Packing the 3 stripes

Adidas AG, Global Corporate Packaging, 2001


In 1999, the appear­ance of adidas was different in every continent across the globe. There were no clear brand colors, nor was there a stan­dardized corporate design for use at the point of sale. Similarly, the many technical features of the products were not explained adequately or uniformly. In terms of profitability too, the brand’s appearance had fractured because it had grown so fast. There were 100 different types of sock packaging alone. The objective for MUTABOR was to present the brand uniformly through­out the world. During the »new global corporate packaging« project, a momen­tous decision was also made: it was decided to create a separation between adidas Performance and Originals. The task was to give this new strategy a face.


In a two-year process, all the packaging assets were cataloged, analyzed and optimized: cutting dies, materials, types of packaging, colors, tech­nical instruc­tions, pictograms and illustrations. In addition, categories were recombined and defined. Various challenges needed to be over­come, partic­ularly in terms of worldwide avail­ability and har­monized quality standards. A number of test phases were carried out jointly with the customer before the con­cept was rolled out worldwide in 2001.


The biggest decision is still effective today: adidas Performance turned black and Originals was given the color blue – inspired by the blue shoe boxes of the 1970s. The Originals look was defined by the jagged stripes and the purist, simple retro design. The trefoil logo was orig­inally used on the shoe boxes without adding the word Originals. The Perfor­mance design, on the other hand, was charac­terized by a technical graphic principle: photos of the product in ac­tion, combined with a function pic­togram. This also aimed to prevent the packaging being torn open. The two fields were combined with the brand originator, the Performance logo (now the Badge of Sport). This principle was applied on all packaging from ball pump valves to goal­keepers’ gloves. All the hangtags and the technical nomen­clature were also harmo­nized globally. And finally, there were only 10 different types of sock packaging across the globe, instead of 100.


Brand design, packaging design, styleguide, pictogram design, illustration, production