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Thinking Outside the (Same Old) Box

By: Abby Penning
Posted: April 26, 2013, from the May 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Arabanos explains that the inspiration behind the braille on the packaging was from Cleanlogic’s CEO Isaac Shapiro. “His mother had been blind since the age of seven, and had been a huge advocate in the blind community. She worked with blindness and visual impairment support groups to help people to achieve more in life and be competitive in the job market [and] in order to live more independently,” Arabanos says. “Shapiro decided, as a continuation of the work of his mother, he would include braille (an unmistakable mark associated with blindness) on the packaging of his company’s product.”

To create the braille-included packaging, Arabanos says the company’s COO Michael Ghesser led the project. “With the help of our sourcing contacts, [Ghesser] works hand in hand with suppliers and factories overseas to ensure packaging quality is top notch and the braille is legible. Our braille is proofread by Isaac’s mother, who provides feedback on the relief of the dots, spacing and other factors that the sighted community might not otherwise notice as important,” he notes.

Clearly, this packaging decision helps say legions about the Cleanlogic brand and its mission. “Braille is an instant signal of our commitment to the blind and visually impaired, and the ability to really feel the difference by touching the dots is a great sensory tool that helps us to differentiate our products from the rest,” says Arabanos. “[Bathing] is something we all do, so why not extend the value of your everyday ritual to provide support to individuals who are not so different from you and I?”

Repurposing

Getting the innovative ideas for inspired packaging choices obviously can strike from anywhere. But sometimes, you only need to look at something in a new light in order to have that light bulb moment of genius.

“In addition to [Anomatic’s] new innovation center, we also have a design room where we feature products from all of the different industries that we’ve serviced throughout our 50-year history,” says Rusch of the company’s ability to help develop and inspire new packaging ideas. “Having this design center is often the catalyst to start the design conversation. A lot of times it’s giving designers the ability to go in a room and just look at everything and kind of get a feel for what truly is possible.”

Taking ideas from other industries is one way Printex Packaging found success with its Snap Cap package, which was used for personal lubricant lotion Simply Slick. “The original development came from a need presented by a large instant beverage manufacturer, but the consumer testing went for a flexible pouch instead,” explains Charles W. Hays, vice president of sales and marketing with Printex. “We decided to show the samples of this package at a couple of trade shows and had a favorable response. So from this we decided to make our own samples for marketing purposes and test the water further.”

Through this water-testing, Printex found the Simply Slick brand was interested in the design. “It was looking to make its product have a bigger presence on the shelf and really show off the brand logo via graphics and forming-on caps,” Hays says, and the Snap Cap package fit the brand’s needs.

From there, Printex looked to reach out to different industries more often. “Today, we are working on a half dozen projects that have called out this design, and the products are coming from a wide spectrum of consumer goods manufacturers,” Hays notes.

You never know where inspiration is going to strike, but when it does, brand owners and developers need the courage and foresight to follow through. Take advantage of industry collaborators and designers. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And always keep your eyes open for that new idea on the horizon.