January 7, 2014

The Secret that Makes or Breaks Your Energy Drink Design

The Secret that Makes or Breaks Your Energy Drink Design

Since the millennium, the energy drink market has shot up from millions to billions, and even though it’s dominated by only three or four brands, there are now dozens of different makers flooding the shelves with colorful chaos. It’s a tough task for a new brand to distinguish itself in that noisy crowd and break out from the market, but the key to making your brand more than just another multi-colored can on a shelf is often advertising.

A good slogan is good, but a good design for your energy drink’s container is even better. After all, the first and toughest task is to get consumers to look at your product long enough to read the clever slogan.

Design Is the Key to Advertising

In a lot of ways, good advertising starts with a great design. Ours is a very visual culture, and people are naturally attracted to things that look both distinctive and appealing. Ideally, your energy drinks design should be eye-catching while also displaying the essence of your brand identity.

When your product has a strong and clear sense of self, it’s easy to identify who your target customer is, which in turn makes for a strong foundation for future advertising efforts.

Breaking Away from the Pack

A lot of energy drink designs are glaringly busy, colorful, dizzying, and trying to show that the can is so bursting with energy, it’s spilling out all over the place. Obviously that’s a good thing to convey; the trouble is actually conveying it. A can that’s all color and zazz can too easily blend into the mad painter’s masterpiece that is a wall of energy drinks.

In that kind of environment, knowing how to target your market can help you stand out. The trick is to do so concisely, which makes them instantly recognizable.

Making the Connection

When you know and connect with your target market, you can build your energy drinks design around that and make a better impact than you would with just a garish explosion of color. People want to get energized, but they also want to be focused, not scattered. Unless, perhaps, they’re looking to fuel a berserker army.

So who are you trying to communicate with? Young people? Older people? College students with exams and sports to squeeze in between late nights of partying? Adults with hectic lives full of kids and jobs and homes to look after? Hardened construction workers who don’t want anything to do with some frivolous pop-top crammed with goofy text and lightning bolts and need something tough and sturdy? What do you want to tell them? Why should they pick you?

Because you get them, that’s why! You know who they are and what they need. You’re not trying to sell lightning storms or exploding biceps or wild fanged beasts to an older set doing serious work, and neither are you trying to sell a staunch and functional product to a younger set looking to burst onto the scene and go-go-go!

Who Are You and Who Are They?

So what does all this boil down to? Dizzy people don’t always grab what they’re aiming for. The best way to distinguish yourself from the throng is to understand your consumers, to send a clear message to a clear target. That starts with knowing yourself and your market and continues directly into the design of your product. And from there, who knows? Anything is possible.


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.

Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.

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