the purpose of design

Design Approach: 3 Incredible Brands that Stand Out in their Approach to Design

What do Coca-Cola, Nike, and Disney have in common?


The design and packaging of their products appeal to their target audience incredibly.


Think about it: the dreams you sell through your products are the solutions to the existential angst and insecure feelings of your consumers, but the first glance consumers get of your product is through what envelops the thing you are selling, not the thing you’re selling itself.  Design matters more than ever. When designing, consider what your consumers’ goals and needs are; what they are lacking in their life right now that your product can offer. For example, IKEA offers simplicity and this shows in the packaging design of their food and beverage products


Thus, just like how the famous Swedish furniture makes use of minimalistic styles and designs to stand out in the global market, the following brands we will outline next utilize great design ideas in their packaging, ensuring that they remain unique in their presentation. By learning from these brands, you will stand out even more amidst your competitors.


1. Brand #1: CocaCola’s Design

the iconic coca-cola glass bottle on a mattress, close-up.

The original Coca-Cola bottle, a pop icon whose design has been glamorized by Andy Warhol.

It’s just a sugary drink…marketed extremely well. The truth is that Coca-Cola doesn’t just taste good—its packaging looks good too. And by packaging, we don’t just mean the iconic contour of their classic bottle. Way back in 1923, The Coca-Cola Company standardized its famous logo, giving them more than a century to embed their logo in the minds of consumers. What are you waiting for then? Invent your own brand logo right now and let time do the work. And if you have the time, set your brand apart by designing something similar to the vintage Coke bottle: the design should be refreshing, like what a bottle of Coke does to you. 

Coca-cola mini and sprite mini in a fridge.

Designing a mini version of your product may lead to your next big win. Image courtesy of Zety Akhzar on Shutterstock.

And to play around with their huge influence on pop culture, they came out with smaller-sized cans of Coca-Cola. These mini cans are not only cute and therefore appeal to millennials who want to appear trendy— Going mini has also been a great way to market Coke to their fans who may have become a little health-conscious, thus steering them back towards staying loyal to their brand.


Last but not least, although the iconic Coke bottle is no longer as mass-produced as it used to be, Coca-Cola USA began printing the most highly-occurring names in their core markets on the red labels of their plastic bottles, in the hopes of driving engagement and sales. Indeed, individualization helps brands to get personal with their target audience. When your target audience feels connected to your brand identity, they would be willing to join in conversations on your social media, which in turn helps build brand awareness and your own brand community.


By the way, ever wondered why Coca-Cola has red as its main color? We think it’s because Coca-Cola wants their brand to be about excitement, ambition, confidence, and a sense of bold, youthful energy.


One last non-packaging-related tip from Coca-Cola: offer more than just Coke, such as water, juice, milk, and sports drinks to keep up-to-date with current demands. Apparently, Coca-Cola’s Dasani purified water is available in cans instead of bottles— talk about packaging as a way to truly stand out.


2. Brand #2: Nike’s Design 

Nike shoe box design, white.

Minimalistic packaging in design isn’t just for tech brands.

Nike is a genius because unlike other brands, it’s not afraid to go all out in communicating their beliefs, be it inclusivity, the power of action (Just Do It), or a sustainable future. Their checkmark logo on every Nike product symbolizes the power of action, and every Nike ad makes people feel empowered with faces of determined women of color and athletes looking into the distance, ready for anything. It is also very clear that Nike has chosen to feature famous sports celebrities of all races and levels of achievement, thus highlighting their commitment to the idea that sports empowers everybody. 


Similarly, your design should be inclusive, such as by offering a range of your products that are suitable for pregnant women. Nike’s decision to design a maternity sportswear collection sets them apart from other sports brands.


Like Nike, be sure to design your ads, content, and entire campaign to include not just men, but women, and not just those of European ancestry, but all ethnicities and races. 


But perhaps the most incredible design choice made by Nike is their effort in designing their shoes to look environment-friendly, which matches their core value of being a brand that supports sustainability.


However, Adidas is catching up with them, with its Adidas X Parley shoes made entirely from plastic waste from the ocean. The shoes themselves have a distinct ocean look too. Moreover, Adidas’ Futurecraft Strung shoes, which will be out in 2021, are robot-woven shoes that fit athletes’ exact stride and foot shape. All this means is that Nike might have to brainstorm ways to beat Adidas’ lightweight, futuristic, and recyclable products.


Lesson: Do stay up-to-date with the latest trends, such as multiculturalism and empowerment in advertising and the incorporation of technology and sustainability when innovating your products and services.


Nike Shoes-shaped waffles with berries and syrup on a plate

Chefs can also help in a footwear brand’s overall design, especially in content creation.

Now isn’t this food design a great way to attract followers to Nike’s Instagram account?


3. Brand #3: Disney’s Design

With its animated motion pictures and feature films, lovable characters, memorable stories, cute merchandise (toys and books), travel resorts, and exciting theme parks, there is no doubt that Disney is the master of brand experience. Disney makes the hearts of both adults and children melt. Why? That’s because this world-class Mickey Mouse-led brand focuses on touching audiences’ hearts and on making people happy with magical experiences whether in the form of stories or theme park rides—and hey, everyone wants to feel happy. Besides, happy customers are loyal customers: When you have happy customers who are engaged with your entertaining content, customer retention increases, which in turn reduces your marketing costs in the long-run


More specifically, Disney’s designs center around magic and happiness. Falling in love, following one’s dreams, and staying true to who you are and what you want—all these magical elements are what every human desires and Disney captures all of those things when designing their cartoon characters and stories. 


Lesson: Whether you’re designing a car or website, the final product should a) mirror your target audience’s wishes and goals and b) make them feel happy and delighted at having such a wonderful experience. And of course, always deliver the experiences you promise to deliver.

Disney princess Tiana and prince, baking, animation design.

What do Tiana and her prince make you feel in this drawing? Most likely, that dreams do come true! Art is also design.









Conclusion on Design

There is design in every aspect of your brand, from logo design, websites, advertising, and especially packaging, if you’re selling products such as make-up or food. Design your packaging to be as iconic and refreshing as Coca-Cola, as sustainable and inclusive as Nike, and as magical and joy-inducing as Disney. And of course, these three brands keep up with consumer trends, be it the desire for smaller cans, more environmentally-friendly sneakers, or stories with happy endings (which will most likely be a permanent consumer demand).

If you’re hungry to learn more about design, reach out to us HEREOtherwise, read more about the best 10 branding and design trends for your business in 2020.

We’re glad you enjoyed this article.