Shreyas Kulkarni
Design Digest

Amul Cheese sheds its skin; takes on a new red, yellow and blue avatar 

The pack now appears youthful and modern. But considering its popularity, was the design change necessary?

Picture a pav bhaji cart on the street. There is a gigantic tawa, on which vegetables are being fried; there is smoke emerging out it now and then. You can spot shiny bits of melted butter here and there and countless bits of chopped onions strewn across and around the cart. It is enough to make one feel hungry, right?

There are boxes made of red, yellow and blue, with a woman’s picture on each one of them, stacked one above the other on the cart. From a distance, most Indians can easily recognise these Amul Cheese boxes. The cart owner clearly knows what he’s doing. He understands people’s tastes and it looks like the pav bhaji, in all likelihood, will be quite good.

For decades, Amul Cheese has maintained its status as one of the most popular cheese brands in the country. Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) markets the Amul brand in India. Right now, GCMMF markets Amul Processed Cheese, Amul Emmental Cheese, Amul Gouda Cheese, Amul Cheese Spread, Pizza Mozzarella Cheese, Diced (Mozzarella, Blend, Cheddar) Cheese, and Pizza Processed Cheese.

The processed cheese sub-brand remains the most popular offering. No brand has been able to shed its image, until a few days ago, when Amul announced that it had donned a new skin. The entire Amul Cheese range has received a makeover. Gone is the white background, in favour of yellow (the colour of cheese). The new typography immediately reminded me of Amul’s milk chocolate bars.

Amul Cheese sheds its skin; takes on a new red, yellow and blue avatar 

Another startling aspect of the design is the exclusion of the thick red horizontal strip. It was one of the most recognisable aspects of the Amul Cheese pack. Will the move cost the brand? Will it impact its brand recall? Will people miss it on the pav bhaji carts?

Quite the unexpected move. So, I spoke to a pack of three experts about the new Amul Cheese packs and if the missing red horizontal strip will melt the brand's affinity.

Shekhar Badve, founder and director, Lokus Design

Shekhar Badve
Shekhar Badve

This is in line with what’s happening across the board in brand packaging. Amul's chocolates have a similar language; simpler, bolder, and minimal. I find the pack distinctive and has good recall. This change was much needed.

On the risk of excluding the missing red horizontal strip in the new pack

I don’t find it risky because it is Amul and it would be able to create a strong impact and recall with its promotions and campaigns. Also, the Amul logo/ name will do the majority of the job as there is no sub brand that needs to be promoted or reestablished.

Neha Tulsian, founder and creative director, NH1 Design

Neha Tulsian
Neha Tulsian

The new packaging is targeted towards young India. The typesetting of the word cheese could have been way better. The use of big bold typeface seems to have been inspired by the Amul dark chocolate packaging. I would wait to see how the brand starts to leverage these assets in communication and digital. The need of the hour is to go beyond packaging and create a set of living breathable brand assets which could live on multiple platforms.

It would be nice for the brand to re-look at their entire dairy portfolio with a unifying look and feel rather than addressing each product category independently. The brand logo “Amul” sometimes uses blue, sometimes red in their dairy portfolio. They have some strong brand assets like the iconic Amul girl. I feel it’s time brands took a more holistic and strategic redesign approach towards their portfolio of products.

Roshnee Desai, founder and creative director, LOCAL 

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Roshnee Desai</p></div>

Roshnee Desai

Amul wants to change the perception of its (old-school) packaging with the photograph of a woman that nobody uses nowadays... The brand is trying to appear younger. It wants to appeal to the younger people, because the cheese market has become so youth-focused right now.

The new design is going to make the pack typographical which is great and the photography with the cheese is cool, I just feel the way the cheese is written could have been rendered better; it's a bit jarring, it could have been more cheesy with softer edges.

I don't think the design change (missing red strip) will be an issue. The red, yellow and blue colours are still there, and you will be able to spot an Amul Cheese pack from a distance.

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