Do Brands Look Better Stripped Back? We Have the Answer!

Do brands look better stripped back? We asked 500 consumers if they preferred a minimalist brand design, or the original packaging. Here are the results.

Do Brands Look Better Stripped Back? This was a fascinating design project kicked off by the talented Mehmet Gozetlik, all the way back in 2010 as part of a project called ‘Minimalist effect in a maximalist market.’

Since then it’s picked up plenty of attention in places like CreativeBloq and went kinda-viral on LinkedIn thanks to this post from Becky Murray, a creative recruiter.

Yet this whole time, it’s been missing one crucial thing – consumer insights!

As a consumer insights platform, we were interested to know whether the general public would embrace these stripped back, minimalist designs (which we all really liked); or whether the busier, but more familiar designs would prevail.

In other words, should brands be acting on the design inspiration provided by Mehmet, creating a more refined and clean look to differentiate themselves in a noisy marketplace…or are their existing brand style guides essential when fighting toe-to-toe for consumer’s attention in the supermarket?

To find out, we asked 500 consumers which product they would prefer to purchase (after all, the yardstick by which to measure designs for consumer packaged goods is surely commercial success).

We did this by presenting the first 250 people with the more modern design on the right; and then we flipped it, presenting the next 250 respondents with the more modern design on the left.

You can see the data in full for each survey here and here.

The results

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 09.36.01.png
(Minimalist designs on the right, original on the left.)
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(Minimalist designs on the left, original on the right.)


As you can clearly see, the simple, elegant pared back designs were universally rejected by consumers.

Just a single one of the minimalist designs (Schweppes), out of 10 products, came out on top. And that was only with one of the 250 consumer segments.

Which means all of these brands can give their product design teams a big slap on the back (and maybe a raise?) for getting it so right.

Does it also prove that minimalism can’t work in the consumer packaged goods category if you’re looking to get mass-market adoption?

That would be reading too much into it.

More likely this shows that consumers prefer what they know over dramatic changes.

Collectively these brands have spent hundreds of millions of pounds (at least) on promotions and brand building over the years, making their packaging feel more comfortable and familiar to their millions of regular customers.

Minimalist men, ageless design, stripped backed London

Across all 500 respondents and the 10 products, men were 57% more likely than women to prefer purchasing the updated minimalist design.

Do millennials prefer a more minimalist design?

Not according to the data, where those under 30 had roughly the same preferences as the overall population. However when looking at those aged 50 and over, there was a much stronger preference for the traditional packaging.

Interestingly, people who work in London (regardless of gender) showed the same overall preference for the stripped back designs as men did (regardless of region) – those working in the capital were 57% more likely to prefer purchasing the updated minimalist product designs than were consumers who worked elsewhere in the UK.

In conclusion

The marketing teams behind the 10 brands featured in this design experiment should be happy. Their brand-building has paid off, with the UK overwhelmingly preferring to purchase the original designs than the stripped back ones.

However that doesn’t mean there aren’t some strong pockets of support for a more minimalist approach – particularly amongst men and those in London – meaning that if you’re considering a more targeted product extension with a specific focus on these demographics, you might consider a cleaner, simpler approach to packaging design.

Want to test out your next packaging design ideas before launching them in-market? See which will perform the best by utilising Attest’s Consumer Insight Platform today (and you’ll have the results tomorrow).

Original images from the concept:

Corn Flakes.jpg


Content Team 

Our in-house marketing team is always scouring the market for the next big thing. This piece has been lovingly crafted by one of our team members. Attest's platform makes gathering consumer data as simple and actionable as possible.

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