NIVEA is a global skincare and body care company that was founded over one hundred years ago in Germany. The iconic blue tin has embodied NIVEA’s brand values since 1925 and is what consumers around the world have come to love and trust. NIVEA has always been able to continue its expansion into new product categories with the aim of satisfying changing consumer needs and lifestyles. However, the designs for many of these new products were not always uniform or consistent with the brand’s identity and values.

After years of successful growth, NIVEA had extended it's offering from skin care into many new categories. But with this growth came new challenges. The portfolio lacked design consistency, and consumers were losing touch with the heritage equity that they had loved since childhood.

We began with a thorough design audit and a trip to the archives in Hamburg. Inspired by the established brand values, we created a set of overarching design principles to guide the establishment of a new design language. We also refocused attention on one iconic element of the brand history—the iconic blue tin.

Based upon this framework, we developed a new round logo (inspired by the tin) and a series of new packaging designs. These new designs had an immediate impact on shelf, decreasing the time it takes for consumers to find the brand dramatically, and improving sales worldwide.

The new NIVEA logo is a fresh new face for one of the most ubiquitous skincare brands in the world. In designing the logo, our primary goal was to create a clearer expression of the brand heritage and its values, editing the multiple different logos currently used across countries and products. As part of our design research, we looked at historical material from Nivea’s past—from packaging, to advertising, to retail displays and promotional materials, we delved into the company’s archives to better understand their heritage and identity. The result brought forth many inspiring examples, but we found that only one Nivea design has achieved iconic status with the public – the classic blue tin. Deciding to embrace such a valuable asset and “own the icon”, we based the logo on the bold blue circle contrasted against its classic white Bauhaus-era type. By harkening back to this pervasive brand icon, the new design is anchored in the company’s rich history. Nivea has a new face without losing any of its essential “Nivea-ness”, as though it was always meant to be that way.

Functionally, the logo is universally recognizable as a singular mark across all product categories, in all countries. It is reproducible at any scale, without losing any of its boldness and clarity. Designed in tandem with the physical package redesign, it is allowed visual prominence on bottles and boxes and demands a strong presence set against the pure, symmetric form. The logo itself connects physically to the package as its circular geometry, subtly embossed type, and color contrast are integrated into bottle caps and jar lids, reinforcing brand value with every interaction.

The opportunity to redefine the perception of NIVEA began by creating a clear expression of the brand with a new circular logo treatment. We then looked at the bottles and simplified the form with bold gestures; the sloping shoulders gave them a tactility and human element. To increase shelf presence and recognition, the bottles’ symmetrical 3-D forms show wide bases for stability, with pure geometry that joins the closures as perfect circles. Top areas are angled to face the customer, a gentle slope reminiscent of a hand offering a service. This both embeds the new NIVEA logo to the bottle in a prominent, physical way, while engaging the consumer from the very beginning.

Material reduction and sustainability has been a key tenant throughout the design process in close cooperation with the NIVEA team. The reduction of bottle and packaging shapes created new efficiencies within the company. At the same time, the geometry of the new design allows for improved functionality and less material used overall, by up to 15%. The weight reduction of the packaging is combined with a label reduction of 23% (by switching to a different material and liner). The bottles were optimized for shipping, packing tighter and saving 12,600 pallets and 585 tons of CO2 per year. This contributed to the overall 2020 goals of Beiersdorf to reduce their carbon footprint by 30% per product. In addition, all materials used are fully recyclable and all formulas have an average of over 80% non-fossil ingredients.