Some brands enumerate to differentiate between product varieties.
Others number their packaging to show a recommended sequence of product use, making “instruction” a key brand component.
And, for some brands, numbering products gives them an air of hi-tech modernity, as if their products were software upgrades. This idea, however, is not really so new…
No Venetian nights or dreams of Samarkand for the resolutely modern Coco when she launched her extraordinary perfume in 1921. She named it “Chanel No. 5,” as if she were an aviator and this were her flying machine—like the Voisin III or the Biériot XI, two famous airplanes of her time. The world was mad for numbers in the early decades of the last century. Numbers meant setting records and calculating profits. Culture might do without mathematics, but modern life could not.
…in 1926 Vogue alluded to an American context for Chanel’s modernity. Recognizing the radical aspect of her “little black dress,” the editors, beneath an illustration in the October 1 issue, noted its affinity to that ubiquitous and thrilling invention, the automobile: “The Chanel ‘Ford’—the frock that all the world will wear—is model “817,” of black crepe de Chine.
…From Henry Ford’s assembly line to the arrangement of tiny tucks across the front of Chanel’s dress was but a small step for Vogue, the two seemingly disparate realms linked by the cachet (if not the reality) of mass consumption. it was not just the automobile industry but also the fashion business itself that offered a numerical poetry.
…Chanel, in effect, restored the utilitarian system of numbering …
Kenneth E. Silver, Flacon and Fragrance: The New Math of Chanel No. 5
Chanel (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Here are 6 interesting examples of this trend, arranged in a countdown hierarchy.
(Details of each, after the fold…)
6. Talia Cohen’s 2008 “Grind Coffee” packaging:
The packaging is flavor/strength and color/number coded.
5. Verso skin care’s packaging by Today Creative (now named “The Studio“) counts down 5 products with backwards numerals.
You know else uses cool, backwards typography? Us.
4. Espulga + Associates designed this packaging for Mesoestetic’s line of men’s skin products in 2010.
The numbers represent the steps involved for treatment.
3. As in the previous example, the numbers in Kate Carmack’s 2013 redesign of Proactive also represent the “steps involved for treatment.” Here, however, the numbers a playfully abstracted…
The minimalist design highlights Proactiv’s very simple 3-step process, and the geometric, interlocking numbers suggest that each step is akin to a puzzle piece; integral to the completion and efficacy of the system.
2. From 2010: packaging for Kin One & Two designed by Jeffrey C Meakins in collaboration with the Cinco brand and product teams and Michael Prstojevich from Mostar Studio.
Kin was a short-lived Microsoft mobile phone with social networking features. I’m not sure why there needed to be 2 versions. The duality of Kin One/Kin Two, reminds me a little of Thing One and Thing Two.
At any rate, the duality of the product created a good opportunity for duality in the design and color of its award-winning packaging.
See also: Yin, Yang & Packaging Design
1. And the envelope, please… the number 1 package of our numerical packaging countdown is number1package® the brand.
The brand, called number1package™, includes clamshell style containers that are clear, strong, and durable. Perfect for food service applications such as deli salads, spreads, sandwiches, fresh cut fruit, cookies and green salads, the containers have an attached lid that is water tight to keep foods fresh longer and are also re-sealable. The containers are made from 100 percent recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) clear or green soda bottles. The containers are embossed with the new logo to help convey the value of the material to consumers and recyclers.
Not sure why they persist in giving the number1package logo a ™. The document below shows that the trademark is registered. Doesn’t that qualify a logo for an upgrade to ®?