Google Vitamin

Hello Core77,

I have been really thankful for all the help you guys have provided. I just finished my freshman year at CCS (in Detroit) and have decided to transfer to Art Center in Pasadena. Therefore, I’m working on a few projects to add to my portfolio, and this is the first of the bunch.

I decided to do something a bit different and wasn’t 100% centered around the hardware.

My other works:


Beautifully done as always, but why Google. Google is a tech company. Wouldn’t this make more sense from Nike, Whole Foods, Kachi, Luluemon, The Body Shop, Dr Oz, Dr Weil, Oprah or something along those lines?

@Yo Thank you~ I chose Google because of their rich ecosystem (including services like Google health). I felt that it could have have a big potential if a service like Google Vitamin leveraged that. Therefore, Google Vitamin would be more of a service than anything else.

I like the design and concept, but also question the google connection. Google is tech, vitamins aren’t. Also, google is one of the worst offenders in terms of consistency, branding, UI and customer help, so I’d be even that much more reluctant to use google for something like vitamins. I can’t even get a real person on the phone to fix my google apps for you domain issues, I sure wouldn’t want to swallaow anything they made.

I think the design is strong enough without the google thing and think it does it a disservice.

Also would like to se more about the packaging of multiple vitamins in one box with different color inner boxes. I think that the is the biggest strength. Otherwise, it is just s a minimal packaging exercise.


I agree with the critique. I don’t think this should be related to Google at all. And this is the biggest point that you are going to get… what’s the word… not really destroyed, but I can’t think of it. It weakens the project instead of helping it. If you did a more related company like Whole Foods or Safeway, I think this would be very strong.

Just saying that they have a rich ecosystem doesn’t justify it. It’s not in their realm. It’s not remotely tech related (aside from the mobile phone integration, which isn’t a justification either), and even with Google health (which barely anyone knows exists) it’s not something that I see them ever doing. They don’t have any manufacturing/production facilities at all. They never make anything physical. Even the Google phone is just made by HTC. Their ecosystem is largely virtual, and this would never be viable to them as a business opportunity.

To r’s point, Google is very heavily engineer based, and aesthetically beautiful things never come from Google. Ever. (Unless you also tested 41 shades of each color to see which gets the most purchases… haha joke) Similar to Facebook. These companies value engineered design over aesthetics. I believe that this was a good exercise in branding, but I don’t think you reflected an understanding Google’s culture (which a designer should do).

Regardless, your presentation makes people not reject the idea as much as they would normally. I dunno, I feel you’ve heard enough compliments on your presentation skills in your career, so I just want to point out some of the underlying issues. Still sweet though.

Unfortunately (or fortunately… depending on how you look at it) your presentation is compelling enough that rather than critique the design work we gravitate to the notion of Google changing it’s business model.
I would love industrial designers to have this sort of business clout one day… but unless your Jonathan Ive I doubt it will happen:)

In the meantime… nothing wrong with using big brands as inspiration for projects. But be aware… if you make too big of a leap, people will naturally tend to shape their opinion of your project from a business standpoint rather than a design one.
Just imagine if you had used BP!

Unrelated to this post but… - The more common example of this type of distraction is when someone presents a really well thought out ID concept and then slaps hastily thought out logo and “product name” on the top of their portfolio page. I’m not sure why so many of us industrial designers also think we are experts at brand identity.

Great work though… keep it coming.

I guess the Google brand could just about associate with health under the banner of biotechnology.

Biotechnology : a. The application of the principles of engineering and technology to the life sciences; bioengineering.

(Definition taken from the free dictionary)

Honestly, I think it works great. The designs are very well executed, and the Google thing doesn’t bother me at all. Obviously this isn’t something that’s going to come out next year. In 10 years, who knows what will happen! Google could own Ford, or Johnson & Johnson or who knows… It’s completely possible that they dip further into everyday objects. They’re already into smartphones…

Besides, whos to say that Google is the only part of this. Google could simply be the front end UX, and someone like GNC or another vitamin company provides the packaging, shipping, stocking, retail, etc. I could really see it happening.

This is an interesting project. You’re right the vitamin isle at the store is very confusing. But I have a few questions.
First, is paper packaging really the best option for this box? I would imagine protecting the vitamins from moisture is a big priority. I have a plastic aspirin bottle next to me and when I am done I can throw it in the recycle bin.

