AJAX – New Unified Design

Derrick Lin


Design: JAM
Location: United States
Project Type: Produced
Client: AJAX, Colgate-Palmolive
Product Launch Location: Europe
Packaging Contents: Household spray cleaners
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Plastic

From countertops to appliances, showers to toilets, AJAX household spray cleaners do it all. Now, more than ever, there’s an increased emphasis for consumers to keep their household surfaces disinfected and clean. When Colgate-Palmolive wanted to grow its portfolio of AJAX sprays across Europe, the Global Design Team turned to JAM (Johnson and McGreevy, Inc.), the New York-based branding agency, to collaborate with and create a unified design for its portfolio of cleaning products, making it easier for consumers to find and choose the right product for the job.

When an extensive audit was completed across Italy and France to help determine how consumers shop for cleaners, it became clear that the current line-up was not breaking through. Consumers needed simplification and clear communication about the differences between variants.

“Working with Colgate-Palmolive’s Global Design team, the Optimal 7 multipurpose variants were combined with the specific usage destination products to make it a unified line. The Optimal 7 sub-brand was replaced with variant names and an overarching architecture was established across the entire portfolio,” says Peter Johnson, founder, JAM. Nomenclature was also chosen to align with regional guidelines.

“The category audit clearly defined what consumers were faced with when making their purchasing decisions. To make it easier to navigate the shelf, we created a contemporary look, simplified the design and used color to maximize impact and appeal. Pairing this with contemporary, clean illustrations allowed us to provide clear messaging for each product,” he says.

To cut through the clutter on shelf, the AJAX logo was enhanced by removing the yellow and white swoosh and positioning a white burst above the letterforms on a white background, enhancing the impact of the logo and creating a powerful brand block on shelf. Usage icons were added as visual cues for consumers to help them understand which product they needed and then integrated with a color-coded swoosh to distinguish each variant and depict active cleaning. Product names were also simplified to one or two words. Additionally, incorporating lighter and brighter colors across the line helps to communicate the effortless efficacy of the products.

“In an overly cluttered and polymorphous shelf like that of household cleaners, standing out and facilitating an easy and quick shopper navigation is a real challenge,” says Sofia Kalligeri – Strategy & Innovation Manager EU Colgate-Palmolive. “The JAM team redesigned our Ajax Spray Range in a distinctive way that allowed for the core values of the brand to be communicated through design while delivering the so-much-needed simplicity and clarity of product offer. A great piece of work!”

There are 7 skus currently rolling out across Europe.

The successful rebranding of AJAX was also recognized by the design industry with JAM being presented the American Graphic Design Award for 2020.