How important are the design cues in packaging to both the retailer and consumer?
The Alexir Partnership commissioned UK agency Fable&Co to conceptualise and design a range of luxury pies for the Packaging Innovations Show in London last year and Birmingham at the beginning of this year. Their brief was to explore the design signposts that consumers associate with different price points in the retailers. ‘Tiering’ on supermarket shelves is of paramount importance as the retailers aim to widen the reach of their audience whilst giving the consumer a sense of maximised value for the price point they are comfortable with.
As all good packaging designers know, effective package design needs to signal and explain the different price points in a product range and deliver them in a brand-relevant way. In addition tiered sub-brands must have their own well-developed design strategies and tool kits to act as signposts.
Our site location Edenbridge in Kent inspired the brand name and narrative to shape the unique identity. ‘Eden’ means delight, finery and luxury and is more commonly famous for the paradisiacal garden in which Adam and Eve lived. The ‘Eden & Bridge’ range was born.
The Eden & Bridge entry level pie incorporated ‘Pork & Sage’ and ‘Beef & Ale’ variants in a simple skillet carton designed to evoke visions of being home-made. The style of the carton, basic print finish and uncomplicated design constitute the indicators of an entry-level price point of a pie range. This entry level point is a key area for a retailer because it acts as a gateway to new customers. In 2009 Waitrose introduced its Essentials range to offer good quality everyday foods at entry level prices and now has over 1,400 SKUs.
Meanwhile the brand identity of the Premium level was inspired by the Victorian legacy, popularity and heritage of baking. The idea of intrigue and discovery inspired a carton with a book flap revealing the pie beneath a transparent printed window. The print production techniques demonstrate a high quality, premium proposition to accentuate a bold visual brand identity. The skillet cartons were printed two colours lithographically on a high quality Incada Silk board with a matte laminate being added to the printed sheet. A spot gloss UV varnish was then screen printed to the coloured areas of the design.
Luxury and exclusivity were paramount in stimulating the consumer experience and this was achieved by careful consideration of graphic and structural packaging design with stylish and sophisticated print finishes. The production of the packaging began with a delicate cold foiling process to the flat sheets. These were then carefully overprinted with the graphics before being die-cut and creased. Digitally printed window film was produced and applied using a ‘pick and place’ gluing technique to ensure the typography lined up. Ultra thin magnets were applied to the inside of the sleeve flaps and the inside of the sleeves themselves. The lids, bases and sleeves were then glued ready for the delicious pies to be inserted. A highly intricate and beautiful piece of packaging to illustrate what techniques can be used to exude luxury and premium.
Premium retailers like M&S are well-placed to quench the desire for affordable luxury at home. To make experiences like this complete for the consumer the package design needs to evoke the quality and experience of the product and reflect the visual packaging codes of premium brands across categories. The Halopack by Alexir now contains the premium breaded chicken range on shelf in M&S. The natural-looking material is printed on all the panels and is sealed hermetically with a film lid. All the packs in the range adhere to premium design cues and represent real stand-out on shelf. Moreover the film insert can be removed by the consumer and each element can be recycled accordingly. Premium tier packaging for a greener planet.