From campaigns to get women in the tech industry to the mainstream success of transgender celebrities, our culture is making dramatic progress toward dismantling outdated gender norms and increasing awareness of people outside of the traditional gender binary. Even Facebook now allows users to choose from dozens of gender options, replacing the traditional two. Despite these encouraging trends, much advertising and packaging still relies heavily on outdated gender stereotypes to market products. To address this issue, designer Saana Hellsten created a package-design concept for a gender-neutral shaving kit and household cleaning products. Her brand, Basik, would focus on the function that the product provides rather than the gender of the target customer. The package design is tasteful and subdued, using matte textures in teal, mint green, black, and light blue.
Hellsten did research into the difference between men’s and women’s razors. “I learned that there in fact are physical differences in the razors for men and women,” she writes. “Though, these differences are related only to the function of the product, which isn’t always related to the gender of the consumer.” Traditionally, we think of women shaving their legs and men their faces, but given today’s gender spectrum, from trans men and women to drag queens to genderqueer people, there’s no reason to think the function of a razor denotes the gender of its user. To amend this, Hellsten’s razor kit would be sold through a website that asks customers what they will use their razor for, for example, their face, legs or head, and changes the shape of the handle and the blade based on their response. The razor’s colors can also be customized. Her shaving cream comes in two varieties, for dry skin and normal skin.
The same design was used for her gender-neutral household cleaning products, which she notes usually rely on gendered packaging to communicate messages about the products. “Strong and powerful products need to communicate their effectiveness and this is achieved by using masculine visual language,” she writes. “Soft and sensitive products instead use the feminine visual language.”
Hellsten believes it’s important to move past gendered language in design for common products. “Packaging design is our first interaction with a product and it currently perpetuates gender stereotypes,” she says. “Designing gender-neutral packaging will encourage gender equality and will create a more sustainable world.”
[H/T: Packaging of the World]