Created by potrace 1.12, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2015

How different is different?

Combining computer science and marketing strategy to give designers a basis to justify and communicate the best product appearance for maximum impact.

When creating successful products designers must balance the distinctiveness of new products while also maintaining their recognisability and brand identity. When designing branded products designers and marketing personnel often struggle to understand the changes that need to be made in product appearance to reflect a certain marketing strategy. In this project, we researched ways to more objectively review product appearance to allow designers to justify their work in the terms best understood by marketers. The end goal being to help find the “sweet spot” between distinctiveness and brand identity.

This project focused on beer packaging. Working with Crown Lager we were able to define the Crown design DNA and how it has evolved over the lifetime of the Crown Brand. From there we could define the types of design changes to make depending on market conditions. We also reviewed the state of Crown’s major competitors and were able to specify the type of styling changes that would best help Crown to innovate their product without alienating loyal customers.

By using state-of-the-art 3d shape analysis and visualisation techniques we could create measures for difference or innovativeness of appearance. These could then be used to improve the way that designers communicate and to create more accurate design briefs that can be understood across design, marketing and management. Analysis techniques are then presented as a tool that designers can continue to use themselves over subsequent evolutions of product design.


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Dr. Charlie Ranscombe

Charlie is an interdisciplinary researcher working in product design and new product development in the field of aesthetics and product brand...

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