Brand Packaging

Brand Packaging Design Must Evolve for eCommerce

Best ecommerce packaging, ecommerce packaging solutions

eCommerce is changing the way brands sell their products, pushing companies to reassess what defines the most effective packaging design. To incentivize purchase, CPG and food/beverage brands must adapt packaging design to reflect the reality of how people shop both online and off. Changes, such as larger digital hero images (i.e., Unilever’s TRESemmé shampoo hero adapted for Amazon ordering) and a rejiggering of how package sizing is displayed on-pack, respond to how consumers shop online. New packaging shapes and materials are adaptations to ensure consumers receive a whole product, minus any spills or crushed bits, when shipped to homes. For example, P&G is pioneering a new box for its Tide Liquid Detergent.

Brand Packaging Design Bridges Offline and Online

When considering new eCommerce packaging solutions, it’s worth looking at the trends in the new retail landscape. Nearly half of all Americans purchase groceries online, doubling from 23% in just over a year. But only 2.5% of food and beverage sales is expected be online in 2019. Perhaps recognizing this disconnect, Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017 and is pushing to open cashier-less Go convenience stores to capture the other 98% of grocery sales, IRL. The best brand packaging design must seamlessly bridge sales where they are occurring, whether online or offline.

The Best eCommerce Packaging

CPG and food and beverage brands should continue to cultivate relationships with consumers when considering their packaging designs. Heidi Reale, president of the marketing and communications firm SparkShoppe!, recommends products make an emotional connection with the consumer. “The price elasticity of demand doesn’t play in if you can create an emotional connection with the people you do business with, your customers. So if you can create that emotional connection, it’s worth a lot more than trying to get to the bottom of the barrel with price,” Reale said in an interview with

Poultry Brands Heed the Call

Poultry brands have heard the call, taking action on-pack and with new pack design to create an improved customer experience. The UK’s Sainsbury leads the re-design charge, developing a doypack (a sealed plastic bag designed to stand upright) into which raw chicken is packaged. The no-drip pack zips open and the poultry slips directly into the pan without human contact, a plus for many consumers.

Foster Farms redesigned their on-pack messaging for Fresh and Natural, Simply Raised and Organic lines to include “DORI,” a scannable QR code virtual assistant loaded with recipes, exclusive coupons, and labeling terms and descriptions.

JustBARE, a brand under the Pilgrim’s umbrella, includes an on-pack traceability code unique to each package. Consumers are guided to the website to enter the code and discover where and how the poultry in their package was raised.

Our Perspective

Here are four key considerations for brands when designing packaging for the hybrid eCommerce/bricks-and-mortar retail environment:

  1. Your brand’s impact extends beyond the point of purchase

The impact of packaging doesn’t end when shoppers add the product to their digital or real shopping carts. The product lives in their homes for a few days or a few weeks, and smartly designed packaging can continue to help the brand forge an emotional connection for the duration of that lifetime. To thrive in this divided world of shopping, your brand must earn a seat at the table. The relationship doesn’t end at the shopping cart.

  1. Packaging is a gateway for consumers

Your brand’s packaging can provide a gateway for consumers to learn more about your product and brand. Are you delivering information about ingredient sourcing, sustainability and the supply chain? Recipes? Nutrition? Social purpose? Make your package smarter and more integrated to move your customer from package to web or social.

  1. Go beyond the trash

As the social and environmental impacts of waste move closer to the center of consumers’ value perception, can your packaging be designed to serve another function? Does your consumer value a reusable or upcycled package?

  1. The power of touch

Including a bit of whimsy or humor or other brand-specific touches can engage a potential customer for a moment or a lifetime. New packaging materials and finishes can add a tactile component to offline shopping that is often overlooked when designing for eCommerce.

As consumer perceptions and needs change, grocery shopping is shifting to include both online and offline in a different way than just a year or two ago. Brands must consider on-pack messaging and design and new packaging materials to prime the product for purchase. Your customer will not always order online. It can look great online but it has to also perform on-shelf and at home.

To discuss how to optimize your brand for success online and at retail, contact Peter Allen at [email protected].




Caffeinated Water? It’s Here!

What are the benefits of caffeine? What is the best caffeinated water?


Say buh-bye to bad, high acid coffee. And adios to boring, ol’ water. The benefits of water – namely, hydration and life – and the benefits of caffeinated coffee – alertness, focus, clarity, energy – and the huge market for better-for-you caffeine, are driving a new product category: caffeinated water. What is the best caffeinated water? Let’s look at a few options.

