Think Outside the Box: Product Packaging that Stands Out

At Designoholic, we are suckers for great branding. An easy way to make your product stand out is to design clever packaging that communicates what your brand is all about. We believe that packaging is just as important as the product itself. Marketing your brand through packaging will influence sales and inspire people to learn more about your product.

Designing a simple and functional package is no easy feat, and many companies are looking to professional designers and artists to create the perfect package. We have gathered 5 of our favorite packages over the years that truly go beyond a simple box. Take note of the ingenuity and resourcefulness some of these artists used for their clients.



Hanger-Tea is the perfect example of how to correctly design a product package that is functional. We love this packaging because the tea bags are neatly organized and displayed in what appears to be a closet. The individual tea bags are little T-shirts that hang on to your cup. Designer Soon Mo Kang came up with this masterpiece back in 2010. Each colored hanger represents a different tea flavor. 


Thelma’s Treats

Any creative way to display sweets is right up our alley. Thelma’s Treats is a bakery in Des Moines that specializes in cookies and ice cream sandwiches. They deliver warm delicious cookies straight to your door. We love the box these cookies come in, an oven. When you receive your cookies, you slide the cookies straight out of the over yourself, reminding you that these cookies are fresh and hot. Derick Lewis, the co-owner, decided to name the company after his grandmother, Thelma. Derick knew he wanted to recreate that nostalgic feeling you get when you are at grandma’s house as a child. He decided to go with a 1950’s style oven to help take you back.  


Panasonic Earbud Notes

Back in 2010, Panasonic needed a new way to market their RP-HJE 130 earbuds. What better way to do that than with brilliant packaging? The earphones are packaged and shaped into an eighth music note. The concept was done so well that it won the Cannes Lions Award for its creativity. The design was completed by Scholz and Friends in Berlin. There is nothing particularly special about these headphones, but the packaging had the product jumping off the shelf in 2010. 


CS Lightbulbs

The genius behind these elegant packages speaks for themselves. Designer Angelina Pischikova created these packages for CS, an electrical company in Berlin. She was inspired by the old physics textbooks from Thomas Edison. The detailed images of bugs and the simplicity of the product are the perfect recipe for brilliant packaging. It is important to note that these packages fully show the product, a lightbulb, and it is paired with a similarly shaped bug. We like that each box has a number assigned and that the wattage is easy to see.


Nike Air

This is another outstanding concept done by Scholz and Friends for Nike’s Air shoe. We love that this package challenges the simple cardboard shoebox we have grown accustomed to. This packaging cushions the product and is see-through, properly displaying and protecting the product. The cushioned package also helps tie in the “air” branding. Not to mention, it looks really cool. 

Historic Architecture Transformed into a Contemporary Skate Park

This spectacular church has been redesigned according to every skateboarder’s (and graffiti artist’s) dream. The fantastic colors and geometric shapes accompanied by the curved historical architecture of a Spanish Chapel creates a marvelous work of art. When a skateboarder and a professional artist collaborated, an amazing lovechild named the “Church of Skate” was born.

Decaying Architecture

The church of Santa Barbara in Llanera, Asturias was originally built in 1912. Shortly after the Spanish Civil War in 1939, the church became abandoned. After years of neglect, the church was inhabitable. The wood began to rot and the walls began to crumble, erasing the beautiful architecture with it. It looks pretty sad here, in the state it was found. The tall ceilings and dusty pews were forgotten.

A group of local skateboard enthusiasts was frustrated with the lack of skateboarding parks in the small town of Llanera. Not to mention, the town rains over 200 days a year, making it difficult to skateboard outside. The leader of the pack, Fernández Rey, decided to take the abandoned church and renovate it into a skate park. Rey recalls in an interview with The Guardian that “the walls were stained, paint was peeling and there was dust everywhere.” The group of young entrepreneurs named themselves the “Church Brigade.”