Second is the scale of the box. Shown next to that HTC phone it seems very big. This Aspirin bottle I have holds 100 tablets and its only 70mm tall x 40mm wide. The best way to make your packaging green is to make it smaller, and use less material. Maybe it could be more like a orbit pack of gum?

Is there a certain about of safety regulations and warnings that have to go on the bottle?

Once again very nice presentation, you are sure to see a lot of responses from it.

But my pragmatic side wins again and makes me wonder what kind of research on vitamins you did. To me it seems there is a trend forming that you only really look at the surface issues and don’t have enough info to back up your decisions. What are the regulations for vitamins? Why are they packaged the way they are now? What information has to be on the label? etc…etc. Without that information in your presentation then its just a packaging/branding exercise.

Your other concepts for web interfaces and mobiles apps work for me though; since part of the solution is improving on the system and not just the product. Again though I don’t know what the original problem is with vitamins so I can’t be fully convinced that this really improves anything.

Very True NURB. And there smartphones are made by HTC, I wonder, a simple brand shift like Google x GNC (as a collaboration) might make it all make total sense…

To go further off topic, I really dislike when I see these odd brand extensions, such as Nike concept vehicles. Nike is all about physical fitness, so the concept of a vehicle is a stretch… the concept vehicle the Phil Frank did for GT3 was a good example of making it work, the car was linked to the swift suit of the wearer and the physical activity of the wearer through the day improved the performance of the vehicle [conceptually], you want to drive fast? You better hit the gym first…). Ironically you never see Nike conceptual bicycles or tennis racquets which would make much more sense. I’ve seen some oddly branded kitchen appliances as well.

Once again Andrew, you project has provoked interesting discussion, no small feet…

and further off topic, but on topic at the same time :
When I participated in a portfolio review at my alma-mater a few months back I was really annoyed by the Branding projects where students were assigned a brand for a suite of kitchen appliances wherein there was NO brand fit, it was exclusively an excercise in brand language and seemed to ignore a more holistic understanding of the brand. I’ve been meaning to speak to the professors about that assignment for awhile now.

And to go even further off topic :slight_smile:

and further off topic, but on topic at the same time :
When I participated in a portfolio review at my alma-mater a few months back I was really annoyed by the Branding projects where students were assigned a brand for a suite of kitchen appliances wherein there was NO brand fit, it was exclusively an excercise in brand language and seemed to ignore a more holistic understanding of the brand. I’ve been meaning to speak to the professors about that assignment for awhile now.

I actually don’t mind the brand extension exercise as I think it is a great way to introduce to students the idea that one product can exist in many styles and helps them identify certain traits that we link with certain styles. (For example - what makes a product “look” rugged? - what makes a product “look” technical). I do agree though that it doesn’t necessarily promote an understanding of brand.
As an educational tool it works as it forces the student to analyze how design details can define a brand. There’s not much point to having a student redesign a power drill for Black and Decker - but I think it is an eye opening exercise to have a student design something somewhat unrelated- such as a KitchenAid cordless drill -And then turn around and say - okay, now redesign it again… but this time do it for Disney, Hummer, and Nike and Sony.
To make it even harder I would suggest that no logos be allowed- only actual surface and material details.
And no Apple… too easy :slight_smile:
Just my 2cents…

I actually think it’s important for students to redesign products for their actual brand, i.e. the cordless drill for black & decker. In reality, Black & Decker designers have to designs new drills without the help of having totally new branding. If I told you to redesign the iphone, with apple branding in mind but still different from what it is today, that would be a hard assignment.

I think one of the harder things to get used to with real work vs. school work is the redesign process. In school you show your project just the way you like it. Students and teacher critique and you never look back on it again. In reality, sometimes you are pushed into things you don’t personally like, but it’s for the greater good of the design overall.

We are getting off track, but this is fertile ground. I know exactly what you are talking about IDiot, I saw a set of Audi kitchen appliances (blender). This particular student is a poster on here, and one of the best students in the class, ADN he was merely doing what he was told to do, which was to make an Audi blender, but it doesn’t due the student justice to set them up with that kind of project only to get hammered in an interview.

Here is what the project brief should have been:

Design a series of kitchen appliances INFLUENCED by the aesthetic and target consumer of the Audi Brand.

This would have allowed the student to reconstruct Audi’s consumer profile and then design a different type of product for that consumer, but influenced by the car’s form and material language… that kind of project is a bit more realistic and educational in my opinion.

