Brian Roettinger dissects the design of Kim Kardashian’s skincare line, Skkn
Willo Perron and Brian Roettinger of Perron-Roettinger have worked with the brand owner since Skims. Now, Brian talks us through leading the identity and packaging for her latest venture.
- Liz Gorny
- 11 July 2022
On 21 June, Sknn by Kim Kardashian launched as a new nine-product ritual bridging the gap between dermatological expertise and at-home skincare. Sitting behind the design approach is Brian Roettinger, designer, artist and co-partner of studio Perron—Roettinger. It was unveiled as a refillable product, with a new logo, identity and creative direction leaning into textural moments of stone, clay and sand. The brand received widespread attention at its launch, including criticism for brand name appropriation and its “sustainable ethos”.
The Sknn product line spans a range of forms, from cylindrical jars to curved bottles, with the site explaining that each “is housed inside refillable bottles and jars”; the site explains that refills are available which come packaged in recycled materials. This secondary housing packaging creates an elusive form around each product – with the bottle or jar no longer on show, evoking smooth monoliths or spherical stones. Much of the online backlash surrounding this approach centres on the fact that two layers of hard packaging can only create further waste.
Brian’s approach to packaging, he explains, comes down to a critique of a lengthy series of ideas and considerations: “What is it made out of? How sustainable is it? Can it be recycled? Is it innovative in any way? What gives the packaging appeal? Does it feel too expressive? Does it feel too basic? Does it feel cheap? Can it feel more chic? [...] Does it need secondary packaging? Does it have to be a box… why? How is the un-boxing? Is the ethos of the brand in line with the packaging?”
Meanwhile, the aesthetic of Skkn continues a design approach also harnessed by his creative partner, Willo Perron, on the first pop-up Skims store in Paris. Meaning the visual “effect and feeling” has been made to “translate to the nature of the product”. While the Skims pop-up introduced glossy curved partitions, reminiscent of the curves of a body, Skkn turns to naturally occurring materials to communicate ideas of touch and texture, smoothness and imperfection.
“We like how it feels to hold a ceramic mug, and the natural colour of a clay pot, and what it feels like to run your hand through sand and all the different shades and textures of a limestone quarry,” Brian tells us. Skkn aims to translate some of these weights, textures and concepts into forms that the creative director describes as: “simple and geometric but also practical and ergonomic”.
The identity takes these concepts a step further. “We wanted a logotype that wouldn’t feel familiar in the world of beauty. Playful but not funny. Contemporary but from a different time.” The geometric sans utilises angular indents to continue the narrative by nodding to stone-cut lettering. The creative director also highlights that “there really isn’t a brand colour”. Instead, a “brand colour story” mixes both light and dark neutrals, to evoke sand; saturated grey beiges with khaki undertones, nodding to stone; and “light greys and browns (like clay)... since it’s neutral and a pretty adaptable hue.”
More information about the skincare line, and its approach to renewability, can be found here at the Skkn site.
GalleryPerron-Roettinger: Skkn (Copyright © Skkn, 2022)
Brian Roettinger: Skkn (Copyright © Skkn, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.