Best Caffeinated Water – a Few Candidates

Aqua Java

Brought to you by the good people of Sonoma-based Don Sebastiani & Sons (“the next generation in wine” is their tagline), Aqua Java is purified, sparkling water boosted with organic caffeine. All flavors, including Java, Kola, and Mocha are fortified with 45 mg of caffeine. Touted on the Aqua Java website as a “natural antioxidant derived from green coffee beans,” caffeine is ubiquitous in American society, with 2/3rds of American adults consuming caffeine of some kind every day. (Chocolate, soda, and coffee are the top three sources).  Aqua Java is sweetened with erythritol, a type of sugar alcohol that contains almost no calories. Like other sugar alcohols, erythritol does not spike blood sugar and does not cause tooth decay. It is extremely popular with people on low carb diets or those seeking to reduce their glycemic load. The flavor, however, reminded me of diet soda. And not in a good way.

Happy Tree Maple Water

Maple water is almost an ideal electrolyte. It jams on the manganese and other antioxidants, too. Happy Tree Maple Water takes the natural character of maple water and pushes it to 11 by cold brewing organic, fair-trade Peruvian coffee with the subtly sweet water for the new Cold Brew Coffee flavor. No added sweetener and a completelty sustainable tree water harvest mean this baby is as good as it gets. Now if only the bottle were biodegradable…

Sap on Tap

Like Happy Tree, Sap on Tap is a maple water beverage. The caffeine fix in Maple Water with Yerba Mate flavor, though, comes from yerba mate. Made from the leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree, yerba mate not only contains 24 vitamins and minerals and 15 amino acids, it is flush with antioxidants as well as caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, well-known stimulants also found in coffee and chocolate. The slight bitterness of yerba mate is off-set by the maple water brew, which tames the leaf’s out-going, punchy flavor.


This water is different. This water is bad ass. This water is caffeinated. That’s right. These waters are water, H₂0 dressed up with jazz hands and sassy pants. It’s up to you to find the one that most perfectly matches your nutritional requirements, caffeine intake needs, or your taste buds.

From Forest to Table: New Packaging from Innovative Companies

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — but innovative companies are turning one man’s trash into another man’s … food packaging?

With the dangers of global warming threatening to jeopardize our very existence, more and more consumers are becoming environmentally aware. We recycle, we compost, and we pay attention to the packaging on our purchases (this means no more Styrofoam take-out containers and avoiding plastic straws at your local bar). Some innovative companies recognize this demand for new ways to approach packaging and are working on turning food waste into new forms of food packaging.

Innovative Companies say Buh-bye to Plastic Packaging

Forget plastics. Non-recyclable, non-biodegradable products not only pollute our environment, they also potentially contaminate foods with harmful chemicals and even fail to keep your food adequately fresh. The newest solution? Food packaging made from natural materials like mushrooms, milk proteins, wood, kelp, and tomato peels. Not only are these products biodegradable, waste eliminators, and better for the environment, but they’re oftentimes edible. Really! Here are a few not quite market-ready concepts we have our eye on.

Wood-Based Bottles

In an attempt to reduce waste, Nestlé Waters and Danone have launched a joint product in alliance with a California startup, Origin Materials, to develop 100% bio-based bottles. Made from sustainable and renewable resources, these bottles will take biomass feed stocks (like recycled cardboard and sawdust) to create an entirely new product. These wood-based bottles are scheduled to hit store shelves in 2020.

Milk-Protein Packaging

Did your mother always tell you to drink your milk? Well now you can package your food with it, too, with edible milk-based packaging that reduces food spoilage and waste. This biodegradable, sustainable, and super-thin packaging will make the regular thin plastic film that wraps your cheese and meats obsolete. The US Department of Agriculture, whose team of researchers pioneered the technology, discovered that casein, also known as the protein in dairy milk, can be used to create edible packaging that actually protects your food better than plastic. The proteins work to form a tight network around the food, sealing it 500 times better than plastic.

Mushroom Material

Your favorite fungi are being turned into eco-friendly containers for wine bottles and furniture as well as products like coolers. Ecovative Design developed Mushroom Packaging to reduce waste and replace polystyrene in packaging materials. This product could theoretically replace Styrofoam across the globe. Ikea has already planned to replace their usual polystyrene packaging with Ecovative’s biodegradable mushroom roots. They’ve also licensed their packaging technology to Sealed Air, a $7.6 billion packaging company that makes Bubble Wrap.

