Package Design Magazine's fifth annual Makeover Challenge now enters the peer review stage. Entries have been submitted from our four design teams—Atomica Design Group, Beyondesign, Display Pack, and John Waski Design.
The subject of this year's Challenge is the Dashing Diva brand of cosmetic and nail care products. The brand is at a pivotal point in its growth, transitioning from a specialty boutique store brand into broader line extensions and more diverse retail strategies. The management at Dashing Diva is very excited about the Challenge and hopes to promote the Challenge with new products in package designs from the entries you will see hear.
Vote for your favorite
The Makeover Challenge design teams paid close attention to the Dashing Diva design philosophy and history and reinterpreted the package designs in order to take the brand to a new level. Like previous Challenges, each team took the package design in remarkably different directions. Defining what "Diva" might convey to consumers was the starting point for most, but each team took unique tacks in blending tradition with modernity, functionality with sensuality, and iconic shapes with ergonomics.
Now it is your turn as an avid reader of Package Design Magazine. Let us know which package design makeover presents the best overall package design direction for the Dashing Diva brand by voting on our website. The deadline for online voting is September 30, and the winner will be announced with the publication of our November issue, where the winning team will be profiled in a cover story feature.
Atomica Design Group
The Atomica Design Group developed a retro design approach for the Dashing Diva Makeover Challenge. The desire was to emulate the era of classic movie stars in the '40s or '50s, and the glitz and glamour of the golden age of cinema became the benchmark. The designs are meant to capture the theatricality and dramatic impact of that lifestyle, because many consumers today still define glamour in those terms and in those fashions.
After category research in stores like Target and Ulta, the Atomica Makeover team tried to define a specific prototypical purchaser of the product. They found inspiration in New York fashion hipness and the glamour of martini bars. They thought: "Wouldn't many users of Dashing Diva products be fans of Sex and the City?"
Joe DiPalma, president of Atomica, gave five different designers the same Makeover Challenge task to see what variations they might come up with. In essence, they all grappled with the same question: "In our minds—and in consumers' minds—what is a diva?" The agency's fulltime trend-spotter helped identify what diva characteristics and fashions could be both classic and modern.
Though the brief was to create a unified brand extension line that was clean and professional, Atomica delved even deeper into the 20th century for classic, timeless inspiration and found Victorian lacy accents and elements that might be reminiscent of Varga paintings. "We wanted something functional and lasting, not something that next year would be out of fashion, " says DiPalma.
The diva that Atomica ended up with was a sexy, confident woman full of showmanship. The tall torsos and thin waists of the package designs convey the personality of the users as well as the identity of the Dashing Diva brand. The redesigned hands of the Dashing Diva are "holding up" a floating, glowing diamond, an eternal symbol of diva-ness now infused with a new age sensibility.
The curlicue accents are reminiscent of mid-20th century advertising and promotional design, but the engraved accents have a secondary function. The curlicues in the tops of the bottles are engraved in a textured hard plastic for a classy impression, but also to make them easy to locate with just the fingers in a modern Dashing Diva devotee's purse.
The Atomica team decided not to discard the hard-won and distinctive typeface of the Dashing Diva logo. Quite to the contrary, they felt the previous package designs were disjointed typographically. Instead of reinventing the wheel, they used the same type treatment universally on the front panel of the packages.
DiPalma explains that the platinum shades of Atomica's designs complement the established signature Dashing Diva magenta. The design team incorporated the magenta in a more tasteful way, as an accent that is not overwhelming. "By doing that, it would actually make it'pop' more," says DiPalma. On all the packages, the magenta appears to glow or emanate from the base of the product or from behind the package.
DiPalma admits the borrowed affinity to liquor bottles—especially modern vodka bottles that attempt to have images and colors filter through the product. Similarly, the frosted-glass impact of the custom plastic bottles creates an effervescent feel that invites touching. These effects would be achieved through screen printing when possible, with spot printing of the bottoms to create the glow, but clear label designs could also produce the same effect.
In the cosmetic and personal care industry, the common strategy for a product range like Dashing Diva is to create a "pretty packaging" that is soft, smooth, and traditionally feminine. The beyondesign designers went in a different direction. They wanted to create the personality of the new, modern diva, dealing with the changing times while doing so with the wonderful grace of the ultimate and compelling woman. They felt the brand personality must be delivered in substantial style with minimalistic design. The result are strong edgy structures with delicate sensuality and sheer shades with stark contrasts that reflect the contradictions of a modern diva.
