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Bite-size Case Study

Molton Brown: making a splash with bath and cosmetics design

Published on November 29, 2018 Originally recorded 2010   10 min
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Design can modify the consumers' perceptions of brands and help the consumers to notice the brands
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quicker and choose them more happily, in both the grocery and the drinks market. I want to turn to a higher interest category- luxury cosmetics. Skincare is an area of the market which is of high personal interest to many consumers. It's also an area of the market which is extremely crowded with lots and lots of competition from some extremely powerful organizations. Companies like Estée Lauder and L'Oreal dominate the market, and it can be extremely difficult for new skincare brands to break in. This is how Molton Brown looked when we started to work together in about 2000. Although the packaging was attractive enough, it's very understated; it falls into the trap of many skincare brands. We're trying to imply by saying nothing, that they're self-confident and that you can trust them. But, the problem for an unknown company, like Molton Brown, is that you just don't get noticed. You could argue that by varying their design layout on each of the different packs, they were fragmenting their brand awareness and making it even more difficult for people to ever start to associate one product as being from the same manufacturer as another.
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The first range they asked us to look at was what was called their color cosmetics. We felt that they'd exhibited a loss of confidence by the way that their brand was so fragmented in its presentation and so understated. We wanted to make them louder and prouder. This is the first of the redesigns that took place. It's a color cosmetic- it's an eye shadow, and it's contained in a small clamshell suspended between two sheets of acrylic inside a cardboard box. As you can see, the eye shadow looks like it's floating, particularly when it's backlit on a shelf. But, what we wanted to do was not just make the front face more beautiful by an elegant and restrained layout; we want it to be louder and prouder with the Molton Brown brand itself. So, we run the branding around the edge of the boxes in a brown strip. This laid the foundation for the approach for the design that's followed for subsequent years.
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Molton Brown: making a splash with bath and cosmetics design

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