Tomato Tin Cans

When you crack open a can of olives or dig into your favorite canned soup on a rainy day, you’ll usually find the packaging coated with chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol-A). While the levels found inside your cans are low enough to purportedly pose no threat to your health, more customers are looking for chemical-free, and thus BPA-free, packaging. The solution? To replace the chemical lacquer with natural ingredients, like processed tomatoes. BIOCOPAC is taking the skins from tomatoes and using them to treat metal food cans. So, the next time you pop open a can of tomatoes for your evening pasta sauce, you might be consuming more tomatoes than you think.

Seaweed Saran

Unlike other recyclable materials like glass and metal, plastic wrap cannot be recycled. So it’s more important than ever to cut down on our use of harmful plastic when packaging our foods. Japanese design company, AMAM, has developed Agar Plasticity to replace our usual Saran wrap. Made from agar, a material found in red marine algae, Agar Plasticity could soon replace the environmentally harmful but very thin and flexible plastics we’re currently using to wrap food. Even if the Agar Plasticity ends up in the ocean after you’ve finished your sandwich, it’ll just be heading right back home. Now that’s a product life cycle we can get behind!


Simon Says: Augmented Reality on more Packaging

ICYMI (it was August, after all, when this article first landed, a month when the whole northern hemisphere goes on vacation), our very own Simon Thorneycroft was quoted in Food Navigator in a piece about augmented reality and packaging. Branded packaging design just got more interesting.

Please click often on the link below and let us know your thoughts about the future of on-pack augmented reality in Comments.
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Simon Says: Black is the New Black

Perspective:Branding’s Founder and CEO, Simon Thorneycroft, wrote this insightful piece for AdWeek a few weeks back about using the color black in your packaging. Sure, black is trendy but will it work for you?

Why More Packaging Should Be Black, and Why It’s So Easy to Get Wrong

Designers embracing darkness often fail to plan for the real world

When designing a line of products or brands, one strategy is to look for a single color around which to build a visual architectural block. This key design feature helps a brand stand out from the competition as well as on the shelf. Block colors are often neutral in tone – think creams, blues, and, in some cases, white and black are used. These colors (or, in the case of white, lack of any color) do not immediately suggest a flavor and are favored by marketing and design teams for their flexibility and endurance in the marketplace. Continue reading at AdWeek.


Rebranding Helps Tahoe Trail Bar Increase Visibility

A recent story published on focused on our branded packaging design work with Tahoe Trail Bars. We are thrilled to share their success!


Tahoe Trail Bars rebranded in time for summer outings

When current owner & CEO Wes King bought the recipe for the single flavor and rights to make the product in 2010, the nutrition, health & wellness category was growing exponentially. He realized it was time to get Tahoe Trail Bar introduced to a wider audience.

King reached out to Perspective: Branding ( for the rebrand. “We were struggling to be seen in the set (because of muted colors), and finding it difficult to convert sales because the features of the bar were not clear and our brand identity didn’t have the weight and punch of a separate mark. We decided to take the plunge into new flavors (which our customers were requesting), and take the brand as a whole ‘down to the studs’ and really capture who we are and what we are about,” he says. Continue reading here:

Originally published on on July 5, 2017.

Brand Packaging Features Tahoe Trail Bar’s Brand Refresh

who designed tahoe trail bar packaging

It’s true that we like to pat ourselves on the back. But when our work is recognized by the industry, we are not shy about sharing our success – and our client’s success – with our community.

In the August issue of Brand Packaging, John Kalkowski takes a look at the challenge Tahoe Trail Bar’s packaging faced in the crowded energy bar marketplace and how Perspective:Branding helped them emerge from the clutter:



THE CHALLENGE: When Tahoe Trail Bar decided to take the plunge into the new flavors its customers were requesting, King says, it seemed like a great time to take the brand “down to the studs” and really capture the brand’s essence – “who we are and what we are about.” King reached out to Perspective:Branding of San Francisco, CA, for the rebrand.

“The rebrand was mostly about authentically capturing in our packaging what our most loyal fans always knew us to be,” King writes. “It was about getting back to our roots.”

Read the full article in the August issue of Brand Packaging.

Best Graphic Design? Or Best Energy Bar? (Or both?)

who designed tahoe trail bar packaging

The best energy bar deserves the best graphic design on pack. And we couldn’t be more thrilled to work with Tahoe Trail Bar on their rebranding effort. But we love bringing media attention to our clients even more.

