Shampoo Brand Finesses Its Look

The idea: Oh, the ’80s. For Finesse, it was a decade of big hair and equally big sales for then-parent company Unilever. But the bargain brand’s taken a bit of a beating since its heyday, and 2008 was time to contemporize with a redesign that could double as a way to slash costly printing bills.  “With the recession, we’re going to see some people jump from their $20 shampoo to the $3 brand they remember and love to smell,” said John Nunziato, creative director for design agency Little Big Brands, which is based in Nyack, N.Y. “It was time to jump off that bottom shelf.”

The thinking: Lornamead, which acquired Finesse in 2006, needed to simplify the brand’s icon, which represented the products’ “self-adjusting” properties. The complex symbol resembled a pinwheel in motion to visually convey how Finesse’s shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays and other haircare products adapt to create “consistently beautiful hair.” However, the packaging was saying that rather expensively, with tons of print overlap and as many as eight colors used to create one icon. Three different printing processes were needed to create the plastic bottles and aluminum and steel cans.

How was it created:
“The first thing we did was take their existing logo and we redrew it—we finessed the Finesse logo,” Nunziato said. “It had a lot of squiggly bits, so we simplified the curves and made it easier to read.” The design team chose a clean, contemporary font to convey  pretty much all of same product information, but changed the information hierarchy and organized the copy into a smaller space to enhance readability and to save on label costs. The new and improved “self-adjusting” icon? It can be printed using one color and still resembles an intricate pinwheel in motion. Pamela Long, director/client services said, “We wanted to keep some of that equity.”

Little Big Brands’ design overhaul allowed Lornamead to cut some costs and save resources. While it may not look like it from the drab imagery above, the agency was able to reduce the number of print colors used on the final Finesse packaging (below). Also, new labels and caps were designed with new bottle shapes in mind so they can be used with two different sizes of products. Again, less is more.

Silver lining:
The company saved money and also got to splurge. “By bringing the number of colors down, we were able to use silver to give it a little more pop on shelf,” Long said. “Now, the brand looks and feels proud,” director Nunziato added.