Established in 2012, B&O Play is a subsidiary of Bang & Olufsen, the Danish audio equipment company, known as much for its sleek design and sound craftsmanship as for its bank-account-breaking prices. B&O Play addresses the latter, with a line of portable products — headphones and wireless speakers — for the design- and semi-budget-conscious consumer. The product line has proved quite the success for Bang & Olufsen as it has given it a competing product against the similarly priced Beats while offering a more grown-up look. Recently B&O Play introduced new packaging designed by Pearlfisher.
We wanted to help the consumer feel the music before pressing play: to go from looking at silence on a shelf of products to truly seeing the sound. Drawing from the rich, tactile world of print magazines - one of inspiring stories of place, space, emotion and mood - we looked to capture the anticipation of beautiful music with a narrative approach to design.
Changing periodically in a way evocative of a revolving annual, the new packaging gives the brand scope to reflect contemporary culture in a way that aligns with the lifestyles of its target market: nomadic, moment-led and experience-driven.
The old packaging was super nice — you can see more of it here — with great product photography, crisp typography, and a lovely color palette. They could have easily kept this packaging for years and it would have served them well but I like how they recognized that they were doing the exact same thing as the competition, just in a different flavor. Switching away from what is basically general retail standards and expectations is not easy but the new direction certainly makes the transition easier on the eyes.
The new packaging is super nice as well but in a different, less expected way… The typography all around is quite nice and I especially like the backs of the boxes that look almost like a 1990s annual report. The new approach features editorial-style product photography that still showcases the actual product but also transports the consumer to the idyllic scenario where the products are used and creates a slightly more emotional bond, triggering associations to a sweet day at the beach, a lazy Sunday, or just to something more exciting and aspirational than what we are all doing right at this moment — unless reading Brand New is the most idyllic thing you do, then I hug you.