Following the previous crit I have decided to look into some unisex perfumes and bath/body products, looking at the way their design and the branding techniques used to appeal to both genders.
I started off looking at some high end perfumes that are unisex.
This is simple, the gold colour relates to the high end nature rather than a link to such as personality traits. It is interesting that the outlined box is used which is very similar to that used in Jo Malone's branding.
This Dolce & Gabbana fragrance is £185 a bottle so extremely high end. However, I actually feel this has a fairly masculine look with the bulky nature of the bottle, it is more square than curved thus linking to strength. The design is quite simple allowing the brand logo to speak for itself. The colours are similar to the previous focussed on gold colours which again link more to the high end nature.
This on the other hand I feel is far more feminine looking for a unisex fragrance with the lighter colours, the light weight sans serif font and the most feminine looking element being the crystals included on the lid.
These Molton Brown fragrances are both unisex but at first look I presumed the black and silver was a male scent and the gold with the patterned box was a woman's. The bottles themselves however are identical apart from the colour. There is a balance between the simple and straight edged lids and the more curved elements seen in the bottles themselves. This balance is something I will need to consider when I come to design.
At this stage I am starting to realise that even with gender neutral branded products there is still an element of male or female visual representation, because we have become so used to certain things signifying masculinity or femininity. However, these are not using stereotypical language and the links to masculinity and femininity are far more subtle and so would not put off the opposite sex.
I decided to continue looking at Molton Brown but look at the bath/shower products they sell.
This body wash is very simple in design, as Molton Brown products tend to be. It is interesting that the colour of the print on the bottle contrasts well with the liquid inside, this is something to consider as with such bottles the colour of the liquid will be a largely important.
Although this is a pink coloured body wash and named 'Pink Pepperpod', this is linked to the fragrance rather than an 'idea' based on stereotypes. This simplicity and honesty is important and something I want to implement.
The description also is simple and honest, describing the scent as the key factor.
I looked at a few more of the body washes but these followed the same design just with varying colours, but all relating to the scents.
The only imagery on these bottles is the Molton Brown logo mark, which again means there is no stereotypical influence it is about the brand. However, Molton Brown is a fairly expensive brand and so this trusted name has over time gained a very positive reputation and thus the logo alone sells the product. It will be interesting when I come to design as I will not be designing such a high end product and it will not be an established brand.
This soap again is named by the ingredients and includes black peppercorns as an exfoliator. Product design is important here as this is a rectangular block of soap rather than the common curved soaps, however this doesn't make it overly masculine it remains very much neutral due to the other elements not implying stereotypical influence.
Looking at these products has made me realise that balance is a key aspect in terms of gender neutral branding. Where as there may in some cases be no avoiding a slightly more male or female associated link with a visual element, this does not mean that it won't appeal to the other gender. So I will need to consider all the elements of the brand to ensure that it communicates overall as a neutral brand.