• Strong brand identity, great cohesive graphic system, personality
• Modern, whimsical, expressive
• Smart, functional packaging
PACT is an innovative apparel brand that blends iconic design, sustainable textiles and support for powerful social/environmental causes into truly awesome underwear, tshirts and socks. With their shift into new apparel and new environments, Pact needed to adapt the packaging. The solution is an innovative system of boxes, hangtags and stickers to convey PACT’s brand message of sustainability, adaptability and design.
In addition, the packaging is fun and whimsical, expressing what PACT is all about. It distinguishes PACT in retail environments, and educates the consumer along the way.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
One major challenge in designing a retail packaging system for PACT was to create something adaptable and scalable. As the brand grows, both in number of engagements and types of apparel, it needed a system that could span different environments and create a cohesive system across t-shirts, socks and underwear. With multiple designs throughout the year, along with a variety of sizes, the packaging system had to accommodate this evolving offering.
Additionally, the packaging needed to educate consumers about PACT’s brand message. Buyers can read extensively about the company’s values and engagements online, but that can be lost in a retail environment. We needed to ensure the packaging could clearly tell this story.
Lastly, we needed to keep with PACT’s commitment to the environment. The packaging needed to combine sustainability, quality, and fun design to truly extend the PACT brand.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?Because we have worked with PACT for years and helped to build the company to where it is today, we have a unique understanding of the company’s values and missions that helped to inform our packaging designs. As the company grows from being a specifically online underwear brand, to being a full-fledged apparel company sold in multiple retail locations, their needs for packaging evolved with them. However, their brand ethics and message remained the same, and vitally important, so we had to balance telling the brand story, while evolving the packaging structure and design.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
In designing the new packaging for PACT’s retail presence, our main stakeholder considerations were the business itself and the audience. For both parties, communicating the brand values and message was the first priority. When PACT was an online company, their website was able to inform consumers of their social and environmental message that is as vital as the clothes themselves. However, with their shift into retail, we needed to be sure the new packaging designs could tell this same story in a different way.
For the consumer, the packaging is the first touchpoint to a potentially new brand. While the information on each box helps to inform consumers about PACT, we wanted the packaging itself to be a physical manifestation of the company’s values, to help further the message.
To achieve this, the packaging consists of 2 boxes, one for each sex, with separate hangtags and stickers that indicate different styles, sizes and partnerships. With basic branding and messaging printed on boxes, the stickers help to add specifics without requiring an entirely new run of packaging for each new style or campaign. The entire system is made from 100% recycled/recyclable paper and the glue used is biodegradable. Thus, all of the packaging materials are either recyclable or compostable. In designing such a simple solution for PACT, we ensured that as the brand changes and grows, the packaging system could grow with it, negating the need for wasteful re-designs.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Everything we design for PACT needs to represent the brand’s ethics: Nothing artificial or superficial, not with the body, partnerships, or packaging. Our design is both sustainable and adaptable.
The design is more than just responsible; it is fun, approachable and uniquely PACT. The whimsical “thought-bubble” windows on the front of the box expose the expressive prints and colors of the underwear, while also reminding customers of the social and environmental consciousness of the brand. The updated messaging is clearly printed, while colorful stickers help to indicate style, size and, if applicable, the cause the print is for. On the back, a graphic representation of the three basic brand tenets, good design, good fabric and good causes, helps to immediately identify and explain what PACT is. The hangtags carry the same messaging and graphics for the t-shirts, ensuring that even without a box, the brand is still fully represented and explained. The sticker system is also applied here to indicate style and size, creating a cohesive design language across the entire packaging system.
In addition to its iconic expression of the important brand facets of PACT, the packaging system stands out in retail environments. It is unique to the apparel industry, where merchandise is traditionally displayed in a homogenous fashion, whether with plain hangtags or lackluster table displays. With PACT’s system, no matter where the products are shown, they stand out.