Derrick Lin


Designed by FROST*, Australia.

Frost* tackles massive package redesign project for Woolworths South Africa’s house brand ranges.

Woolworths South Africa has begun rolling out its Essentials range of supermarket items, the first phase of a complete packaging overhaul being undertaken across all lines within the retailer’s portfolio of house brands. The mammoth task is being overseen by celebrated designer Vince Frost, recently appointed as the company’s Creative Director.

The initial stage of the Essentials range packaging project takes in more than 150 lines including dairy, produce, meat and poultry, cereals, beverages, dry goods, biscuits, bakery goods, frozen foods, household cleaning, laundry and personal care products. Woolworths Essentials are high-quality, basic staples set at entry price points and according to Frost, the strategy behind the work is not only about contemporisation, but ensuring the packaging communicates the quality which defines the very essence of the Woolworths brand too.

“Woolworths has never done anything like this before,” said Frost. “But the sheer scale of this packaging redesign project, which will ultimately encompass more than 5000 items, makes Woolworths a global leader in this field.”

Managing the execution of the Essentials range packaging is Quan Payne, a Design Director seconded from the Frost* studio in Sydney. He is working alongside the team based at the Frost designed in-house studio, at Woolworths HQ in Cape Town and a number of established local agencies.

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Payne explains the design ethos driving the development of the news packs in the Essentials range. “We’re really aiming to underline Woolworths’ philosophy of ‘the difference’, by embedding good, thoughtful design into the brand through packaging.”

“There is a unique idea behind every single product and that is a real innovation in house brand packaging design. Each idea expresses the function or benefit of that individual product.”

Whilst generic or house brand lines are often devoid of any personality, the new Woolworths Essentials range uses design to inject a sense of energy and life. Simple, bold typography and the use of elements like photography and graphic shapes, aim to speak to the consumer in an engaging, intelligent way. Colour is also used in category-leading ways, to differentiate variants within the lines.

The new Essentials range is appearing on Woolworths shelves over the coming months, whilst Frost and his team embark of the next phase of the packaging redesign work.