Take a peek at what Graphic Design USA had to say about our recent efforts. Then grab a Tahoe Trail Bar and get moving on your summer adventure!

“The new packaging from Perspective was instrumental in securing two additional facings and an endcap display at Whole Foods.” ~ Wes King, Founder, Tahoe Trail Bar

Send us a note and let’s explore your packaging possibilities.


Wise Brand Refresh Focuses on Cheese

best visual package design

We were thrilled to work with Wise, Inc. on their Cheez Doodles visual package design rebranding effort. In this piece published in the May/June 2017 issue of Candy & Snack Today magazine, Perspective:Branding CEO and Founder, Simon Thorneycroft, discusses how he and the Perspective team worked to contemporize the Cheez Doodles brand, using pack graphics to tell the story. Click here to read the whole story.

Perfecting the Single-Serve Snack Package Cup

snack brand packaging strategy

Where’s my yogurt lid? If the yogurt case at Safeway is any indication, today’s yogurt companies prefer peel-back foil lids rather than the re-sealable plastic lids of old.  (For contrarians, Noosa’s larger format, 8-ounce cup comes with a plastic lid and a resealable option. Said to be safe and more cost-effective, foil lids are becoming more commonplace as a single serve packaging option for yogurt.

Will Peel-Back Lead To Push Back?

Peel-back lids are a natural on single-serve, portion-sized yogurts, puddings and other spoonable snacks. In single-serve packaging, a resealable option can seem excessive. But for larger sizes, testing is essential before committing to a peel-back lid. A whopping 30% of the food packaging peeves and rants on TheKitchn mention protective film or peel-back lids, landing it at #4  on the list.

Larger formats may incentivize consumers to choose more efficient packaging. Food storage companies are making single-serve storage containers specifically for scooping bulk yogurt into reusable containers. Yogurt brands could seize the market opportunity by producing reusable, single-serve packaging. Eliminating the lid, however eco-friendly it seems, is a short-term fix.  Instead, source packaging that’s built to last.

A Single-Serve Example That’s Good For Everyone

Built to last, old school glass bottles, jars and cups are stockpiled by customers when they are not recycled. Great. But there are food companies out there breaking new ground. Nona Lim’s new soup containers reinvent the single-serve snack package.  Nona Lim, a broths and soup producer, spent over a year developing a microwaveable, dishwasher safe plastic “sippy cup” for grownups.

Any parent who has passed through the toddler years will recognize Nona Lim’s new soup package. Essentially a plastic cup sealed with a protective peel-back and a screw-on “sippy” lid, Nona Lim’s soup packages are single-handed and single-serve. Peel off the informational cardboard band and re-use the sippy cup for anything that is served in a cup – homemade soups, coffee, whatever. BPA-free, freezer grade, the benefits go on and on. It’s the opposite approach to packaging from a single use plastic yogurt cup – it’s something you buy to keep and reuse again and again.  And the embossed brand name on the lid keeps Nona Lim in front of customers for as long as they use the cup. The revolution, my friends, will not be televised.

Remember the Branding Opportunity

Just as using food waste has become an imperative in food production, consumer packaged goods and food brands should consider re-purposing when planning packaging.Every time a consumer returns a brand’s packaging to circulation, the brand gets positive impressions.  A few pennies spent on the packaging could pay off in ways only brand managers can imagine.


What Gamers have Wrought: TV Snack Brands

premade healthy meals are designed for watching TV and gaming

The TV dinner is so….last century. The very idea harks back to a time when Americans cherished sitting down at a table for three square meals a day. In that context, a TV dinner can be viewed as a step towards America’s current snack culture, a square meal designed for convenience as much as nutrition. As a community, Americans are moving through an epic moment when we snack as many as six times a day and eat smaller, less nutritionally complete meals. Snackers do not want a “considered meal,” something that requires a knife, fork and plate, to eat in front of a screen. Instead, they want a hand-held snack. A TV snack. A gaming snack. A texting snack. Food companies see the writing on the wall and are moving to create snacks that are not considered eats, that is, foods that do not involve utensils or plates or clean-up, but portable snacks that are as mess-free as they are stress-free.

TV Snack Brands

GO-GURT, known as Yoplait Tubes in Canada, was an early adapter to the one-handed eating phenomenon. Launched in 1999, just as cell phones became mobile devices with multiple functions, GO-GURT, a Yoplait Kids product, targeted the lunchbox crowd. A skinny tube filled with two ounces of yogurt was the perfect single-use snack size. Little kids, of course, manage to squeeze the yogurt onto themselves, but most adults are able to avoid this by not squeezing the tube too tightly.

