Ineke’s ‘Crowdsourced’ Designs

How an online collaborative design process helped Ineke create packaging for its recent fragrance launches, in record time.

By Marie Redding, Associate Editor


Ineke's Hothouse Flower fragrance features an illustration on the bottle that was designed using a crowdsourcing wesbite.
Ineke Ruhland, founder of Ineke Fragrances, recently collaborated with two new package designers – one is a NY-based freelancer who has worked with many major beauty companies, and the other is a graphic artist based in Serbia. And Ruhland met both without leaving her office in San Francisco.

Ruhland used a collaborative online design process that is becoming trendy – a crowdsourcing website. There are several, but the one Ruhland used is called CrowdSpring. Ruhland turned to the site while developing the packaging for two of her newest fragrances, Sweet William, which launched in September 2012; and Hothouse Flower, which launched in October 2012.

About Crowdsourcing Sites

Crowdsourcing websites can have their ups and downs for both freelancers and marketers. Critics may say that these sites take advantage of freelancers, who must compete for jobs by doing a lot of the creative work up front before finding out if their design will be chosen. But the possibility of making new contacts can be invaluable.

“I used this process in the hopes of finding a talented designer, and now I have two,” says Ruhland. Ruhland plans to keep in touch and hire the designers directly in the future, instead of relying on the website for upcoming projects.

While interacting with designers on the site, Ruhland took extra time to explain exactly what she was looking for, and continued to give lots of feedback to the designers she liked the best—in hopes she would foster an ongoing relationship with the right person.

“It was my intent from the start to find a designer that I would hire again. And I think that is also the intent of many of the designers using this type of site—they are hoping to make new contacts, and

Ineke's Sweet William fragrance is the brand's newest edition to its collection, and using a crowdsourcing website enabled the brand to complete the design for this bottle and box in record time.
usually do,” Ruhland explains.

How the Process Reduced Time to Market

Using the crowdsourcing website to design the packaging for the fragrance, Hothouse Flower, helped accelerate the process by several months, according to Bill O’Such, president, Ineke Fragrances. “We were able to create the graphics that we used on the bottle and the custom carton in less than four weeks—from inception to final design,” says O’Such.

First, Ineke posted a design brief to the crowdsourcing website. “Over 30 designers competed by submitting proposals, and after ten days we decided who would help us to finish the project and finalize the packaging,” explains O’Such.

The winning design was a bottle decorated with an illustration of a flower. USS Corp. used both a bottom spray and black silk-screening process to achieve the design on the glass.

Custom components were sourced from suppliers. The same heavyweight cylindrical-shaped glass bottle, developed in collaboration with SGD, is used for all of Ineke’s fragrances. The glass incorporates an indented area for an etched, stainless steel metal band, which is also a signature design element for Ineke’s fragrances. The metal band is manufactured by Italix.

These components, along with a standard low-profile pump by Rexam are assembled by FMI, which is a supplier that has worked with Ineke since its inception.


Ineke's travel size fragrance collection are packaged in boxes that resemble books.
Modeling a Box After a Book

Ruhland also used the crowdsourcing site a second time, when creating the packaging for Sweet William. The fragrance is the newest addition to Ineke’s Floral Curiosities and Botanist Travel Spray collections. Both collections have been sold exclusively at Anthropologie for the past year, but are launching at other retailers worldwide this March.

Sweet William needed graphic elements for the boxes and bottles, which would give the fragrance its own identity, while also fitting in with look of the other fragrances in both collections. Ruhland found one designer on the crowdsourcing site who was able to execute her vision perfectly.

Sweet William is housed in a 75ml bottle, and its smaller counterpart is the 15ml travel spray. Each fragrance in the Botanist Travel Spray collection is packaged in an oversized box shaped like a book.
To give the ‘faux book’ boxes a more realistic look, Ruhland scanned images of vintage books. Some of these photos were used as design elements on the sides of the boxes to help create the illusion of real pages.

The Final Verdict on Crowdsourcing Sites

The road to developing the packaging for both Sweet William and Hothouse Flower may have been an unusual one when compared with Ineke’s past fragrance launches, but one wouldn’t be able to tell anything was done differently just by looking at them—they fit perfectly with the brand’s image.

Using a crowdsourcing site may not be for everyone, but the process was a success for Ineke—and the brand had two new package design concepts completed in record time.