Basik was born as the result of my thesis based on gendered visual language. The thesis criticizes packaging that perpetuates gender stereotypes and sees gender-neutral packaging as a factor that can encourage gender equality and create a more sustainable world. The name Basik refers to neutrality. I am digging into the basics of the products and leaving out the extra, such as the unnecessary gendered visual language. The project shows how the same gender-neutral solutions, when done well, can work throughout an entire product range.
My thesis is based on examining gendered visual language as a tool for communicating an attribute of a product and as a means of conveying the intended target audience of a product. I explore the former by taking a look at regular household products, while the latter I analyze by focusing on personal hygiene products.
In household products it is clear that gendered visual language carries heavy symbolism. Masculine design is often used in products that are perceived to have stereotypically masculine characteristics, such as power and effectiveness. Soft and sensitive products use feminine visual language instead. By utilizing these stereotypes, traditional attributes of men and women are being enforced when I feel that we should do the opposite. On the other hand, shaving products, such as razors and shaving gels, use highly gendered visual language in order to communicate which products are marketed for men and which for women. I learned that there in fact are some physical differences in the razors for men and women, but these differences are related only to the function of the product, not necessarily to the gender of the consumer. For example, there are different blades for shaving a beard than for shaving legs, but this doesn’t mean that the potential target group of the product consists of one gender. Similarly, the packaging design of shaving gels is highly gendered, although the purpose of the product is usually the same regardless of the consumer; to make the skin smooth.
Designing Basik, I created a unified identity to all the products. My project removes gendered design from the products and gives consumers the option to choose the product based on its purpose. The color palette of Basik was formed by conducting a survey in which the participants chose their preferred colors from sets of three, consisting of a masculine, feminine and neutral color. The logo is simple and straightforward with a detail in the letter K.
The label design uses the rules of less-is-more. It is simple and unified throughout the products. The information is minimal, which directs the attention into the most important factors. The icons show the purpose of the product and help the consumer find the right product in a fast and uncomplicated manner.