A Colorful Transformation

The Church Brigade hoped to honor the history and architecture of the church by restoring the building into something that would be celebrated and used daily. They took their idea to Okuda San Miguel, a professional graffiti artist from Madrid, to complete the masterpiece that is now known as The Skate Church, or la Inglesia Skate. Okuda specializes in kaleidoscope, colorful masterpieces. His colorful, geometric shapes are well known in Madrid.  San Miguel’s unique, graffiti work is scattered across the city and is easily recognized.

Once San Miguel was commissioned for the proposal, he began looking for ways to raise money to complete his dream project, what he began calling his own “Sistine Chapel.” He turned to crowdfunding on Verkami, where Red Bull began sponsoring the campaign. The project is the most important of his career. He wanted to highlight the church’s architecture while incorporating his own style known as “pop surrealism.” You can check out his full video interview, where he goes into detail about his work and the process for designing the Skate Church.

History Meets Modern Art

The church is officially transformed. The project was finished in December of 2015, where it only took a month for the project to be complete. The Skate Church celebrates the original Romanesque architecture while challenging a culture’s idea of what art can be. The rainbow masterpiece of animal and human faces are beautifully accompanied by half pipes and ramps. The arched windows and curved half pipes are illuminated by San Miguel’s colorful geometric design. Skate Church beautifully merges history and contemporary art in an innovative way that encourages both young and old alike to marvel at its curves.

These Architecture Schools Around the World are Lessons in Themselves

There are thousands of architecture schools around the world, but some universities take pride in the actual building where the design education will take place. Understandably, architecture students value attending schools in which the building is original and beautiful. Considering students will be learning about how to design unique structures, it makes sense that the very building where this learning will occur is unique and visually pleasing.

Some architecture schools have recognized that investing in an outstanding building will allow the structure to be a learning tool in itself. These design schools are an opportunity for students to see first hand how certain materials work together. When a student enters the building, they will able to relate their concepts of architecture to the structure of their very own school.

It is not easy to make a structure that is aesthetically pleasing but also functional for educational purposes. These structures often require many things, but still must abide by the universities’ building rules and regulations. For an architecture school to be functional, there need to be large rooms for lectures and spaces for digital workshops. There are four schools that particularly stand out to us for their industrial yet opulent appearance. These school buildings provide the perfect educational experience for their students while being an outstanding work of art.


McEwen School of Architecture

school architecture

The McEwen School of Architecture is part of Laurentian University in Canada. The structure was designed and constructed by LGA Architectural Partners.  The project was fully completed this year in 2018. This was the first new architecture school for Canada in over 40 years. The building stands out beautifully in downtown Sudbury while also contributing well to the community’s city feel. 

school architecture school architecture

Founding director Terrance Galvin stated that “LGA Architectural Partners designed Laurentian University’s McEwen School of Architecture to prepare young architects for the critical design issues of the 21st Century.” McEwen’s curriculum focuses on designing structures that are environmentally prepared for the future. We love that the wood and glass are so different yet work perfectly together to create an industrial feel.

school architecture

Abedian School of Architecture

school architecture school architecture

The Abedian School of Architecture appears to be from the future and placed on Bond University’s campus. Abedian is located in Queensland, Australia and was completed in 2013. Designed by CRAB Studio, the school stretches long and has 3 stories that help provide a light, breezy feel. Back in 2011, the school held a competition for an architectural firm to earn the rights to design the project. CRAB Studios commented that “the building is a long, airy loft on two to three levels articulated by a series of ‘scoops’: defining structure-enclosures that can be used for casual meetings and ‘crit’ sessions.”

school architecture school architecture

Strasbourg School of Architecture

school architecture

Strasbourg School of Architecture is a critically acclaimed school in France at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture. The building, designed by Mark Mimram, has been referred to as “The Factory” because it is covered it appears to be intricate boxes stacked on top of each other and covered with aluminum. The large windows look out onto the beautiful city of Strasbourg.

school architecture

school architecture

In response to the industrial engineering and design, Mimram commented that “the relationship between structure and envelope has been the foundation of architectural practice since the Gothic age, and since the nineteenth century this has been beautifully expressed through metal structures.” The metal and box-like structures are equally bold and daring. 

