Rizla Packaging | 1866
Dating back to the 17th century, Rizla rolling papers are a staple in modern packaging design. Having been left almost unchanged, the classic Rizla branding remains one of the longest running typographic trademarks in the world. The typeface continues to serve its customers and brand identity with its instantly identifiable design.
The packaging features the word “Rizla”, the word being made up of a combination between ‘Riz’ meaning rice in French and “La” for Lacroix followed by a somewhat ecclesiastical looking cross which derives from its creator Pierre Lacroix who’s second name translates to the ‘The Cross”. The text is coloured in a rich gold, outlined with a thin strip of white with a slight drop shadow effect also applied. This is usually placed upon a rich red background which gives the piece a sense of value and worth, gold at the time and even today was highly desirable and red almost conveys the idea of royalty. Pair this with the typeface used by Rizla and the packaging appears authoritative and archaic as a result of the almost constructivist style of text.
Knowing that the company began in 1866, a period where packaging design was an afterthought and most of the emphasis was placed upon functionality, it is impressive when looking at the complexity and depth of the print techniques used by Rizla.
Rizla holds an important place in its historical context, the idea of rolling tobacco in a paper skins had previously been unthought of, making it a truly revolutionary concept. In 1532 Pierre Lacroix realised the potential of marketing the papers after trading some for an expensive bottle of champagne. The brand’s rich heritage dates through the Napoleonic period, with napoleon himself granting the Rizla brand the authority to produce papers for his troops.
In terms of design, it must be said that looking at a current skin packaging against a more dated pack shows that the rizla brand has gone through iteration rather than innovation. For the most part the typeface and iconic cross branding has left mostly untouched for centuries.
The design has lasting appeal to this day; the slight perspective tilt, the neat drop shadow and almost constructivist font and colour scheme all add up to create a sense of quality and trust that people will associate with the Rizla brand.