Christmas packaging round up 2013: Lush, Selfridges, Costa, Hotel Chocolat, Starbucks, Carluccio's

As another Christmas nears, The Drum spoke to some of the finest design agencies to ask them for their picks from the festive packaging they had spotted on the marketplace this year.

Carluccio's: Chosen by Steven Anderson, group creative director, Smith & Milton

I love packaging that draws me in and tells a story. This Christmas, the Carluccio’s Italian festive food range not only does that, but also has me imagining I’m rushing around Bologna doing my Christmas shopping (last minute as usual). Illustrator Malika Favre and design agency Irving & Co have done a wonderful job in creating small, intriguing scenes depicting half seen characters that really do create a story you want to know more about. The packs also serve a clever dual function as they’re going to be stacked in the restaurant windows creating interesting, abstract cityscapes.

Lush Christmas pudding bomb wrap: Chosen by Maggie Croft, managing director, Stand

I feel Lush has been clever in using recognisable Christmas imagery and turning it on its head. The bold fun colours work with Lush customer base while looking like a tactile object that you would pick up and add to a stocking.

Starbucks: Chosen by David Walker, partner & co-creative director, Saint Bernadine

I think I’ll always have a soft spot for Starbucks after working on the account for years during their meteoric rise. This experience resulted in a lot of respect for the talented Starbucks creative team. What I like most about this Christmas Blend packaging are the tones of reds chosen – keeping with the holiday spirit, but a classy and sophisticated palette that definitely represents their brand.

Who Gives a Crap toilet paper: Chosen by Tony Connor, creative director, Bulletproof London

What do you buy the person who has everything? How about a gift that keeps on giving?… Australian trio Simon, Jehan and Danny have been making recycled toilet paper ‘who gives a crap’ since July 2012, with 50% of profits going to WaterAid to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. With so much Christmas packaging contributing to landfill, it’s refreshing to see these simple, bold and gently humourous packs. Unfortunately, they’ve only made a limited run and will only ship within Australia - crap.

Hotel Chocolat: Chosen by Stuart Chapman, associate director, The Big Picture

Hotel Chocolat has glitz, glamour and sophistication in spades with its classic illustrative style choice.

Costa Coffee cups: Chosen by Helen Forbes, business development director, Good

The festive Christmas cup isn’t a new invention - Starbucks gets a lot of attention for its red cups every year. But this year Costa has pipped them to the post. There are four designs, where the act of drinking your cuppa completes the picture: Santa's beard, an elf costume, Snowman and a gingerbread man. Packaging can sometimes try to be too clever, but these are just simple, fun, instantly Christmassy and really cheerful. Perfect piece of festive design.

Penhaligons Christmas Collection: Chosen by Steven Anderson, group creative director, Smith & Milton

These incredibly well crafted packs for Penhaligons Christmas Collection really stand out for me. Its theme this year is inspired by Victorian music boxes and the idea has been perfectly executed. The concept of the mechanical singing birds are beautifully illustrated and reproduced in a deep, rich colour palette. With design as good as this, the packaging becomes the gift itself – stunning.

Joe Malone: Chosen by Stuart Chapman, associate director, The Big Picture

Jo Malone has chosen a seductively simple design for its Christmas packaging that channels 50s Hollywood chic.

Selfridges luxury advent calendar: Chosen by Heidi Lightfoot, creative director, Together Design

Luxury advent calendars are huge this year (both in popularity and scale). All major department stores seem to be offering one, along with a number of beauty, food and drink brands.This gin calendar from ‘Drinks By The Dram’ is elegant and understated (a month of gin … who would complain about that!).

Blossa Mulled Wine: Chosen by Steven Anderson, group creative director, Smith & Milton

Every year Blossa, a Swedish drinks brand, release a limited edition mulled wine for Christmas. And every year it’s fresh, daring and desirable – everything great design should be. The brand has played with bold typography one year and then beautifully refined the next, in-your-face fluorescents and then deep or subtle hues the year after. This year it has gone back to its Swedish roots, drawing on design elements, patterns and colours from the province of Dalecarlia in Sweden. This was the home of Johan Daniel Grönstedt who started selling mulled wine more than 100 years ago.

Stella Artois: Chosen by David Walker, partner & co-creative director, Saint Bernadine

I like this solution because it’s easy to execute, doesn’t appear to add complexity to sales / ordering for customers, relatively inexpensive to produce – but most of all, it uses the opportunity to activate a key component of its brand story being originally launched as festive beer.

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