Beauty Contest by Design

People may attempt not to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to the beauty world, looks are everything. “A product’s design is...

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Una Notte by Lisette Cosmetics.

Photo By George Chinsee

People may attempt not to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to the beauty world, looks are everything.

“A product’s design is consumers’ first interface with the brand,” said last year’s recipient of the Packaging Executive of the Year award, Kathy Kordowski, vice president of packaging and engineering and marketing services for Avon.

Aside from just good looks, efficacious packaging requires sophisticated engineering and hours of testing to ensure quality.

For this year’s HBA Health & Beauty America’s International Package Design Awards, entries poured in from across the globe — from as far east as Israel and as far south as Peru.

To ensure each subtle detail of packaging design was painstakingly considered, HBA enlisted 100 judges and narrowed down the field of more than 245 nominees to 35 finalists in mass cosmetics, limited cosmetics, mass skin care, limited skin care, mass fragrance, limited fragrance and personal care.

HBA will announce the winners Sept. 28 at its fifth annual industry awards dinner at the New York Hilton. However, to alleviate some of the suspense, WWD asked packaging design expert John Lombardi, president of packaging design consultancy Strategic Retail Development, to select which products he thinks are likely to take top honors at the awards ceremony.

Lombardi, whose design experience includes 10 years at the helm of Revlon’s global creative team, spent the better part of two hours inspecting each of the 35 finalists. He tested hinges, snapped caps on and off, unscrewed lids, pumped sprays and weighed each product in his hands.

Lombardi gravitated toward product design that he said “makes the purchase decision easy” through the use of meaningful messages and aesthetics.

In the personal care category, Lombardi studied each of the five diverse nominees, ranging from toothpaste to deodorant. He quickly narrowed his focus to Shades of Darkness by Fiji Blend, a customizable self-tanning lotion, more for its engineering than its graphics. He marveled at the bottle’s dual chambers and spin-dial cap, which allows users to formulate up to 11 shades.

For limited fragrance, Una Notte, a handcrafted perfume bottle housed in an ornate blue box, immediately grabbed Lombardi’s attention. “This design has taken romance and put it right back into fragrance,” declared Lombardi, adding, “It fulfills the full-bodied fantasy of fragrance, and that is what packaging design is all about.”

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