April 14, 2014

5 Ways You Can Make Water Packaging Look Amazing

5 Ways You Can Make Water Packaging Look Amazing

Let’s face it: whoever thought of bottling and selling water is clearly a marketing genius. What used to be a free commodity is now an elite must-have, thanks solely to elegant packaging designs.

Since its inception, the bottled water market has grown surprisingly competitive, with each manufacturer struggling to prove that their product (which, let’s just keep in mind here, is just plain water) is superior to everyone else’s. How on earth can some water seem better than other water? Simple: it’s all in the drink design. Here’s a look at some of the best ways you too can package something incredibly commonplace in such a brilliant way that people are willing to shell out the big bucks without thinking twice. (Seriously. Genius.)

1. Match the Bottle to the Name

Aquadeco is a bottled water out of Canada. The name calls to mind thoughts of art deco style with its long lines and striking graphics, and the bottle doesn’t disappoint. Aquadeco is packaged in a bottle that’s reminiscent of a skyscraper, yet with definitive art deco elements. This is one bottle that apparently isn’t all talk either; Aquadeco won the 2007 gold medal for best tasting non-carbonated spring water… and a second gold medal for its fabulous bottle design. Yes, there are water-tasting contests. Who knew?

2. Make It Pretty

Walk into any grocery store or gas station and you’ll be met with bottled waters covered in floral motifs, jungle flora and fauna and all kinds of labels showing pretty growing things. These elegant packaging designs are much prettier than the plain ol’ cobalt blue labels on other (much more boring and tasteless) brands of bottled water. It just goes to show that if you want to sell your product well, slap some vines or flowers on it and make it pretty.

3. Go for the Unexpected

What do you think of when you think of water? Something clear? Transparent? Refreshing? Yep, that’s what everyone else thinks of, too. There’s a reason that just about every brand of bottled water has pictures of mountains and glaciers and stuff on their labels; those images are synonymous with purity, cleanliness, untouched rarity. Everything you want in your water, right?

Then along comes a company like blk. that turns everything you thought you new about bottled water completely upside down with its striking ebony bottle. Oh—wait. It’s not the bottle that’s black; it’s the water. And yet this sludge is selling like hotcakes. Go figure.

4. Release Limited Editions

If you don’t stop to think about the total illogic represented by the idea of “limited edition” water (of all things), it’s easy to see why it sells. After all, who doesn’t want access to a product that only a handful of other people can purchase? That’s the idea that sends these ultra-fancy versions of Evian and Perrier flying off the shelf. But before you buy, you should know that the water is, in fact, exactly the same as in the $1.79 version of the exact same product. It’s just the picture on the bottle that’s limited.

5. Go for the Gold

When all else fails, you can always make your product so exorbitantly expensive that people are sure your version is superior, and buy it based on that assumption alone. Yes, this even works for water. Obviously, you need to have an extremely elaborate drink design for this gimmick to work.

Bling H2O brand bottled water solves this dilemma by corking its bottles like a bottle of Dom Pérignon, then using real Swarovski crystals on the outside. An even more impressive example is Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani, which is literally packaged in a solid gold bottle. Oh, there’s also 5 mg of gold dust in the water itself, too. Of course, we’d expect no less for the not-at-all-ridiculous price tag of $60,000 per 750 mL. If that’s too rich for your blood, they have some versions in silver and crystal for the plebes. It just goes to show that, with the right packaging design, you can sell just about anything.


by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

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