Key visuals, are they sacred?Posted by in Design
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, as you do not play around with a logotype, a colour scheme or an icon! No, as you can easily adapt to local conditions if you understand a visual identity and how, within a given framework, you can be creative without the consumer noticing deviations.
An excellent example of the above are Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. As breakfast is eaten and perceived differently in the various cultures where Kellogg’s are selling their original product, Corn Flakes, the design has to be adapted every time. Here are my findings:
Corn flakes in Britain
Every Brit knows the product and understands the word corn, etc., but as the product has been copied by many retailers, Kellogg’s design must look like the leader it is. This is done in making the design/the pack
- simple (shelf impact)
- unique (a big cockerel/rooster)
- look big (value for money and again, shelf impact)
No need for appetite appeal or milk in this great design. Please notice that the bigger and more famous a brand becomes, the simpler it is. See for instance the design for the MARS bar – no illustration, no product name, etc. on the front.
Corn flakes in Italy
As we all know, the Italians are not particularly good at serving a big healthy meal to start the day… They are happy with their espresso. So the Italian design shows a bowl with the product and a corn-on-the-cob. It furthermore tells you that it is the original and that it is a natural product. As to the layout and colours, see later.
Corn flakes in Sweden
The Swedes, commonsensical, pragmatic and understanding efficient marketing, have designed their corn flakes differently. They insist that there is only one original and the cockerel seems to sing as in the TVCs which were aired when this redesign hit the market.
Corn flakes in China
Another layout, another design, as this product is totally unknown to most Chinese. Here, the milk is important to show how to eat it. The denomination is big, showing 3 Chinese characters and the origin, i.e. the corn is highlighted as the Chinese are mostly used to rice and noodles!
Corn flakes in France
The French understood that the UK design is good and could have copied it, but the not invented here syndrome made them change the English design in adding sunshine, etc. Not a bad design, but not the impact of the British!
Corn flakes in Turkey
Yet another design, more busy and dynamic, as the Turks want to be seen.
Furthermore, the Kellogg’s brand is represented by the huge Turkish food company Ülker!
As the attentive reader may have seen, each pack design was different, but
- CORN FLAKES in bold black letters basically does not change;
- the background is white (with yellow creeping in);
- the Kellogg’s logotype is red (in the UK design, it is perceived as red);
- the cockerel/rooster is green with a red crest.
It goes without saying that if I had not pointed out the above, the reader would undoubtedly have said: “they are all the same”!
The learning is that as long as you understand what a visual identity is, i.e. a colour scheme, an icon, a logotype, etc. you may be creative in using these parts of the identity to adapt to local market conditions in order to attract consumers. And if you attract consumers, you will SELL and that’s what package design is all about!