Magazine article Marketing

Flora Flourishes on Design

Magazine article Marketing

Flora Flourishes on Design

Article excerpt

Flora flourishes on design

The design man had fielded the question before. "Just why does it take over two years and a |lot of money' to create a redesign for Flora margarine which nobody is supposed to notice?"

"If the changes seem slight that's terrific," says creative director Howard Milton in defence of the project which is due to appear on shelf next month. "What we've got now is the definitive Flora logo."

In fact, Unilever-owned Van Den Berghs, Flora's parent company, is not alone in investing time and effort (and millions of pounds) in changing the odd twiddle and twirl on its public face. ICI and BP have both been vilified in recent years for extravagance. And Milton, of design company Smith and Milton, says the Flora redesign was more of a corporate project than a straight packaging job.

But as the chemical giants argued at the time and Flora is arguing now, the work is about much more than just the end product. First came all the detailed research which helped the companies to understand how consumers felt about Flora and what they understood by Flora values.

The new logo, with its very own typeface, will appear right across the fast expanding range of Flora products, from the 27-year-old polyunsaturated fat, through the low-salt and low-fat varieties, to the cheese alternative and range of salad dressings. The Flora Food Company, set up last year to drive forward the development of healthy, non-margarine products will carry the new design, as will all corporate literature.

But why did Van den Berghs start the redesign in the first place, when its own research suggests consumers liked the old pack - introduced in 1986 - just the way it was? "You could ask if it's not broken, why fix it?" says Flora Group brand manager, Neil Wickers, "but we didn't want to get into a situation where it might be broken."

Flora was facing three problems with its existing pack. First, as the brand grew into a 165m [pounds] range of products, inconsistencies emerged. Different companies designed different products. Packaging for Flora margarine, Flora Extra Light and Reduced Salt packs came from different drawing boards; inevitably, irregularities arose.

Second, the design had inadvertently evolved over time. There were slight variations between pack sizes, for example. In some cases letters on the logo had merged, or the elements of the pack sat in marginally different positions. …

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