GOOD Design Daily: Are Minimalist Brands the Future?

A designer takes the superfluous imagery off some familiar packaging and reveals what could be the next new trend in branding.

When these "minimalist brands" started popping up on the A2591 blog a few weeks ago, they seemed like a fun design exercise. The designers simply reduced familiar packaging to its bare essentials, taking colors and graphics away in a dramatic, three-step reveal.

Some of the brands look especially sharp when reduced to a bare-bones execution; others are reduced to an almost unrecognizable state without their cascading milk falls or sides of sliced fruit.

These seem like products stocked in some fantasyland grocery store patronized exclusively by anal-retentive designers, but as I started to look at some recent rebranding stories, I'd argue that the minimal trend is actually infiltrating the market faster than we think.

Remember the outcry over the new Pepsi branding? Compared to a few years ago, heck, even compared to the other brands in its flock, that's about as streamlined of a design as you could get. If you walk down the soda aisle, Pepsi's wall of solid blue and silver definitely sticks out.

Method, the eco- and design-minded soap and cleanser company, has always taken the most minimal route when it comes to branding. Its candy-colored soaps and simple type have inspired more than a few copycats in the market.

And look at the branding of Canadian private label No Name we covered a few weeks back, or this extremely similar but slightly more elegant take for the new U.K. co-op The People's Supermarket. This simple, two-tone identity has been exalted by designers and consumers, who like the no-frills, no-spin packaging. And of course, there's another great example that popped up yesterday:

Compare A2591's minimalist exercise to the move that Starbucks has made with its recently-redesigned logo, and well ... it's almost uncanny.

What do you think: Will we see more of this more-is-less packaging in our slimmed-down future?

Disclaimer: GOOD partners with PepsiCo on the Refresh Project.

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