Product packaging is the equivalent of meeting someone for the first time — whether you mean to or not, you immediately make assumptions based on first impressions. And so when founder Lindsay Knaak-Stuart was designing Meant’s branding, she knew the products had to be impressive from the second someone set eyes on them.
But she also didn’t want Meant to look like every other modern beauty brand. Instead, Lindsay found inspiration for Meant’s packaging from everywhere not beauty. “If I was going to stand out in an extremely crowded marketplace, I needed to do something completely different than what anyone else was doing and that’s why I looked to other areas like food and coffee and fashion,” Lindsay says.
She started collecting inspiration on Pinterest boards — one was all beauty, while the other was non-beauty brands she admired. She then handed the boards and an extensive creative brief to Deerfield, a female design agency based in Brooklyn, New York. Lindsay chose the final version of both the logo and creative direction within the first round. The decisions were based on instinct, she says.
Meant’s look is inspired by the crisp and clean lines of Scandinavian and Japanese culture and design. An important component of the branding, though, also has to do with its appeal to both men and women, since Meant is a unisex brand. The color palette — the blues, silver and white — meets that need, while also being aesthetically pleasing in the bathroom.
“No joke, when the agency presented concepts to me and they were on big pieces of paper, I cut out the bottles and I taped them inside of my shower, because I wanted to see what they would look like,” Lindsay says.
Subtle aspects of the packaging separately attract men and women. While Meant is unisex, women mostly purchase the products (and then their partners get intrigued when they see them in the shower). The rose gold foil logo on the packaging is that nod to femininity. And the masculine edge of the branding comes from the the grid pattern seen across the website and secondary packaging, which was inspired by a men’s dress shirt.
Since sustainability is also a significant component of the brand, all Meant packaging is made from post consumer recycled plastic and post consumer recycled paper, with a minimum of 50 percent.
Meant products are also not “overly packaged,” Lindsay says. Only the Absolute Balm and Every Body Bar come in outer packaging, with the balm in a box and the bar in a reusable tin. The idea was that both were giftable. “Some people I know keep their actual bar soap in the shower in the tin, or they use the tin for traveling with their soap,” she says. “I use the tin for paper clips and rubber bands, and my daughter uses the tin for her hair accessories.”
Lindsay says she is glad she invested so much into Meant’s packaging upfront. The only updates she’ll be making are to the Wonder Polish and Absolute Balm tubes, because the current material is stiff and customers have said it’s hard to get the product out.
“Packaging is fun, and it’s the hardest piece to get right I think,” she says. “And my opinion is you only get one chance at a first impression.”