“Timeless, unisex and modern”? Schauma in new design – design diary

The hair care brand Schauma, which is sold by Henkel Group under the umbrella brand Schwarzkopf, has recently received a new design. The packaging of the entire product range as well as the brand logo has been given a makeover.

Schauma was first introduced to the German market in 1949. According to Henkel, Schauma is the best-selling hair care brand in Germany. In other countries, Schauma is known by the names Supersoft (UK), Glem Vital (Austria) and also Schwarzkopf Shampoo (Netherlands). The last major relaunch of the brand was in November 2007. The classic shampoo has now been rebranded. The new design is more minimalist and sustainable, as Henkel says in the press release.

Excerpt from the press release

Timeless, unisex and modern: From February 2022, the love brand Schauma will emerge with a completely new design with a special focus on customer needs. A new, emotionally charged logo in line with the value of the foam brand and minimalist packaging with clear communication of hair type and product benefits makes it easier to choose the right foam product. The relaunch is visually convincing with its monochromatic design: the lid and bottle are designed in the same color and leave room for the illustration. The way consumers are approached is also adapted to the new design: Consumers are addressed directly and emotionally on the back of the packaging and are thus able to find their perfect shampoo fit.

In addition to the product design, the ingredients / recipe have also been improved, and according to the company, the packaging has been made more sustainable. The new opaque bottles are made of 50% recycled plastic, while the clear bodies are made of at least 98%. The caps would also be made from 25% recycled plastic from now on. All bottle bodies are also reduced in weight.

Foam strength and vitality - before and after
Foam power & vitality – before and after, image source: Henkel, image montage: dt

As is usual in packaging design, Schauma’s packaging has been changed many times before. Such a comprehensive adjustment as it is now made is much rarer. The redesign at Schauma includes not only changed labels, but also new bottle shapes and a changed brand logo. However, not the new Schauma letter, but the changed imagery is the most noticeable change in this case. With the shift away from a photographic representation (woman, man, child, family) to illustrative images (plants, fruits), the brand is turning away from the style that has been typical and identity-forming for Schauma for decades.

Rebranding was created in collaboration with the agencies Baries (Düsseldorf) and Bodo Warden (Mönchengladbach). The graphic / colorful redesign is initiated by Baries, while Bodo Warden is responsible for the structural redesign (three-dimensional design and optimization of the bottles).

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In addition to focusing on sustainability / environmental awareness, manufacturers of beauty and care products increasingly seem to be preoccupied with one topic in particular: gender design. Three years ago, Beiersdorf partially removed the classic woman / man segmentation for the 8 × 4 brand and at the same time changed the product range to a more gender-neutral packaging design. The Schauma brand is also responding to this development.

From now on, all photographic images of people will disappear from the Schauma packaging. Many people use these as an eye-catching differentiation feature for orientation and product selection. Following a debate on equal rights, inclusion and visualization of gender identities, which has intensified in recent years and which is located beyond the bisexual system, manufacturers face the challenge of necessarily segmenting their products in lines on the on the one hand, while having the right to the associated differences visually communicate without excluding specific gender identities. In terms of packaging design, we are still at the beginning of this development. The concepts and visual “solutions” that the manufacturers offer are similarly immature, that is at least my impression.

The fact that only women or men are not depicted in one place prevents the associated binary gender system from manifesting. On the other hand, the subdivision into products intended for women or men (“Men”) is maintained within the product lines. 8 × 4 makes it very similar, by the way. On the one hand, such a measure is inconsistent, on the other hand, the fact that the problem has simply moved is apparently overlooked.

Because the core is: the brand’s redesigns done at Schauma or 8 × 4 are by no means inclusive. If photographic characteristics are omitted and gender-specific designations partially recede into the background, only the colors remain as a visually differentiating feature. For many people, color is NOT a sufficient differentiator Five percent of the German population suffers from color blindness (achromatopsia). A product range in rainbow colors, such as the one also available at Schauma, means the round one fire mio People may not recognize some of these products as different at first glance. A fact that deserves much more attention, especially in information design. I recommend the article “End of the Rainbow?”. Photos, if they contain real differentiators, are immensely useful for all these people.

As for the “stimulus color” pink, a little has changed with the redesigns at Schauma, 8 × 4 & Co. If a color spectrum in the area of ​​black, gray, blue, green is still available for “men” products, while in other product lines (aimed at female consumers) a red-yellow color climate prevails or pastel and cream colors are used, it will remain so more or less in the attribution: pink = woman. This visual attribution is likely to remain with us for decades to come, despite all efforts to achieve equality. Just as people’s desire to assure themselves of their identity and to have it confirmed will persist. This aspect of marketing is addressed under the concept of “self-verifying consumption” in academic studies as well as in the literature.

If you like, you can dive further into the topic in the dt article “Gender design – between freedom of choice and manipulation”.

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