Break Your Own Rules

Philip VanDusen
Nov 14, 2019 · 2 min read

Fem Hy is what the CPG industry calls products in the feminine hygiene category.

These products use a strict visual “language” in the packaging. All white and pastels. Flowers and daises. Sparkles and sprites.

Why do package designers use that language? Because white and pastels communicate “clean and fresh”, what women want in these products. Consumers expect to see that on Fem Hy packaging.

Kotex owns the feminine hygiene aisle. Hell, they created that language. But when they were about to launch a new product they were confronted with a challenge. How were they going to stand out when everyone is using the same “language”?

Not only stand out from their competitors, how would they stand out from themselves?

The answer? Black. Kotex shocked the Fem-Hy world by creating a line of products packed in predominantly black packaging. Sure, they had a few bits of color and spritely shapes on the pack, but it was still black. Black in an aisle of white.

Let’s just say it stood out.

We all can get stuck in a rut. Using the same old visual language over and over. But if you want to turn heads, if you want to make an impression, sometimes you have to break even your own rules.

Yes, you need to stand out from the competition, but you may also need to stand out from yourself.

Philip VanDusen is the owner of Verhaal Brand Design, an agency that leverages strategy and design to build brands for companies and entrepreneurs. Get more from Philip in his newsletter brand•muse, join 186k subscribers on his YouTube channel or connect with Verhaal on Facebook.