The Voice of Design: Natural Products

When did natural products come to realize woodcut type and craft paper likely perpetuates the negative stereotypes of natural products and are therefore not required to be considered a player in the natural product industry?

According to Eric Ryan of Method, the natural products industry (if it is to be labeled as an industry) has transformed since Method arrived on the scene. Don't misinterpret my meaning, he wasn't taking credit for the change, he was merely noting it as a happy observer.

We were a recent witness this transformation when we visited the Natural Products Expo West to meet with clients, prospects and friends. It was an eye opening experience.

After knowing Eric for almost a decade, we were able to see him surrounded by an industry that his brand has dramatically influenced. We have friends at the brand Kind, but until the expo, we had never realized their prominence in the Natural Products industry. Though we have worked with many natural products brands, we had not yet experienced what it was like when they came together under one roof and got busy socializing. It was an event.

Brands like Seventh Generation had typically passed by packaging aesthetics in favor of product efficacy and sustainability messaging. The voice of design has now entered the halls of this brand.  Seventh Generation now demonstrates how putting effort into design can benefit the brand because of the improved perceptions of consumers.

Design is deeply embedded in natural products — the industry has discovered bright colors, professional photography and a variety of other design constructs. Does this mean the industry is no longer as natural or has sold out in some manner? Not in our view. It merely showcases the fact that product efficacy and a "green" message doesn't have to look like it was run through the dirt before getting to your kitchen table.

The reason: bad design is not about making something look ugly but rather about not taking the time to thoughtfully consider all factors in developing a brand. Being intentionally ugly can be a good design decision, but not taking the time or resources to consider your aesthetics is a bad design decision.

The voice of design is strong in this one.

Aaron Keller
Managing Principal


Marc Posch said...

Hi there. Good article, but I'm wondering: What are the "negative stereotypes of natural products"?


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