Lay’s Debuts First Packaging Redesign in 12 years - Courtesy of Design Thinking
October 31, 2019 | Design Thinking
by ExperiencePoint

Don’t judge a book by its cover? It’s sound advice, but in the retail world, that cover is important. It’s no industry secret that product packaging is what draws consumers in.

Packaging is often the consumer’s first impression of a product. And that impression goes beyond the beauty of the design–we register functionality, too. How often have you opened a bag of chips to find it only a quarter full? Or fumbled with a sticky wrapper you can’t manage to remove? These details reflect poorly on the brand.

That’s why Packaging Strategies argues that packaging design should be a top priority for retail goods.

Some companies, like Toblerone, the Swiss chocolate maker, get it right with iconic packaging that everyone recognizes. Other companies, such as Lay’s chips, rely almost exclusively on brand awareness. They’re confident we know their brand, so they don’t put much stock in updating it.

Recently, however, Lay’s has changed its tune.

Lay’s is a household name with an iconic logo and bright yellow color scheme that everyone recognizes. You could say that their packaging has been on autopilot for a while. That changed this past September when Lay’s debuted their first product-packaging redesign in 12 years.

Katie Ceclan, senior director of marketing at Frito-Lay North America, told Packaging Digest that their new redesign was fueled by design thinking. She stated that PepsiCo and Frito-Lay have taken on an internal mission to prioritize design thinking as they refresh their product line for the next generation.

Empathy, strategy and prototyping are the pillars of Lay’s new approach, which involves collaborating with cross-functional partners and stakeholders to deliver the best possible end product.

The Lay’s rebrand was fueled by social media and a desire to modernize. Ceclan explains, “The objective was to modernize our packaging with a streamlined and intuitive look, while also embracing our natural role to offer even a brief moment of joy in people’s lives through our vibrant packaging, robust flavor and witty personality.”

The major change in Lay’s design may seem minor, but it reflects the taste of the times. It’s all in the angle of the sliced potato displayed on the front of the bag. In 2007, when Lay’s last changed their packaging, the three-quarter angle was standard for food photography. Now, the trend is top-down.

How did Lay’s get the idea for this shift in point of view? They were inspired by food pictures taken by their own consumers on Instagram and Pinterest.

The top-down angle parallels how consumers see the chips on their plate. Ceclan feels that this new angle will resonate with the times, echoing the craze for Instagram food pics.

In other words, Lay’s looked at what consumers are doing, empathized with their social media interest and reflected that experience in their new design.

Lay’s hip redesign is just another example of the way human-centered thinking can help companies trample on old habits and blaze new paths for growth. In a supermarket aisle packed with chip brands, a package that stands out, and looks completely of-the-moment, will grab the most attention.

Want to learn more about the impact of design thinking on the retail industry? Read our post on the bath and beauty brand Lush and their customer-centric innovations.


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