Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Colman's Mustard and Penguin Books

Every year, corporate logos and their applications are changed, revised and completely redesigned. Sometimes, these changes are necessary and welcome to the consumer. They can also present a rude awakening that make you wonder why it was ever decided that they should be changed.

As a consumer and a designer, I can see both sides. I enjoy seeing the design world always changing and developing. I also hate when brands I recognize change just when I was starting to recognize them without effort.

Two brands that have a recognizable logo and style but have not made major changes for the consumer are Colman's Mustard and Penguin Books. Both also have beautiful packaging.

I love the details and bold colors used on the tin package. The typography and illustrations are also amazing! They are very decorative and yet this package stands out as being very simple and classic when comparing it to others on the shelf. The design was added to the bottles and tins in 1855 and it has remained the same ever since.

Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935. The logo has undergone some minor changes over the years, but without completely confusing the consumer. The orange has remained and the publisher has always had a host of great designers, turning out some amazing covers.

There is even a great book called "Penguin by Design: A Cover Story, 1935-2005." It features some of the amazing book covers over the years.

Logos and identity systems will inevitably change as the world around them changes. As a designer, it is a great lesson to keep in mind. How do you create a design that is classic and can withstand minimal changes? Is something modern or traditional the best approach for longevity? There is no right answer for these questions. Look around and appreciate the identities that have remained the same for the most part. Why are they successful?

Beer Bottles

A couple of Christmas celebrations ago, I created a special gift for my older brother. Inspired by a project from work, I hunted down and packed a wooden crate with beers from around the world. Each one was chosen based on its original location and its interesting packaging. It was called, "Mark travels around the world in 20 beers." Needless to say, it was a big hit! All of the beers were found at the great Surdyk's Liquor in Northeast Minneapolis. It was such a fun experience to go through all of the bottles and choose the most interesting and tasty.

After that experience, I became even more aware of the amazing packaging out there for beer bottles. I began to compile images of some of my favorites and wanted to share them here. Of course, the packaging does not always make the beer. Some of the best beers do not have the best designed bottles and visa versa. As a designer, I am biased towards what looks good, but for someone like my brother, the taste of the beer is what is worth buying.

Creative gift ideas can sometimes provide the best ideas for other creative inspiration that you can use in your design work later.