Trends in Action

The designers at the U.K.’s Tin Horse Design Limited have been involved in two global projects that exemplify the complex issues currently involved in developing packaging design for today’s personal care market.


Beauty, without apology, exists between myth and reality. In development, the concept was referred to as ‘Enigma’—an intentional play on the elusiveness of beauty—and the sculptural expression explores notions of belief, myth and faith in physical form and structure.

Cool, white-softened geometry is interrupted only by the presence of a pool of color that is immersed in the surface of the pack. The pool’s colored, high-gloss, transparent and reflective surface is in stark contrast to the silky, soft feel of the pack’s skin. The contrasting surfaces are designed to invite sensual touch and discovery. The pebloid form, which narrows toward the base, achieves a delicate balance and poise, an expression of both the fragility and the wonder of beauty, as well as retaining the heritage of the brand’s visual identity.

As to be expected of such a well-established brand, the path to launch was complicated and highly charged by emotive debates about the best way forward, with each global region having its own idiosyncrasies and demands regarding the final pack solution. The design, however, has been proven through rigorous qualitative and quantitative global research, and has the potential to be a motivating and appealing new canvas for the brand in the 21st century.


Tin Horse created necessary branded structural packaging for Clearasil. Elegant shapes are intersected by a dynamic asymmetric colored arc, providing an integral structural brand element, simultaneously echoing the graphic swoosh and articulating the core efficacy values of the brand. The color-coded lids provide a useful device for range differentiation.

Initially, the task to unify and update a sadly neglected and disparate portfolio of structural packaging seemed overwhelming for designers and the client. But discovering a visual device that really connected with the target users early in the development process gave the designers the opportunity to refine a comprehensive range of packs, including tubes, bottles, pumps and pad jars.

Each pack delivers the brand vision whilst also adhering to tough global distribution, manufacturing and commercial constraints. Global harmonization projects are never easy, but it’s amazing what can be achieved with a focused core project team, where client and designers really click and work together. The new look aims to enhance appeal to the brand’s slightly older, female audience by building elements of more premium skin care design into the pack graphics.

These two projects amply illustrate the trends, opportunities and constraints operating within the personal care packaging industry today. As the industry becomes increasingly competitive, the role of packaging design assumes ever greater responsibility for brand success. Satisfying the marketing needs of increased innovation, shelf standout and enhanced consumer engagement, whilst also retaining manufacturing feasibility, is of paramount importance. Linked to this, the need to work quickly, cutting lead times from brief to launch, is now a major factor in the design process. Above all, the clever part of pushing through new and challenging designs is to involve all parties throughout the entire design process before launch.