The other option would be to design a series of cooking utensils and appliances designed for a 5 day road trip across the country for the Audi consumer for the Audi accessories catalog. I think that might also make it fit (or maybe I’m just getting ready for my cross country drive to San Francisco, either way…)

As remembering to take them is the most difficult part of vitamins (since you solved the packaging issue), I think Google is a great idea. If I want to make sure I ABSOLUTELY don’t forget something, I put it in Google calendar and have it email me the day before. This is a great solution that taps the connected user lifestyle.

Thanks for all the in-depth analyses everyone, really appreciate it. There’s nothing much I can say in response - so I’ll respond by fixing these issues in my future projects. I’m working on something right now as a matter of fact, and will post it as soon as it’s done.

By the way, I have also seen these “branding” projects during my time at CCS. Students (including me) were told to chose a brand and design a product using that brand. The project I was assigned was to design a desk-set. My design was monami (

I agree that such projects are almost “designed” to make the student produce odd products. Since we were told to do “desk-sets”, most students did pencil holders, paper holders, staplers, etc… but had already selected brands like Chevy, Nike, Adidas, Black&Decker, Scion, etc. I really think this is a flawed teaching method but seems to be common.

Because van_ID mentioned Apple being “easy” I would also like to mention that our instructor also showed a past student’s work where they designed an Apple bicycle. Huh? They were obviously told to chose and brand, where they chose Apple and were then told to design a bicycle.

Anyways, thanks for the comments and constructive criticisms!

This might sound very harsh, especially being a junior but:

The biggest issue I have with your work andrew is (after looking through your blogspot) is that there seems to be very little reference to WHO your products are intended for and WHY. I see very little user research behind any of these projects, and by research I mean speaking to real people. Most look like styling, branding jobs and it is your presentation ability that is carrying you. If it wern’t for your presentation ability I feel some of these would have been discarded alot quicker.

With reference to google vitamins:

What I mean is that for example with the vitamins all I could pick up on with regards to target market was 80% of americans have a deficiency in their diet. Is your google branded vitamins supposed to cater for 80% of all americans? The problem with this is the different types of personnas your are intending to cater for, young old, male, female, disabilites etc… I bet only a small percentage of that 80% have smart phones. Within that 80% there are going to be many different types of drivers for many different sub groups of individuals. Google is part of the digitisation trend that we are still in, how are they going to migrate to physical, health, FMCG type products without the reliance on their other services such as google calender etc… ← Not everyone uses these services they already provide.

What are current people’s perceptions of google? What values are they associating with the brand? You and I take for granted that if we have a question we “ask google” . My mum on the other hand (who is computer literate) doesn’t think to do this and has a different take on what the google brand is.

Stepping back a bit I would question why we need suppliments in the first place? Take a look at people’s eating habbits, follow them round the supermarket what are they buying, where are they buying it? Is it all processed food? Why? There is more to it than just being convienient. You can have “healthy” convienent food as proved by people like Jamie Oliver.

Styling and branding are fantastic skills to have, a good designer needs them. First thing we look at are product aesthetics and who made it. However, it needs to blended with a need by a user. You do’nt need to to do weeks and weeks of research you could get a good basic foundation within 4-5 days.

If it were I looking to do more projects for the portfolio I would look for current problems via competitions and online briefs. Brand’s are nothing without people who buy into them. To understand a brand properly you need to understand it’s people first.

I think that is a valid critique, and as a freshman becoming a sophomore, those are some things Andrew can certainly work on. I’ve reviewed a lot of Senior portfolios this year, and even with these deficiencies, Andrew’s freshman work is better than most, but if he wants to continue to improve and be one of the best globally by the time he graduates, he will need to strengthen these areas.

To play devils advocate (cause it’s fun) did you see the consumer research on the iPhone or the iPod? It’s not rocket science, make great things and people will come. (if you have a multi million dollar ad campaign)

Taking what clam’s saying, I just had a thought.

If you addressed how Google’s core product (Search) could implement this (other than the marketing campaign), I think it’s be very interesting to see what people search for with respect to vitamins. I know they collect data on every single search done (that’s how auto-complete works). If you were able to find some data on how many people are searching for the right vitamin for their health/diet, and propose a non-obtrusive way for these vitamins to come up in the search results intelligently according to queries, I think that’d also be an interesting extension.