Passion for Packaging Innovation

Al Rawabi (Dubai) milk package by Packlab Partners

We have come across a new milk bottle design for Al Rawabi, by Packlab Partners. [Thanks to Kristina /]

This design, while touching many aspects of good package design, highlights the creative tension between good design, and good usability.

Initial Observations

We assume that this is an HDPE package. There is a built-in handle in larger sizes. Smaller sizes, despite lacking the handle, maintain the visual design language of the larger sizes. There are some features at the bottom that are not detailed in the write-up, but we assume they are related to distribution crates.

Design Language

The strong design language used is consistent with the milk’s wholesome image. The package (or at least the prototype) appears to be a bit glossier than it needs to be, as we know that food categories like milk and eggs benefit from matte finishes. This design can help Al Rawabi build a brand language for their product portfolio.

Packlab Partners have taken an approach to design the entire family of different sizes all together, which, in our opinion, is the best approach as some designs do not scale up or down well. If each package is designed piecemeal, visual brand language can suffer.

Package Usability

From their write-up on their web site, Packlab Partners seem to have done an assessment in the pourability area. We assume this work was not done with a multitude of consumers in a structured way, as detailed on this site a number of times.

The larger cap is certainly beneficial for easy opening, and potentially good pouring. However, we are puzzled by the design of the handle, and more importantly, the placement of the hole that forms the handle. It is hard to grab that type of handle with smaller hands, or with reduced dexterity. In our opinion, the handle design excludes children and aging populations. In the age of inclusive and universal package design, that does create a significant issue. Also, from a transportation point-of-view, carrying that package in your hand for more than a short distance would be difficult.

Distribution Efficiency

This package is suboptimal from a distribution efficiency point-of-view. With a large gaping hole in the middle, it is also not material efficient for the volume packed.


This package centers around strong branding elements which have been incorporated into the design. However, despite a self-proclaimed desire to offer people centred brand experiences, package usability seems to have taken a back seat to branding.

We like the design, but we see too many usability issues regarding its handle design. In some respects, the design intent is not clear. For example, the bottom features are loud in design lingo, but without a clear message or purpose. Questionable distribution efficiency is another concern.

We do, however, sympathize with Packlab Partners and applaud their fresh thinking. We do know that milk category is a particularly tough category for innovation and new designs. (Please see our article on Love, hate and the mundane in packaging.)

Our Panel: Your Rating:
Opening Star
Pouring Star
Closing Star
Handling Star
Overall Star
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