The palm sized jar of Vaseline Original carries within it one of the most versatile salves to come out of the post-industrial era. Discovered in the late nineteenth century by oil rig workers, what we now know as Vaseline in its purest form, was oozy black gunk that built up on machinery. Its formula was refined into a colorless, odorless jelly by Robert Chesebrough, a British industrial chemist, and marketed to Americans as an all-in-one non-medicated ointment by 1879.
The pot that holds this magic do-all ointment is almost as unassuming as the content it carries. Similar to its competitors, Nivea and Dove, Vaseline utilizes a navy blue in its branding and packaging. The curves of the jar, the label, and logo remain consistent, mimicking the tactile quality of the jelly it holds. The packaging has gone through twelve distinct variations since it was first marketed, now displaying a soft semi-circular gradient that starts as a softer sky blue, making its way to the darker navy blue that is repeated in the jar’s plastic lid. The font is a simple white sans serif but incorporates the curvilinear elements of the rest of the packaging with slight slopes in the “I” and “N”. A hint of drop shadow is also present, just enough to give the word dimensionality without dragging it back to the early 2000s.
The label in which the logo lies also uses a gradient but chooses a diagonal progression instead. While this creates a separation of layers between the logo and label, it could be worthwhile to investigate removing the background gradient completely in order to emphasize the logo in the foreground.
While the logo and branding are unobtrusive and timeless, the branding falls short in truly marketing the versatile quality of its product. That being said, its classic design approach makes it successful in both eastern and western markets.