"Beyondesign has a mantra for all that they create—It must be Visual. Unique. Compelling. Unforgettable," says beyondesign founder and principal Bhavika Shah. "With everything visual being our forte, they have a style that is ever-changing and yet constant in certain criteria. " Shah explains that the design must always be'beyond'—beyond equilibrium (just a bit off centered), beyond chaos (lots of empty spaces), and always beyond visual (it must invoke something non-tangible).
Beyondesign designed the packaging as a symbolism of the multifaceted modern urban female —an individual with great charisma and confidence as well as a refined grace and femininity. The result was a more urbane, edgy, even masculine design using silver Tetra Paks and accentuated with striking high contrast paintings of exotic and sensuous flowers.
Beyondesign called the series SINSATION, where the use of the word sensation ensures that the brand speaks of the element of touch while the word sinful gives the range a mysterious and sensuous appeal. With a sonorous feel, the name is easy to pronounce, and being a combination of two actual words, it possesses high recall potential.
The Body Massage Oil is in a dull silver Tetra Pak adorned with a high contrast painting of an orange flower, and the strong colors and sinuous lines of the flower add exotic appeal. The package comes with a smooth black application brush that is affixed to the front of the product. The brush can be removed and attached to the inside of the Tetra Pak cap.
The Hand Veneer silver Tetra Pak has a high contrast painting of a bright pink flower, giving it a soft and feminine feel without being kitschy. The long, slim tube gives the package a sleek look and enables easy grasping. With a simple squeeze application, this tube will enable the user to squeeze out every last drop.
The Metamorph Corrective Coat's Tetra Pak is adorned with a contrasting painting of a bold green bamboo leaf symbolic of strength, sharpness, and smoothness. By using a Tetra Pak instead of a convention bottle, we have ensured that the product is not only unbreakable, but it is easy to carry and allows for complete use.
The Tailor Fit nails box has a dull silver metallic finish and a shape much like a feminine version of the toolkit for this product, embellishing it with a strong contrasted blue flower branch. The box cover has a simple lift-up function, while one side of the box showcases the nails behind a transparent encasement.
The style of creating communication with the customer by writing to them on the front panel of the package is a concept that is yet to be explored in the cosmetic and personal care industry. The sardonic style of prose delivery here, which goes against the convention of appeasing or flattering the customer, will guarantee her appreciation for tongue-in-cheek yet totally relatable humor, while instantly building a conversation with her and insisting on purchase, using the colloquial strategy of telling the customer: "See the error of your ways. Spoil yourself."
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Display Pack's main goal for the packages was to "Diva-fy" them to the max, taking cues from modern, sophisticated women. The final look brings this group of products into a unified brand that today's women can recognize quickly, identify with, and count on for ultimate skin and nail care.
In conducting studies on shapes for the package redesign, the Display Pack team served different emotions that shapes conjured up. What they discovered was a shape combination that not only reflected two D's for Dashing Diva but also a Greek goddess or empress dress shape.
"Without looking too trendy or'tween-y,' the Dashing Diva is a reflection of a woman who knows what she wants and how to have fun doing it, " says Kristie Vos, packaging design manager at Display Pack. Once the goddess shape was established, the team began to fashion her dress with graphic elements. From Marilyn Monroe in her unforgettable scene with the white dress over the street grate, to Sarah Jessica Parker's sweetheart neckline at the recent Sex and the City premiere, and to her Carrie Bradshaw character's gigantic flower pin, the Display Pack team drew inspiration to "dress" their diva to the nines.
The Display Pack team decided that magenta was too much a part of Dashing Diva's identity to dismiss, but adding more color highlights the salon's fun décor brings more distinction to the different product lines. The salon takes extra care in its hygiene and sanitation, so Display Pack also kept white in the designs to reflect that.
The Hand Veneer seemed a natural fit for a bright, springy green, as it has medicinal qualities and represents vitality and new life. A fiery orange was chosen for the Body Massage Oil, which immediately evokes feelings of warmth, touch, and sensuality. The Tailor Fit Nails were assigned deep purple—the color of royalty and drama. The use of only magenta without a secondary color on the Corrective Basecoat was intentional, as this is not a nail color but a purely reparative nail treatment. Brushed metal and silver accessorize the packages and add a little bling to increase the perceived value of these high-end products.
