Designing a condom identity that outlasts the hype with Buck

The global creative agency spotted a gap in the market between “dark and scary” brands and timid ones, stepping in with an elegant product full of toy-inspired shapes.

Date
29 November 2023

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Sexual wellness: so hot right now. Following in the footsteps of the beauty market – and products like Glossier – we went from boring-looking black-and-gold condoms, to products that look beautifully designed. These days, the standard is to design a bottle of lube that looks great out on a shelf, rather than wedged down the side of your mattress. The latest agency to step up to the plate is Buck, whose packaging for Sense helped make it the first condom brand on the shelves of Urban Outfitters.

Buck began the project by looking at what was currently available on the shelves. “As we visited stores, we noticed that most product packaging looked dark and scary, and the items that were better designed and more elevated, looked pale and visually receded on the shelf,” says Buck CD Liron Eldar-Ashkenazi. “At that moment we knew the visual solutions should be focused on creating a contrast between those two worlds.”

The result is definitely eye-catching. Sense pairs a tall, sophisticated typeface with abstract but unmistakably sexy-looking shapes. (Liron confirms one of the first references came from the world of sex toys, so you’re not dreaming if you see a butt plug in the packaging, like some spicy Rorschach test). There are seven hues in the Sense palette. “We worked hard to get our colour palette balanced between popping in the retail aisle and being at home in the bedroom, regardless of target audience or design aesthetic,” Liron tells us.

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Buck: Sense (Copyright © Buck, 2023)

You’d be forgiven for drawing parallels between other trendy products on the market. But, look closer and you’ll see what everyone actually wants from a condom brand – the product works. The shape of the packaging itself is unique and varied, but a system of shapes has been developed to accommodate the diverse aspect ratios of the products. The lube bottle is clear, to help users see when they’re close to running out and, crucially, the condoms themselves are easy to open. For Liron, the hope was to create a design that would last beyond “hype”, and reflect the thought and consideration that went into the design process.

For all the seamlessness of the experience of using a Sense product, things weren’t so smooth behind the scenes. “We kicked off in January 2021,” says Liron. Safe to say, launching a condom brand during Covid significantly impacted the project. Buck weathered all sorts of problems, from testing to production and supply chain disruptions. And yet, those years left Buck with more time to play around with multiple iterations. The final identity feels like a product that has been made slowly rather than rushed out the door, and that is not a pun for a one-night stand we promise.

GalleryBuck: Sense brand identity (Copyright © Buck, 2023)

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Buck: Sense (Copyright © Buck, 2023)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating from the University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, Indie magazine and design studio Evermade.

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