Downbranding: Minimal Design for Maximum Message

Ever watched a business vehicle drive by with so much text there is nowhere for your eyes to focus? It passes by so quickly that all you’re left with is a color swirl and no idea who, or what, just passed you. The same can be said about excessively busy packaging in stores and seemingly, almost, cartoon-ish direct mail pieces. Covering an item with content can be a positive or negative - there is a fine line (probably multiple fine lines). Today we want to talk about why sometimes less is more. Downbranding - the concept that a minimalist approach can do more to inspire consumer interest than traveling around with your brand on full blast.

Take this milk container from Darren Custance as an example:


To us, the large brown box with the iconic white milk bottle and its limited text, allows the product to stand on its own, while its packaging invites you to enter its space and inquire as to what is inside. We imagine the consumer going even further an researching the story of the brand itself. In this case, the packaging here is an impetus for inquiry, not a shelf-side brand storyteller.

Downbranding is all about clarity. It’s also about restraint. It says that the brand believes in its product or service so much that it doesn’t need to shout you down with every bit of information it has to offer. It [the brand] knows there are channels for that, and that their image will lead you to those channels, where you can read, watch and listen to what they are all about. It’s about confidence.

BrandingMarkon Brands