Distinctive Packaging Inspiration Volume 1


Distinctive Packaging Inspiration Volume 1

Distinctive packaging can not only make or break the success of a brand, but it also acts as brand growth multiplier. Get it right and it can drastically improve the chances of success. It grabs attention on shelf to help get picked up, it jumps out within advertising to be noticed, and it stands out at home to refresh memory structures. This all works together in a glorious synergy with a compounding effect to help grow the brand. Here are some examples of best in class distinctive packaging, some iconic and well known, others just stand out pieces of design in their category.  

San Pellegrino

The San Pellegrino label is one of the best examples out there of how a small(ish) tweak is able to make a product so vanilla as a drink can become distinctive. Several stories over the years lay claim to the reason. Whether that be the foil signifying the peeling back of an orange, or helping to save the can from the hot Mediterranean sun – however the most logical explanation perhaps being it just protects the can top while offering a level of premium-ness (to go along with the price point). In any case, it has proved to be a masterstroke.


A great example of pack shape & brand icon working together. The bottle harps back to a bottle of ye olde, standing out from others in the category. I’m sure the innovation team behind the bottle had to stand their ground when justifying the complexity & additional costs the holder brought, many a distinctive element has been lost to this battle with creativity losing out to rationale short term commercial thinking. The real magic of the brand however is in their use of a kraken across all channels, it is such a flexible asset that can be used in many ways. The perfect example of brand doubling down and playing with their DBA.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

“Design is a source of life enhancement” so said Kenji Ekuan, designer of Kikkoman Soy Sauce. As well as becoming something of an icon in the product design world for its timeless shape and dripless spout, its distinctive pack has helped make Kikkoman an incredibly salient brand for anyone purchasing soy sauce.


Did you know the Toblerone shape is (supposedly) copied after the awe inspiring Matterhorn Mountain? Neither did we. This is one example of distinctive assets coming from some part of the brand history/origins/heritage, but one must ask does it really matter? The effect of DBAs on driving salience is also of note with Toblerone. Why oh why do we feel the need to buy triangle based chocolate only when in an airport? This is a great example of when DBAs and Category Entry Points combine, two critical areas in marketing science elevated by the great work of Jenni Romaniak and Byron Sharp of the Ehrenberg Bass Institute.

Cook Home

Wonderful design from Cook Home sauces by design agency mousegraphics. We love the way they used a common element but made it their own to help stand out on shelf, not to mention the consistency across the range.


Is there a more iconic condiment pack than Tabasco? That little bottle of fiery goodness which is found in restaurants all over the world. The bottle is still modelled after the cologne-style bottles used for the first batch of sauce, the consistency with moderate evolution over the years is a thing of beauty.


What happens to you when you see someone munching on this shape snack?

Once you pop you just can’t stop. Pringles have led the way in the chips/crisps/snacks category with their unique packaging (although now copied), mascot, ad slogans and even the chip conformity. While not afraid to evolve their branding over the years, Pringles have been careful in not making too drastic changes.

Hrum&Hrum (Concept Design)

Unfortunately just a concept design, it deserves inclusion as exactly what every new product should strive for, something which just stands out on shelf!


The Cadbury purple, an incredible hard working device for the brand. Consistency over the years along with a distinctive pack range strategy has allowed Cadbury become synonymous in several countries for chocolate. While not distinctive from a shape or feature perspective, it deserves a place on this list for its consistency and ruthlessness over time.

Farma Pafylida

Superb example from Greek egg brand Farma Pafylida which looks very different from any other egg carton you see on supermarket aisles around the world. A perfect example of standing out from your category competitors by going against the grain whilst still feeling somewhat familiar to the category, make the familiar unfamiliar! 

What other distinctive packaging would you have on the list? For more distinctive packaging inspiration, check out volume 2 here.