school architecture

Melbourne School of Design University of Melbourne

school architecture

Melbourne’s School of Design in Australia was also completed following an international competition for the project’s design. The winners, NADAAA and John Wardle Architects, completed the project in 2014. Both partners came to the table with completely different visions. They decided to collaborate using both distinct perspectives and 6 fantastic industrial stories were created.

school architecture

The project took almost 5 years to complete and has earned a 6 green star rating. On John Wardle Architects website, they stated that the “inherent planning, spatial arrangements and configurations, particular programmatic adjacencies and relationships foster a rich, dynamic environment that becomes a point of stimulus, a catalyst for creativity and inventive design research.” We could not agree more, we love the versatile environment both firms were able to create. 

school architecture

Tjalf Sparnaay’s Hyperrealism Paintings of Food will Leave You Hungry for More

We first stumbled across Tjalf Sparnaay’s work when we found (what we thought was) a picture of a fried egg. One of our designers commented that the lighting was well-done, especially for a photograph of an egg. Upon further investigation, we realized that this was in fact not a photograph, but a painting by Sparnaay. We learned that his up-close paintings of food are widely celebrated and considered an important part of the photorealism movement. His hyperrealistic paintings will leave your mouth watering in disbelief. 

hyperrealism paintings

Self-Taught Hyperrealism

Sparnaay started painting in 1987 and has been perfecting his craft ever since. Born in the Netherlands, he specializes in photographs, illustrations, and paintings. Surprisingly, he has not received any formal training in painting. Sparnaay is inspired by Carel Willink, a Dutch painter who also specialized in realism. Sparnaay learned hyperrealism by practicing and observing other megarealism artists like Ralph Goings and Charles Bell.

hyperrealism paintings

hyperrealism paintings

Simple Foods Made Intricate

Each painting is appealing because they are realistic, but also because they allow the audience to marvel at the beauty in ordinary objects. Sparnaay inflates food and other objects to appear larger than life. As you marvel at his work, you can’t help but ask “is this a photograph or a painting?” The hypnotizing color and attention to detail have left us breathless. On his website, Sparnaay commented that his “paintings are intended to enable the viewer to experience reality once again, to rediscover the essence of the object that has become so common. I wish to reduce it to the DNA of the universal structure in all its beauty.”

hyperrealism paintings

Sparnaay’s work is exhibited across the globe. You can find and buy his original work at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York, the Mark Peet Visser Gallery in the Netherlands, and the PlusOne Gallery in London. He has had 11 solo exhibitions since he began in 1987. One of his hyperrealism paintings can cost over $55,000.

hyperrealism paintings

hyperrealism paintings

Less is More

Sparnaay is also known for the inflated and realistic paintings of objects other than food, but we can’t help but obsess over food art. In an interview with China’s Neweekly, Sparnaay commented that he likes painting french fries the best. When asked why he chooses to paint food, he said that food is an “ordinary subject that comes along with my desire to show people their own common world. If any message, I can bring it better in this way. I love to show people light and dark metaphors which can be seen in all my paintings.”

hyperrealism paintings

Sparnaay beautiful and mouthwatering paintings are praised by art critics and foodies alike. The gigantic paintings of our favorite indulgences take hyperrealism to a whole new level. Is it time for lunch yet?

hyperrealism paintings

hyperrealism paintings

What if Basic Grocery Items Packaging Were Designed by Luxury Brands?

Peddy Mergui, an Israeli artist and designer, recently released a creative exhibit that challenges consumerism as we know it. Wheat is Wheat is Wheat is his latest series, currently on show at the Design Museum Holon from June 5th to October 27, 2018. He takes basic food items, such as eggs and milk, and redesigns the packaging as if our favorite luxury brands produced them. From yogurt by Tiffany & Co to milk by Apple, these stunning works of art challenge our ideas of consumption and marketing.

Luxury Packaging

The packaging of necessities by our favorite luxury brands, such as Nike and Versace speak about consumerism. The Museum of Craft and Design summed it up perfectly, commenting that “By observing Peddy Mergui’s new and improved “luxury” products we may see how brand alignment is perceived by many as acceptance to a status group or an affirmation of successful lifestyle.” Wheat is Wheat is Wheat was awarded a gold medal at the German Design Awards 2016 for Excellent Communications Design in Packaging.

