would argue that going beyond even the second level of simplification compromises clear communication, for example M&M’s and Smint.
In conclusion, I think this is a fantastic mental exercise to go through in every design task, finding that threshold between clutter and obscurity.
See the evolution from current packaging (left) to minimal solution (right) for a few of the brands: