Exalting innovation and research through a functional packaging [Safe Cup case study]

If I said that I work every day on projects that contain a dose of innovation and research comparable to Vetreria di Borgonovo’s Safe Cup, I would be lying.

But, when I say that – unfortunately – there are many companies out there, with competitive products and innovative services that are losing the train, I am saying a sad truth.

Vetreria di Borgonovo’s project, as we will see shortly, contains a great deal of innovation and is the result of hard work in research and development.

That is why the fact that not only the packaging, but also the product naming, the logo design and the in-store communication had been assigned to Packaging In Italy is of great satisfaction for me.

The purpose of a functional packaging is just to showcase product’s successful features and turn them into a response to a clear demand of consumers.

Understanding this step means ensuring primary visibility to the product within the point of sales: that visibility that moves products from the shelf to checkout. That is what I exactly mean by functional packaging for sales!


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In the case of innovative products, this means double exploiting of the advantages of a functional packaging. In fact, when the arguments are winners (innovation, research, progress …) and you are able to communicate them, results are outstanding.

Every day, I face business of all kinds and all sizes and yet struggle in passing a precious concept: at the point of sale, your product’s marketing is in your packaging!

The idea of the product containing in itself the “magic” formula and nothing else has to be done in terms of marketing and communications is a mistake that you pay dearly!

Actually, it is a mistake you always pay.

If it is right, on the one hand, to invest in research and innovation – that is the way how products are made – on the other, it is a duty to invest in strategic marketing. Investing to communicate, to the consumer, features and differentiating aspects of the product and at the point of sale: just the task delegated to packaging.

Lying down on the innovative features of your product without acting to communicate them means to condemn your own work to failure. Big ideas that will not see success.

To explain in detail how you can leverage the efforts of research and innovation, I have decided to share the job done for Vetreria di Borgonovo.

In the Safe Cup case study, some distinctive features were clear from the beginning.

The characteristics of the Safe Cup glass allow, thanks to special internal grooves of the glass, to reduce by 30% the alcohol in blood and calories, enabling rapid wine oxygenation. The project was the subject of a thorough study accredited by the Italian University “La Sapienza” of Rome.

These distinctive clear elements – base of the Safe Cup patent – certainly offered a good starting point to work from. But, if on one side, it was straightforward to identify the differentiating aspects – which were in the nature of the product – on the other, the risk was to focus on purely technical features, important, but of little use if not adequately exploited to respond to specific needs and requirements of the final consumer.

What can this glass do for me? And how is it different from others?

These are the concepts that the graphic modeling of the package would have to communicate in a unique and instantaneous way.

That is why limiting ourselves exclusively to technical aspects – which is instinctive when the product has such special features – it would have been a big mistake.

Espositore_DRIVE 64 ITA

How we decided to proceed:


By selecting the name “Safe Cup”, we wanted to create a clear link with the world of Formula One by invoking the concept of the Safety Car.

The goal was to give a concept of security and reliability to the glass. Safe Cup => secure cup => reliable cup.


The work done on the logo aims to bringing up the glass and the grooves that distinguish it, using an “S” referring to its name “Safe”.


In the package design the choice was:

→ focusing our attention on the differentiating factor that responded most decisively to a consumer’s need (reducing the alcohol content in blood). We did this by using the pictogram “30% Alcohol”

→ communicating the practical use of the glass thanks to its design that shows rotation with arrows

→ emphasizing the glass itself, communicating its design and making the grooves visible (differentiating and characteristic features)

→ reconnecting to Formula One parallelism exploited for the product naming, using the contrast of red and black colors, which are distinctive of motorsports world and, at the same time, are Vetreria Borgonovo’s corporate colors.

Clearly communicating the benefits of the product – what can this glass do for you?, providing elements to understand the use and creating a useful analogy to invoke the concept of “safe driving” are the aspects that have guided the realization of this so innovative project.

Giving priority to consumers’ perception was the key to create a design functional for sales to both the final consumer and the purchasing department.

The concepts outlined in the packaging (alcohol reduction in the bloodstream => safe driving) were deliberately invoked also through a dedicated advertising campaign and through dedicated exhibitors. In this way, communication efforts have been optimized to always emphasize the concept of safety and to create an analogy with safe driving.

This is the process that has allowed Safe Cup to underline the advantages of the product, and, above all, the benefits for the end consumer: packaging was the means selected to convey the message.




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