Has globalisation canned creativity?

A can of orange drink takes a journey around the world in design and branding.

Do you fear that the internet and its globalising effect will take away our sense of identity? It is easy to believe that the invasive influence of worldwide connectivity could bring a bland uniformity to art and design. In a bid to explore trends in design around the world, Nuprint undertook an experiment. Taking 12 designers from 12 countries around the world, they asked for the label for a can of orange carbonated drink.

If our fears are to be founded, then there will be none of the diversity of design we have grown used to when shopping in a foreign land. Artists, taking influence from the material they consume in the digital sphere, will offer a similar vision of a can with an orange on the front.  However, barring the noticeable language difference, Nuprint discovered that the packaging design remained distinct to the country of origin. 

Here we take you on a trip around the world, stopping off in six of the countries who offered designs. How will a can of carbonated orange drink represent a national identity?

United Kingdom

The Brits offered a typically humorous approach to the labelling of a carbonated drink. That the target market was established as a younger generation makes for a strong influence on the bright red and striking design. It is a nod to the overcrowded drinks market in the UK and a need for a competing vibrant design.

United Arab Emirates

There could be nowhere more culturally different to the Brits than the UAE. Here the design is much simpler, with a clean and classic focus on the orange itself. The design is generally quite chilled out – a recognition maybe that the prime audience for such a drink would be beach-loving tourists.

Nigeria

Fruit imagery dominated this African-influenced design. The emphasis seems to be on the natural ingredients and away from any sense of artificiality in the product. However, as in the UK, bright and attractive colours are dominant.

Canada

The Canadian designer offered a much more mature branding for the orange drink. Like with the UAE, there is a chilled out vibe to the design, but there is a sense that the can needs to be different from what exists before to stand out in a crowded market.

Bulgaria

The Bulgarian designer was much more influenced by the culture of Bulgaria than other designers. The use of the traditional, national craft of weaving in the font is a nod to an individualised sense of culture.  If you were travelling through the country, you would be pleased with the feeling of otherness that you experienced in this packaging.

Indonesia

Similar to Nigeria, where there was an emphasis on the natural, in Indonesia the colours were paler and less artificial than western countries. The use of handwriting in the font adds to the artisanal feel of the label, which suggests wholesomeness.

What does this mean for designers?

This experiment by Nuprint demonstrates that cultural identity still influences the design of the packaging. Globalisation and the internet may have brought us closer together; however, the target market’s sense of identity is still distinct.

Therefore, while the cans from around the world all shared imagery of fruit and the use of the orange colour, which should be expected, each country brought in a unique element representing an aspect of national identity.

Gavin Killeen is managing director of NuPrinta leading packaging provider based in the UK.

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