Natural, Minimal, Earthy
September is supposedly the month where all things organic are discussed and pondered about, so we thought we’d talk about the graphic design behind the commerce of organic goods, from skincare to foods.
By definition, graphic design is all about communicating a message and a feel to audiences. I fact, when I studied Graphic Design, the course was called ‘Graphic Communication’.
Firstly, when something is branded as organic, this is a real selling point and companies will often brand the product so that it’s as easy as possible to tell that this product is organic and reinforces the goodness. If it looks healthy and natural on the outside, then it must also be so on the inside.
Organic branding aims to communicate that their products are good for the earth and environment, and so it’s not surprise that colours used are natural, earthy, and desaturated.
Bright colours would invoke the feeling of artificialness, the opposite of what would be intended.
Whilst products may be organic and good for the environment, there is no requirement for the packaging to be so, other than to not contain or be covered in anything that would contaminate the food.
Take Sainsbury’s apples for instance. They might be organic, but they’re still in packaging which is not recyclable.
Some organic producers are taking this one step further. Not only putting their organic products in recyclable material such as cardboard but making the colour of the cardboard part of their palette.
Organic skincare is another kettle of fish. Whilst it must still fill the brief of communicating goodness to you and the environment, it must still conform to the strict brand guidelines of a typical skincare company, and that’s luxury.
A lot of the work of packaging design comes not from the design, but the actual packaging itself. If I were to remove all branding from the above packaging, you could still guess that it was probably for a cosmetics product.
And this is important, as it will add to the experience, taking away any subconscious confusion or errs.
When looking at the colour pallets of organic skincare brands, there is a similarity. They’re often desaturated, neutral, earthy colours. However, with luxury comes paring back.
Perhaps the minimal colour scheme evokes a sense of purity. There’s no ever-ending list of ingredients and chemicals in these products; they’re simple!
Another common colour scheme to use for skin care products is the nude skin tones. Anagrama Studio has taken this idea and merged it with organics and used wood within their packaging. To better represent all skin types, a wood like Oak would have perhaps been a better choice.
Scientists are warning that using antibiotics in livestock drastically increases the likelihood of antibiotic-resistance. If this practice was to be stopped and meat by default became organic, how would that affect branding?
Would more and more brands promote ‘organic meat’ or would the word organic lose its uniqueness. If consumers assumed all meat were organic in the future, would organic-branded products look different?
Organic products are simple, natural, and go back to their roots. This is what is often reflected in the graphics and packaging of organic products.