Global Packaging Factors
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cosmetics, fragrance, toiletries, health and beauty aids industry is in the
business of making people look, smell and feel beautiful. However, with the
advent of many new regulations across the globe, the packaging for these
products begins to look less and less attractive. The challenge for
packaging designers and graphic artists is how to fit all of these new
regulations on the package and still create innovative and appealing
The growing trend in the cosmetics industry is to have one package that
fits all countries - a truly global product package. This task is
complicated because even companies marketing similar products have different
interpretations of what 'global' means. A cosmetics manufacturer can come
close to achieving the objective of creating one package equally effective
for their brand in every country if they understand global regulatory
requirements and what aesthetic sacrifices might be required.
There are many factors that go into creating a global package, some of
which are internal or brandspecific, for example whether a manufacturer
really wants to market in a specific country or whether there is a demand
for the product outside of the domestic market. It should also be determined
whether there is advertising support, counter support and numerous other
marketing questions and issues that have nothing to do with the packaging
Apart from these marketing questions and general corporate structure or
logistics issues, the packaging of cosmetics, fragrances and toiletries is
regulated in one way or another by most countries. The similarities of the
regulations are a start to help group countries together with a
one-package-fits-all idea. What happens more often than not is that one
country's regulations conflict with the global packaging concept.
The ingredients of a product can work against a global package and the
following are regulatory factors that control this issue:
Cosmetics: A drug?
- The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have
recently passed a directive called the 7th Amendment. A key portion of
this document states that, if an ingredient formula contains any of the
26 known fragrance allergens, they must be indicated by adding them to
the ingredient listing. This is required only in the EU Member States.
This could more than double the ingredient listing on an outer package.
- Currently, some countries such as Japan and Mexico require that any
ingredient listing be translated into the official language of that
country. The standard for most of the world is The International
Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI); however, the US requires
Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act colour names while the EU requires
Colour Index (CI) numbers.
- There may be ingredients that are commonly used in products that are
actually banned in some parts of the world, such as Korea, as well as
- Type size and the positioning of ingredients on packaging is also an
issue. The US has extremely specific ideas on the size and placement of
ingredients on packaging, whereas the rest of the world simply requires
that the ingredients are on the outer package and are clear, visible and
Many of the cosmetic products on the market today are actually considered
an over-the-counter (OTC) drug in some countries. Not only are they
considered a drug, but the actual labelling regulations are different and
all countries do not necessarily accept the labelling format of others in
place of their own. In other words, one label definitely does not fit all in
the OTC drug arena. To further complicate this issue, many of these
cosmetic-drug products are not considered drugs at all in Europe, but are
considered drugs in the US, Canada and Australia, for example.
With regard to the labelling of a global product, cosmetic-drugs -
anti-acne, anti-dandruff, antiperspirants, skin protectants and even
sunscreen products, to name a few - cannot have a global package.
Some examples of the major country differences include the following:
- US regulations require the Drug Facts Panel on the outer package of
all OTC drug and cosmetic-drug products. This certainly will not enhance
the look of a package. There are very specific graphic requirements for
this panel, such as type/bullet size and placement, leading, color
recommendations and even how many characters per inch, not to mention
the actual copy, directions and warnings that must be used based on US
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.
- Australia also considers some products drugs and has its own
labelling requirements, including a drug certification number required
on the front of the package.
- Canada has its own set of regulations for drugs and cosmetic-drugs,
which includes a drug identification number on the front and specific
wording for the active ingredient listing. In addition, Québec
requires that English/French copy receive equal prominence everywhere on