Max Ottignon’s recent article ‘Throwing out the brand book: the power of unbranding’ describing the increasing dismissal of faceless products and services in favour of brands that form a genuine human connection, shines a spotlight on those that can get it right almost through their packaging alone.

It’s a difficult concept to conquer, and something many brand managers would struggle to overcome in convincing boards of the benefits of ‘unbranding’ their offer. However, by making something unique and unconventional, you create an emotional connection with your audience as well as a flexible brand – something that should be taken seriously.

A great example of a brand completely changing its’ brand look recently is the new individual packaging for Heineken. Graphic Artist, Emily Forgot, was commissioned to create 2000 bottles where no two are the same. A designer who has many prestigious clients such as Selfridges, Harrods and Herman Miller, working across illustration, retail display, print design and visual identity, she prides herself on approaching all briefs with creative thought, originality, humour and beauty in mind.

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The artistic bottle packaging is striking, all with different illustrations and unique numbering. They are individual not just through design, but through the HP technology used to print them. Using HP SmartStream Designer software, artists and designers to create refined, custom jobs simply and affordably. These tools make it possible to personalise any print job’s images, text, and colours—creating practically unlimited variations of any design.

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The colours used within the design of the packaging are far from the iconic Heineken green. But this is what makes the idea and creative route so distinctive and singular. Unlike the brand Byron which has a completely different identity for each restaurant, showing how unbranding is effectively done, these Heineken bottles still contain the logo on the reverse of bottle which appears in a slightly subtler aesthetic. Yet the idea of how no two bottles are the same successfully shows how the approach steers away from the usual brand style, exaggerating a new sense of character, excitement and commitment to the freedom of unbranding. The illustrative approach also appears across promotional items such as posters and bags.

These playful designs show that ‘unbranding’ can be innovative, artistic and possibly that mass customisation is turning over a new leaf – that global brands are finally communicating with consumers on a different level to offer a sense of belonging.

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