Ki Sunscreen by Akin, New Zealand
Opinion by Richard Baird
Ki Sunscreen was developed by national skincare clinic Caci to protect against the harsh New Zealand sun, and the skin damage and premature ageing that UVA and UVB rays can cause. It is made from the latest generation of ingredients proven to protect, and those that help to control oils and maintain a matt finish. This balance between clinically proven effectiveness and cosmetic mindfulness is expressed by its brand identity and packaging design, developed by Auckland studio Akin, in the meeting of bold black logotype, and the material interaction between uncoated paper and print finish.
Akin finds a pleasant balance between a typographical directness and an interesting visual and material language that effectively communicates its positioning as a practical protective product and one that also has a cosmetic component.
Type forms a basic and concise foundation. It establishes a strong, contemporary visual impact from a distance, in weight, proportion and the compactness of name. It leverages, through the absence of embellishment and choice of colour, a well-established sense of clinical effectiveness, within the context of skincare. This is not unusual, however, this initial impression is followed up by a more distinctive material detail up-close.
The material qualities of packaging are the highlight. The relationship between print finish—a layer of white—and the clinicality of typographical form and black ink is satisfying in its simplicity, appropriateness and universality. There is a neat combination of blocking and the more organic dissipating and transitory quality of the white. This moves into the uncoated surfaces of the substrate, a clear reference to the eventual matt finish of the cream. A simple ink-based overprint translates the material feature of box onto the tubes and establishes a continuity.
Akin draws an interesting and unusual stylistic impact from a universal experience, and finds a good balance between bold initial impression and a subtle detail up close in the interplay between the graphic and the material, founded on the utilitarian and cosmetic positioning of brand.
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