Munk Pack’s new line of ready-to-eat Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze takes squeezable food out of the kiddie aisle. Perhaps inspired by the nutritional needs of backpackers, these are on-the-go snacks that are as easy to eat in the car, while toting a pack or using one hand to text. Remove the screw-top lid and squeeze. They even have a variegated bottom that allows the meal to stand on its own. Requiring no spoon to eat, this is a meal at its most convenient. A few squeezes are all that’s needed to eat. Fingers are kept clean. And there is no need to look down. Gamers can keep gaming. Texters can keep texting.

Walker’s UK Tear and Share bag riffs on the very British tradition of sharing a pint and a bag of potato chips with friends at the local pub. Simon Thorneycroft, Founder and CEO of Perspective : Branding, grew up in the UK and noted that “the chip bag becomes a sort of napkin at the pub. You tear back the front and use the inside as a sort of makeshift plate for sharing. Everyone does this.” Walker’s new bag has a creased bottom, that when “popped,” creates a little bowl. Structurally, versus a traditional chip bag, the Tear and Share bag stands up. It makes the snack share that much easier. You might need an actual napkin, though. And a beer to go with the chips.

Mobile Meals

These snacks all offer convenience, portability and portion control. They can be mobile meals or part of a larger meal. While TV Dinners offered more complete nutrition, today’s snacks have taken TV snack brands into the 21st century. Who needs a pre-made healthy meal with so many snacks to choose from?


I’m Just an Emoji Girl, Living in an Emoji World

As we peer into mid-February, we ask you to examine the symbol known as the heart. The heart is an ancient symbol, used by Romeos and Juliets for centuries as an expression of love in all its forms. Modern day symbols are all around us but perhaps the most recognizable and ubiquitous are emojis. Emojis, or “picture characters” from the original Japanese got their start on Japanese cell phones in the late 1990’s and were quickly adopted internationally for their ability to visually define cultural references and human emotion. Hearts are a well-used emoji. We now send colored hearts – red (I love you), purple (you’re sweet), yellow (you’re unique) blue (I miss you), green (you’re funny), and black (I do not like you) hearts are just a few of the variations on a standard emoji keyboard – around the world on social media and via text message to articulate an emotion once considered difficult to express – love.

The constant use of this traditional symbol diminishes the symbol’s meaning. Twitter used to ask its users to click a “like” button. “Like” was replaced with a red heart, shifting approval of a tweet from the rather soft “like” to a rather intense “love.” Facebook recently updated its “Like” button to include a heart and other emojis. Is using a heart on social media love or just extreme like? How are brands to interpret and use this new heart iconography?

A few companies have considered how to use the emoji heart on their brand packaging. PEZ started using heart emoji symbols as part of the visual iconography of their brand packaging in 2015 when they launched Love and Kissing dispensers as part of their PEZemojis launch. Accompanied by Happy, LOLing and Silly PEZ, “these initial five designs created a widely appealing assortment for our customers,” said Amy M. Kopchak, PEZ’s Director of Marketing.  The designs were created by PEZ and were hugely successful, rivaling popular licenses in terms of sales. Though PEZ has had traditional heart dispensers for Valentine’s Day for many years, for 2017’s celebration, PEZ added the “Love” and “Kissing” in a PEZemojis Twin Pack. “We thought it was a nice update for the holiday to keep PEZ relevant and fun,” said Kopchak. “It is offered in a small giftable box for your special someone.”

So-Mine, experts in product development and consumer marketing, created a reusable sandwich bag with a smiling emoji with two eye-popping hearts-as-eyes among other emoji featured on the bag. “We wanted to incorporate ‘love’ in our So-Mine reusable sandwich bags so that moms share their love for their children when school lunches are packed, said So-Mine Owner, Shannon Blake. “The heart eyes [emoji] is a great symbol of that love without having to write a special note every day.”

The trend may have gotten started last summer when Pepsi launched “PepsiMojis” which featured hundreds of emoji designs for cans and bottles distributed through local and global markets. Though not specific for Valentine’s Day or the visual iconography of hearts, these emojis define the ability of emojis to cross cultural barriers in a kind of universal language of symbology. Valentine’s Day, the heart as meaningful symbol of love – and brand packaging – may never be the same.