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There is something about Hyundai Card’s
card package

Why Hyundai Card customers are willing to keep the package


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“For months, a packaging designer was holed up in this room performing the most mundane of tasks –opening boxes … One after another, the designer created and tested an endless series of arrows, colors, and tapes for a tiny tab designed to show the consumer where to pull back the invisible, full-bleed sticker adhered to the top of the clear iPod box. Getting it just right was this particular designer’s obsession.”

This is how Adam Lashinsky, executive editor of “Fortune,” describes the product packaging zone inside Apple’s creative studio in his book “Inside Apple.” There he analyzed Apple’s corporate culture and the way it operates. Whereas packaging is commonly considered not so important or something to be easily put off, especially when compared to software design or hardware manufacturing, Apple appears to prioritize product packaging as much as other process.

Hyundai Card has been exceptional in Korea when it comes to adding value to package design. The company in July unveiled “the book,” a new package for three premium card lines: the Black, the Purple and the Red. What prompted Hyundai Card to come up with a package themed on a book in the year of 2019, which sees a flood of digital content?

Package, a medium delivering the identity of brand and product (From left) Aluminum can package of “the Purple” (2009). Package of “the Black” signaling the card plate’s signature liquid metal material (2011).

(From left) Aluminum can package of “the Purple” (2009). Package of “the Black” signaling the card plate’s signature liquid metal material (2011).

This is not the first time that Hyundai Card introduced an out-of-the-box credit card package. Hyundai Card gained attention as it picked metal, not mundane paper, for packing its premium cards: “the Purple” and “the Black” in 2009 and 2011, respectively.

The aluminum can package of “the Purple” unveiled in 2009 worked just like a soda can. Customers may pull the tab and a card plate shows up. The package of “the Black,” renewed in 2011, adopted the shape of small waves on its surface so that customers may feel the surface just by looking at it.

Hyundai Card chose metal for its card package instead of paper bag or box, not just for aesthetic value. Hyundai Card was the first in Korea to use titanium for a credit card – “the Black” in February 2009. Titanium is so strong that it is dubbed “diamond” among all types of metal. The company then offered titanium card plates for “the Purple” customers as well in July of the same year. The package with the phrase, “the Purple Titanium Plate” in purple letters indicated the metallic feature of the card plate.

In 2011, the company introduced liquid metal, known to be the strongest among all types of metal, for its card plate for the first time in the world. Whereas other metal materials are hard to be molded into certain shapes due to their stickiness, liquid metal is fluid like water when it is melted and poured into a mold. The wave-like design of the package was meant to reflect the characteristics of liquid metal.

Hyundai Card packages embracing the characteristics of what they contain serve as a means to show the identity of the card products even before customers actually meet them. Hyundai Card has defined credit cards not just as a transaction tool but a means to expose customers’ personality. Customers may also experience Hyundai Card brand, which relentlessly pursues innovation even with card plate materials.

Package for customer experience

Just because the package represents the brand and product identity by means of design does not mean that the package is done with its duty. If package is only about design with no fundamental consideration of customer experience, it will end up disappointing customers just as “a bag of chips overly filled with nitrogen” does.

(From left) Package of “the Red (2011),” with the table of contents attached to the back cover like a wing, facilitating page search. Package of “the Purple (2011)” that made it possible to lift all the materials in the case at once.

(From left) Package of “the Red (2011),” with the table of contents attached to the back cover like a wing, facilitating page search. Package of “the Purple (2011)” that made it possible to lift all the materials in the case at once.

Renewing the packages of “the Red” and “the Purple” in 2011, Hyundai Card focused the most on the experience of customers receiving a newly issued card.

The following questions ensued. “If the card guidebook consists a couple of books, wouldn’t it be too much of a hassle for customers to find the information they are looking for?” “Isn’t there any way to put all of the constituents including the customer’s primary card, a secondary card for a family member, Priority Pass card, various vouchers, guidebook and others together into one package to make it easier to manage them?”

As a result of deliberations, the renewed “the Red” package combined previous two guidebooks into one and classified the content by categories and levels. The table of contents was attached to the back cover of the guidebook like a wing to help customers open whichever page they want. Individual pages have a “grid-based” layout to make sure customers can find the customer benefits and information right away.

The package of “the Purple” placed a lifting strap so that customers may lift up the entire content inside the case all at once just by pulling the strap.

All of the features are the outcome of Hyundai Card’s efforts to come up with the optimal design by thinking about what fundamental roles card packages are supposed to play from the perspective of customers, rather than focusing on how beautiful and creative the packages are.

Hyundai Card packages contain customer’s life style (From left) New premium card packages: “the Black book,” “the Purple book,” and “the Red book,” all unveiled in July

(From left) New premium card packages: “the Black book,” “the Purple book,” and “the Red book,” all unveiled in July

Hyundai Card gave three different colors to premium cards – “the Black”, “the Purple” and “the Red” – for symbolic values they pursue and started offering products and benefits optimized for customers’ life style using colors. Its new premium line package “the book,” unveiled in July, is a testament to such effort.

First, each package design conceptualizes the color and image that the three brands carry. Whereas “the Black book” delivers an overwhelming feel with the black and white contrast, “the Purple book” emphasizes sophisticated yet deep sensibility focused on the way it feels at the tip of fingers. “The Red book” expresses vibrant energy by using a dynamic color.

The three books selected three different themes representing the life style of customers of each premium card and contained various content dealing with global trends within the designated themes.

For example, “the Black book,” themed on “innovation & business” offers content for opinion leaders such as the usefulness of certain office and furniture and solutions to environmental pollution. “The Purple book,” themed on “design & travel,” contains exclusive information such as design in our daily lives that Paola Antonelli, senior curator at The Museum of Modern Art(MoMA) in New York, proposed. “The Red book,” themed on “art & fashion” introduces the latest information for enthusiastic trendsetters such as the attempt to combine tech and fashion.

As shown above, “the book” is not just a means to distinguish different colors that Hyundai Card’s premium cards represent. It shows who the customer is and what kind of person he or she is. With the design quality and content good enough to make cardholders want to keep “the book” on their bookshelf and read it over and over again, “the book” has become a communication channel for Hyundai Card to share the value of its products with customers, not something to be torn off and thrown away.

“The trend of ‘unpacking’ proves that customers don’t merely consider product package a shell,” said Kyeongha Lee, Brand Design Team lead at Hyundai Card. “We hope ‘the book’ to become a medium to deliver premium value just as books carry timeless value.”

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