The bottles have shapes that are easy to grip, and both the lotion and the pump are designed for one-handed use. The top of the massage oil pump has a soft feel bubble to add to the playfulness of the product. The nail repair bottle has a quick twist function, enabling opening with fewer turns than a conventional bottle. The well of the bottle is shaped like a "v" to allow the polish to funnel to one place and assure no polish is left behind. A chain resembling a pearl necklace holds a tag with a thermoformed nail sealed between the tag layers, so clients can visualize the hue against their skin tone.
To fit in with Display Pack's sustainability objectives, the team developed a sturdier nails package that could be reusable as a travel case. Nails are organized in three custom-fit, biodegradable plastic thermoformed trays, stackable for easy access and quick locating.
Each product name reflects important steps in a young woman's special relationships. Fix Me Up is the reparative treatment her nails need to look their best. Meet Your Match gives her assurance that she is finding virtual nails that fit her hands. Take My Hand promises the security of soft, smooth, and healthy-looking skin. And finally, Massage in a Bottle reveals the secrets of sensual touch and restorative relaxation. Product users will be thrilled to relive their Dashing Diva salon experience in their own home, and the bonus is that the bottles will look great displayed on any countertop.
John Waski Design
The John Waski Design firm oobserved that Dashing Diva had prided themselves with "reinventing the nail salon experience"—from their products to their unique salon environments. Partners John Waski and Norma Kwan-Waski resolved to infuse their new product redesign with a sense of fashion and sex appeal while maintaining the overall equity of the brand. The resulting concepts create an upscale, spa-like imagery for a whole new experience in nail care at Dashing Diva.
JWD was inspired by the concept of the retail environment of Dashing Diva with all the curves and sexy lines, as well as the brand name "Diva," someone who has the style and elegance of a princess, but at the same time a sexy and chic temptress with a bit of an attitude. The hourglass shape has the ability to connote the female form in a sensual and aesthetic way, and the shape allowed JWD to infuse an ergonomical and functional usage dynamic to the line.
Norma Kwan-Waski explains that the shapes were not just intended to be a sensual look, but to have form with function and to take the Dashing Diva brand to another level. "It conforms to what Dashing Diva represents," Norma explains. "Every aspect speaks to the product, the environment they are in and the brand."
"For starters, we landed on the hourglass shape for the nail color bottle structure because there were some ergonomic things missing from this category, " says John. He explains that the reason the shape has not been explored fully in the category may be that it demands custom tooling, but also that consumers for this category may not have been thoroughly researched to find out what works and what does not work when in use.
JWD designed the nail color bottles with frosted iridescent glass to create a consistent brand look on-shelf. A small, slender clear window shows the color variants in the line. The neck is covered with silicone to create an extra secure grip, and the slender neck provides users a way to paint their nails worry-free from spills and struggles with the bottle, as the user can hold the nail polish bottle between their fingers or toes when applying polish.
For the Body Massage Oil package, the pump mechanism is hidden within the overall structure due to aesthetic purpose. The top is made of a soft rubber substrate to provide easy application without slipping. The slender, hourglass part of the structure helps add to a secure no-slip grip application.
The Tailor Fit nails are housed in a soft, sexy container. The curved and rounded edges create a softer feel when in the users' hands and enhance the overall imagery. The nail kit was also designed for on-shelf aesthetics and ease of storage. The tray is spring activated and opened by pushing the soft rubber point at the top.
The Hand Veneer product continues the hourglass shape and the soft curve imagery, this time with a pop-top lid to maintain the simple, slender, and sexy diva appeal. On this package, a sub-brand icon was created for the iconic Dashing Diva "hand" with consideration for the Dashing Diva umbrella brand identity.
"With these brand extensions," says John, "Dashing Diva can really utilize the forms without fragmenting the brand. We wanted to have the structure tell the story. " Silicon components make the components non-slip for all sizes of hands. The tall slender shapes emulate a female form and slender waistline, also reminiscent of a classic black cocktail dress.
"The new designs we have created will appeal to the Dashing Diva consumers, since there is an overall sense of fun as well as sex appeal. The whole color management can be further line extendable and still represent the brand with a spa feel, " John Waski concludes. "It leverages the company to do other high-end lines."