I find most personal care product labels unnecessary after purchase. They're designed to shout at you on the shelf and their usefulness pretty much expires as soon as you get them home. I know how to use deodorant and I know it by its shape. I don't need a lot of visual clutter adding to my bathroom counter.
That's why I sometimes peel off labels when I get the product home. (I know this sounds kind of obsessive-compulsive but trust me, it's not like that.) It's a good thing when I find labels that are easy to peel off. Some are, some aren't.
Wouldn't it be interesting if labels and packages were designed not only to sell to you on the shelf, but to be like good children were described decades ago: seen and not heard. Of course, to be heard in this case is to shout a brand name or a swooshy logo at you at the top of its little lungs.
If packaging were designed as much for sitting on a counter as it was for sitting on a store shelf a few things would happen.
- The label would be a temporary feature, lasting only a fraction of the product's life. It would therefore be easily peeled off, even with a corner ready for peeling.
- The pack would be designed to take on a slightly different aesthetic when labelless. Function would give way to form. Perhaps design features would be revealed that were concealed by the label.
- The role of the consumer would change to that of a designer. In other words, the product would have to fit in their world above the counter and therefore pass the muster of other housewares.
- Maybe longer lasting products could be customized. A sleeve for inserting a picture. Or a surface suitable for writing on.
It seems like a good way for a brand to be more than simply a product under the sink or in a medicine chest. If the power balance is truly in the consumer's camp then a brand should allow for people to express their love by ripping off the nameplate and making it their own.
The folks at Method understand the dynamic of above/below the counter but they only look at cleaning products. And while their products are much easier on the eyes they still have labels.
Maybe things like this would start in the bathroom with products that are used daily yet tucked away like hidden secrets behind a mirror. Yeah, that would be a start.