How Brandless Keeps it Simple
by Natalie Mouradian on 08/28/2017 | 6 Minute Read
From the moment we set our eyes on the Brandless product line, we were in love with their clean, uniform design and vibrant colors. Brandless is revolutionizing the CPG Market with their wide array of household items, beauty products, and pantry staples. Best of all, everything costs $3.00.
We got a chance to speak with Brandless about their design process as well as helping build trust among consumers by being open and transparent.
How did you decide on the design that is consistent throughout all of your products? Tell us a little bit more about the process.
Brandless: We saw people becoming paralyzed by the paradox of choice. We approached the design of our packaging to create a simple visual system that distills the most important information.
We’ve taken the concept of UI/UX that works so well in the digital world and applied it to the physical world. Simplicity and restraint are key to the Brandless packaging system. We’re getting rid of the brand clutter and starting fresh with white space. What we pull into that white space are the key attributes people are looking for in a specific product. Today that applies to our everyday essentials collection, but it’s a system that can scale across anything we do. Anywhere we can offer an amazing BrandTax free version, we can use white space to communicate the attributes we’ve curated.
What sort of information did you feel was key to include on the labels, and what did you aim to leave off?
Brandless: We stripped off the typical brand clutter to focus our packaging on the information that matters. The white box that’s front and center on every Brandless product showcases the top few attributes people find most important for that product, like non-GMO or organic. The last attribute is always Brandless, because knowing you’re getting better stuff at a fairer price matters. We have a “white box council” internally that chooses what attributes go in the white box for each product, based on data about successful products and household penetration, research, and focus groups.
What elements of the design do you feel speak to the products’ high quality?
Brandless: Rather than put the brand at the forefront, we’re putting the attributes people care about. The simple, uncluttered design in combination with a product’s main attributes reflect the real values and quality of each product. We’re also transparent about what goes into each and every product, putting the full ingredient list on the back of every package.
How did you balance stripping the packaging of Brandless products down while still making them attractive products consumers would want in their home?
Brandless: Above all, we know our products need to look appealing -- food needs to look mouthwatering and household products need to be aesthetically pleasing. Our color palette is one way we achieve that while staying true to the clean design of our overall packaging system. Our colors are vibrant without being artificial, and we choose a package color to reflect either the true color of the product or its flavor or scent cues.
Some of the packaging has an image of the product, some packaging doesn’t. What reasoning did you have behind this, and how did you keep the ones with images still in line with minimalist packaging?
Brandless: The product box is the consumer’s introduction to the product itself, and it serves as the hero of each and every product. With food packaging specifically, there’s a visceral appetite appeal that needs to be part of it. Photography adds energy and enhances the overall appeal. We use product photography for our packaging that is authentic with a bit of a quirk and a human touch (cookies with crumbs or a bite taken out, for example). The images interact with the product box to create a clean composition and a dynamic silhouette.
Why did you go with the font you chose, and what do you feel it communicates about Brandless?
Brandless: Brandless’ visual system heavily relies on the right typography. “Neutral” is a timeless typeface designed to be free of extravagance or stylistic cues that could distract a reader from the content.
Although Brandless is certainly an affordable company, clearly a lot of thought and work went into the packaging. How did you make this simple and straightforward design stand out?
Brandless: We got rid of the brand clutter that typically dominates product packaging and replaced it with white space. The white box is the hero of every one of our packages. It simply communicates what the key attributes of each product are, from gluten-free to paraben-free. We’re standing out by building a recognizable visual system that makes it easy for people to find the information they care about most.
Part of what attracts consumers to certain brands is trust. How does Brandless packaging generate that?
Brandless: We believe transparency helps build trust. Transparency is one of our core values and that’s exactly what both the Brandless packaging and the products offer.
Our labeling system is designed to clearly call out key attributes (like vegan or sulfate-free) on the front and the full ingredient list on the back (even in categories like beauty or cleaning where that’s rare). We aim to convey a sense of honesty and authenticity through design elements like transparency, matte finish and color as well as front of pack symbols for our certifications (organic, non-GMO, EPA Safer Choice, etc.).