Peddy Mergui channeled is own experiences when designing the series. He moved from Morocco to Israel as a child, and then to Japan as a young adult. Mergui experienced a variety of cultures and their relationships with consumerism. He owns a brand firm himself and has experience with marketing and packaging. Mergui is also a senior professor of design at the Holon Institute of Technology and understands the world of branding and design. He focuses his lectures of packaging and visual communication. Peddy combined his academic understanding of branding and his professional experience leading advertising campaigns to create Wheat is Wheat is Wheat.

Consumerism and Branding

There is no denying that the packaging is beautifully done. Mergui captures the essence of each luxury brand and brilliantly combines them items we buy from the market every day. Each package has a thoughtful design with the luxury brand in mind. Each package is shaped accordingly. Mergui paid attention to each brand’s details, especially in the patterns by Louis Vuitton and Bvlgari. We hate to admit it, but we would probably pay extra for the carton of milk from Apple.

What are we Paying for?

The pickles by Gucci and baby formula by Channel had a few of us giggling because it seems so silly. However, the packaging does raise the question, “would consumers pay more for flour if they thought it came from Prada?” Does a consumer pay more for the quality of the item inside the package or the brand that created it? In an interview with SFGate, Mergui was asked what are consumers truly obtaining with they purchase designer, luxury products. He responded that in his opinion, “they are buying something they lack in themselves. But where is the line drawn and where does that preoccupation become exaggerated and ridiculous?”

Brand refresh or brand redesign?

As a designer, every now and then you’ll get a client complain about their branding. Either they don’t like the color, the font or perhaps they think it doesn’t reflect the company. Either way, they have already set their minds on a redesign. But is throwing their entire identity out the window everytime you get a new idea? No. Definitely no.

Your logo is what sticks to your customer. It’s what your client remembers after he leaves your store or website. It has to inspire confidence in your product or service while representing your companies values. So it would make sense for companies to invest good money into a great logo. In fact, some have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions to create a logo that resonates with their vision.

So we’ve established that logos are important. Good. Then how come companies keep changing them? Well, there’a lot of reasons why a company might choose to update their branding and logo. Maybe they pivoted and offer a different product or service. Maybe the logo didn’t age well. Maybe they want to reach a different audience. Maybe it’s because the old logo was made by the founder’s twelve-year-old nephew who is good with computers. Truth be told, the reason is not important. The execution is.

Now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about how you’d go about getting a new brand. Depending on how major are the changes to your old brand you either find yourself doing a complete rebranding or a brand refresh.


1. Rebranding

This is what most people think of when they think new logo and that’s not a bad thing. There’s a number of reason why a company might go for a redesign. A change in focus, product or service. A big merger. Age. All valid reasons.

What’s important to understand is that everytime you redesign your logo, you will reset the company image that the customers are already used to. So think long and hard before you jump that gun.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words I’m going to show you a couple of rebranding examples

Crackle is a US-based video entertainment provider launched in 2004 and brought to you many great shows including Comedians in cars drinking coffee with Jerry Seinfeld.

Sony acquired Crackle and wanted to represent the merger of the two companies with a brand new logo that has both names. Not everyone loves the new logo but at least there was an idea behind it.

Launched in 2017, is an AWS Lambda performance monitoring tool that helps companies keep costs low while providing actionable information about their serverless environments.


2. Brand refresh

A brand refresh is a great idea when  you just need a breath of fresh air to your company’s branding. The idea is not to have major modifications to the logo, keeping the original idea and feel behind it while playing with the more subtle things, like shade of colors, lines and shadows. This sounds easy but refreshing the look of your brand could be tricky. Here are two brand refresh examples that are worth mentioning.


There you have it. I hope this will provide a little insight into what goes through the mind of a designer when put face to face with the task of updating a companies logo. If you have any examples that you think are worth mentioning please leave a comment below.